Enabling who’s good lives?

We are told the government supports the principles of Enabling Good Lives. But what does that mean in practice? This question was discussed during an online protest rally of disabled New Zealanders on Sunday 13 February. A spokesperson for the group, Disabled Leadership Now: Pam MacNeill, told the gathering that “while the government may say it supports the Kaupapa of Enabling Good Lives, this is just lip-service when it comes to leadership and staffing in the new ministry for disabled people. What happened to the principles of a person centred approach to building relationships with us, backing our right to self-determination to achieve ordinary life outcomes, and enhancing our mana by placing us in the mainstream of Public Service work about disablement? In appointing a nondisabled person to the role of Establishment Director for the ministry, the opportunity has been lost to enable disabled people to define our own agenda, and begin early to ensure easy access to our ministry by disabled Kiwis.”

Mrs MacNeill further called for vigilance on the part of those present lest the Public Service Commission appoint a substitute disabled person to the role of Chief Executive once the establishment phase of the ministry is completed in July this year. “We can not accept family as substitutes for disabled people staffing the ministry. Neither will we be mollified by appointments of people who may claim disabled status but with no personal lived experience of disability” Pam MacNeill said today.