Disabled Leadership Now’s letter to the Director General of health and the Chief Executive of Ministry of Social Development

Last weekend, disabled people from across the country came together and stated that they have no confidence in an establishment process for our new ministry that is not led by a disabled person.

It was resolved at that rally that Disabled Leadership Now should communicate the outcomes of the rally to the ministries of health and Social Development.

We have now written to the Chief Executive of MSD and the Director General of Health. We are keeping ourselves accountable to our supporters by publishing the text of that letter, and we will keep you informed on progress.

The letter reads as follows

Appointment of Director to the establishment Ministry for Disabled People

You will be aware of the growing dissatisfaction being expressed by disabled New Zealanders, via the mainstream press and social media, regarding the appointment of a nondisabled person to the position of Establishment Director. Disabled Leadership Now (DLN) was formed out of a growing concern that, once again, nondisabled people consider they have the right to colonise our places and spaces; making decisions about our capability to lead and manage our sector, based on outdated and erroneous assumptions.

 

On Sunday 13 February 2022, over 300 disabled people registered to watch our event, and over 100 disabled citizens joined our live online rally to protest the appointment of nondisabled leadership and staff to the establishment ministry. Many more disabled people and allies watched a live stream of the event via Facebook. The rally overwhelmingly agreed that disabled people have no confidence in the appointment processes used to staff the ministry. Additional resolutions were agreed at the rally, one of these being that DLN seek an urgent meeting with you both, to discuss the concerns of the disabled community, with a view to reaching consensus on a way forward.

 

Additional rally resolutions urge MSD and MoH to:

  • suspend the current Establishment Unit for 3 months, to get the fundamentals right, including meaningful consultation with disabled people; showing respect for the mana of those senior disabled activists who formed DLN.
  • encourage all arms of Government to provide a written commitment that being a disabled person, with personal, not familial lived experience of disability, will be a key requirement in all job descriptions at the new Ministry

Furthermore, the rally resolved that DLN make a collective complaint to the United Nations under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, if other avenues are exhausted without resolution.

 

Since the current Establishment Unit is due to complete its work in July, we wish to meet with you, in person or via zoom, to urgently discuss the above resolutions.

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