Justice for people with disabilities a long time coming
FOR RELEASE, 9 July 2019
Whānau Ora Commissioning agency in the South Island, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, has welcomed the announcement that whānau carers will be entitled to up to $25.50 an hour as family carers, but is concerned at the timing that has delayed vital decisions on the decision-making authority of people with disabilities.
Before 2013, the Ministry of Health had a policy of never paying carers of adults with disabilities if they were related.
“Ironically, whānau members who have spoken to us have described the caregiving role as less stressful than managing the systems and paperwork involved with either the caregiving role or the person with disabilities,” said Helen Leahy, Chief Executive of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.
“Whānau have been waiting anxiously since pre-election, for the repeal of Funded Family Care, a policy that prevented partners and spouses from being paid to look after their disabled or ill loved ones. The recent announcements are still some way off from transformation as the changes will not come into effect until 2020 once legislation has gone through a select committee process”.
The 2013 Disability Survey found that Tāngata Whaikaha (Māori disabled people) had a disability rate of 32%, compared with 24% for Pākehā, 26% for Pacific, and 17% for Asian. Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is keen to ensure that whānau rights to self-determination will be enabled by models which incorporate kaupapa Māori.
In July 2018, the International Human Rights Council in their report regarding the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Aotearoa recommended “that the government incorporate a Whānau Ora approach to its proposed transformation of the disability support system”.
"What we need to do most, is to restore people's human rights to be involved in decision-making, to ensure our language is inclusive; to establish a system of support based on respect, trust and tikanga”.
“We see a Whānau Ora approach in initiatives like “I Choose”; “Individualised funding” or “Enabling Good Lives,” said Ms Leahy. “People with disabilities have reminded us ‘nothing about us, without us’. We trust that the funded family care changes will enable whānau much greater opportunity to use support in a way that is easier to access and that works for them”.
Current disability initiatives funded by Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu include Koha Kai (Invercargill); a network of support, Hei Whakapiki Mauri (Christchurch) and specific navigation support including Grace Training New Zealand – Navigator Tinana.
About us: Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is a Commissioning Agency that works on behalf of the iwi in the South Island to support and enable whānau to create sustained social impact. We do this by developing and investing in ideas and initiatives to improve outcomes for Māori, underpinned by whānau-centred principles and strategies; these include emergency preparedness and disaster recovery. Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu also invests in Navigator roles to support and build whānau capability.