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Independent review launched into NZ Disability Support Services

girl in a wheelchair being cared for by a care worker

The New Zealand government has announced an independent review into the disability support system funded by the Ministry of Disabled People – Whaikaha.

Disability Issues Minister Louise Upston says the review will look at what can be done to strengthen the long-term sustainability of Disability Support Services to provide disabled people and carers with certainty around what they can access.

“We all want to see the best outcomes for the disabled community, their families, and those who care for them, and the coalition Government is focused on maximising this support.

“Since coming into office we have received worrying advice about the risks inherited by the ministry when it was set up less than two years ago, and whether it was adequately equipped to manage them.

“Crown expenditure on Disability Support Services, adjusted for inflation, has roughly doubled since 2005-06. The ministry now funds services for approximately 50,000 disabled people and equipment modification for approximately 100,000 people, administering an annual appropriation of $2.3 billion.

“A three-person review panel will be appointed within the next few weeks and will be expected to make recommendations within four months of that date. I will then consider those recommendations and report back to Cabinet on next steps. The community will be consulted on the review’s findings.

“This work will be funded through the ministry’s existing budgets.

“The Government is focused on delivering better public services that improve the lives of all Kiwis. This review will help give disabled people, their families, and carers certainty around the choices they have for how they lead a good life.”

Cabinet has agreed that the panel will consider:

  • The purpose of different funding streams within Disability Support Services and the appropriate level of flexibility for each
  • Eligibility for Disability Support Services, with a focus on entitlement to and allocation of funding
  • The capability and processes that need to be in place within the Ministry of Disabled People – Whaikaha to manage Disability Support Services, including for risk management, commissioning, and organisational form and structure
  • Interactions between Disability Support Services and other systems (including health, welfare, and education)
  • The legal framework for Disability Support Services
  • Stakeholder relationships

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