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Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People launched today

Parliament buildings, Wellington. Photo: Mark Mitchell

The Government has launched Aotearoa New Zealand’s first Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People, and New Zealand’s first Ministry that will have a NZ Sign Language name, as well as Te Reo Māori and English names.

It comes as Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority also officially take effect from today, in what is a significant moment for our country as we stand up a fully national health service.

 “Today marks a new chapter for approximately 1.1 million disabled people in Aotearoa New Zealand, and is a significant step toward realising true partnership between Government and disabled people, tāngata whaikaha, their whānau, carers and supporters,” Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni and Minister for Disability Issues Poto Williams announced today.

 Minister Sepuloni says, “the disabled community has waited decades for this moment. That’s why work will continue to ensure the new Ministry has the time to get its people and systems established so that it’s well placed to get the transformation right.”

Minister WIlliams says, “today is another step on the journey toward creating a more inclusive society. It’s a journey which must include all New Zealanders in order to grow awareness and recognise disabled peoples’ potential, and the Government is committed to the part we must play along that journey.”

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