21 July 2016: Intellectual Disability - Citizenship and Rights

A new report from IHC shows that while there have been significant advances for people with intellectual disabilities, progress is still too slow.

IHC is launching the Making Citizenship and Rights Real in the Lives of People with Intellectual Disabilities report today. It outlines priorities for ensuring the 35 thousand New Zealanders with intellectual disabilities can live valued and good lives as citizens.

The report finds that people with intellectual disabilities continue to experience persistent disadvantage and be defined by the labels others give them - such as 'other' or 'a burden'.

IHC is determined to fight such labelling and is committed to reporting annually on progress, achievements and shortfalls in making rights real.

“In every area, people with intellectual disabilities are up against it,” says IHC Director of Advocacy, Trish Grant. “They are far more likely to live in poverty, have poorer health outcomes and have a life expectancy well below the rest of the population - 18 years shorter for men and 23 years shorter for women.

 “People with intellectual disabilities are far less likely to be employed, children have trouble accessing their local school, people are lonely and home ownership is extremely low. This is even though people with intellectual disabilities want exactly the same things out of life as the rest of us.

 “Even at a government level there is a lack of data being recorded. As a society we are well overdue to make sure people with intellectual disabilities count and are counted.

“Everyone has a role to play in improving the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.  We all share the responsibility - valuing each individual leads to stronger communities.”

IHC has identified priorities in a number of areas.  We will also report against the Office for Disability Issue’s Annual Report on the New Zealand Disability Strategy.

Making Citizenship and Rights Real in the Lives of People with Intellectual Disabilities follows on from the National Advisory Committee on Health and Disability’s To Have an ‘Ordinary’ Life report, 2003.

You can read Making Citizenship and Rights Real in the Lives of People with Intellectual Disabilities here.

It sits alongside IHC’s recently updated Advocacy Toolkit and the Supporting Decision-Making resource.  You can find both here.


Gina Rogers
IHC New Zealand
021 388 208

About IHC

IHC was founded in 1949 by a small group of parents who wanted equal treatment from the education and health systems for their children with intellectual disabilities. The IHC of today is still striving for these same rights and is committed to principles of advocating for the rights, welfare and inclusion of all people with an intellectual disability. We support people with an intellectual disability to lead satisfying lives and have a genuine place in the community.

We have more than 5500 staff working to support 7000 people in services that include residential care, supported living, vocational support, respite care, and New Zealand’s largest non-government social housing provider. We also lobby and advocate for the human rights of all people with an intellectual disability at both a national and an international level. We raise money and awareness of the issues facing people with intellectual disabilities through our charitable activities, including an extensive advocacy programme, a one-to-one volunteer programme and the country’s largest specialist intellectual disability library.