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December 1, 2021

The Law Commission is reviewing the legal powers people are given to make decisions for others, something disability advocates say is well overdue.

The main law covering adult decision-making is the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act (PPP&R). It dates back to 1988 and affects many in New Zealand’s disabled community. It is one of four laws that are coming under the spotlight.

December 1, 2021

Ask Carlos Biggemann what needs to change in the world, and he starts with global issues – war, poverty and the destruction of the rainforests – before coming to his disability.

This doesn’t mean attitudes to disability are any less important to him. Carlos, a 30-year-old Dunedin photographer and poet, says he has to prove himself every day of his life.

December 1, 2021

The Ministry of Health has announced changes to disability-funded carer support. Carer support claims are going online in early 2022

This should make life easier and means claims will be processed faster. Families can still claim carer support using the present paper-based system. 

December 1, 2021

A trial Companion Card programme is enabling people with disabilities to take part more easily in activities in Palmerston North.

The digital card is for people who are unable to access ticketed events and venues without a support person, which means paying the extra cost of a second ticket.

The Companion Card programme was launched in August through a partnership between Mana Whaikaha, a government disability support system, and Palmerston North City Council.

July 20, 2021

Banks have put even more distance between them and their more vulnerable customers by ending cheques.

This leaves disabled people wondering how they can pay bills and withdraw money as bank branches continue to close in cities and towns all over New Zealand.

Cheques have now been consigned to history at ANZ, Westpac, BNZ, Kiwibank, TSB, SBS, Rabobank and The Co-operative Bank, and ASB finishes with cheques on 27 August. Some retailers are also moving away from cash payments.

May 4, 2021

KiwiSaver rules now guarantee that people with four life-shortening congenital conditions can withdraw their savings early.

The four conditions are Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Huntington’s disease and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. An alternative withdrawal process is available for those with other congenital life-shortening conditions.

Announcing the move at IHC National Office in February, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark praised Tim Fairhall and his mother Joan for their advocacy, which led to the law change in 2019.