IHC encouraged by Minister's commitment to people with disabilities

Media release

15 November 2017

IHC is encouraged by the Minister for Disability Issues, Hon Carmel Sepuloni’s resolve to lift people with disabilities out of poverty.

Minister Sepuloni today welcomed a Maxim Institute report highlighting the link between disability and poverty and the need to remove barriers that stop people with disabilities entering the workforce.

“People with intellectual disability are some of the most impoverished members of our society,” says IHC Director of Advocacy, Trish Grant.

“They are more likely to be unemployed, more likely to be life-long beneficiaries and therefore more likely to suffer the effects of poverty, including increased health risks and social isolation.”

More than 75 per cent of respondents to IHC’s recent survey of the intellectual disability sector felt people with intellectual disabilities did not get the right support to enter the workforce, citing few work opportunities and difficulty finding the opportunities that are there.

“Education and employment are key for anyone moving out of poverty,” says Trish. “IHC has always stood for people with intellectual disability having a genuine place in the community and employment is a big part of this.

“It is great to see the Minister acknowledging the challenge faced by people with disabilities and we look forward to the government taking significant action to break down the barriers that prevent people with disabilities gaining employment and increasing personal income,” says Trish.

IHC is producing a briefing for Minister Sepuloni recommending the changes needed to reduce poverty and increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities. These changes include:

  • Increasing benefit levels to ensure people have enough money to enjoy a basic standard of living.
  • Ensuring the transformation of the disability system results in individual budgets being sufficient to enable a good like and meet support needs.
  • Ensuring people are properly supported to transition from school to training, study or paid employment.
  • Fully funding community and vocational services so that people are supported to find and retain jobs in the workplace.

 

ENDS

Media Contact:

Phillip Wakefield
IHC Senior Communications Advisor
022 010 4437
phillip.wakefield@ihc.org.nz​