Strong Voices

Empowered Lives

December 1, 2021

The Government has announced the very welcome news that it will establish a new standalone Ministry for Disabled People.

This marks a fundamental change in the way people are viewed and valued as equal citizens. IHC has pushed for this change and for the Government to see individuals’ lives in their entirety – their income, support, housing, transport and more – rather than defining people by health need and diagnosis.

May 4, 2021

Disabled tertiary students now have a voice on campuses around the country with the birth of the National Disabled Students’ Association (NDSA).

Spearheading the move is Victoria University of Wellington law student Alice Mander, who has drawn together a national executive of disabled student leaders from Otago Polytechnic, the University of Auckland, the University of Canterbury and the University of Otago.

May 4, 2021

A Victoria University of Wellington researcher used a team of observers to evaluate the impact of music therapy on children with autism in her latest research project.

Findings from the study by Associate Professor Daphne Rickson reinforce the view held by many music therapists and families that music therapy provides a range of benefits for children with autism spectrum conditions.

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.

May 4, 2021

A new category in the IHC Art Awards this year is giving young artists with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to win on a national stage.

The Youth Award is for entrants between 13 and 17 years. These artists are also eligible for the People’s Choice Award and the overall award.

Entries for the IHC Art Awards 2021 are now open. They close on 31 May and the gala awards night will be held at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington on 30 September.

May 4, 2021

Bus fares will be free for disabled people in the Bay of Plenty by July.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council decision follows a move by the Waikato Regional Council, which made fares free for people with disabilities in 2019. The service was extended to carers at the end of 2020.

In the Bay of Plenty, people with permanent mobility impairments will be eligible for free fares on all regional-council-contracted urban and inter-regional bus services.

May 4, 2021

IHC members can now renew their memberships for a one- or three-year term. The fee remains at $5 for a one-year membership, and members will be sent reminders before their memberships expire on 30 June. A three-year membership costs $15 and members will receive reminders in the last year of membership. Regardless of what option people select, they receive the same membership benefits. From 1 July 2021 the BNZ will no longer accept cheques.

May 4, 2021

Call IHC Community Connect – 0800 442 311 to connect directly to our Community Liaison, Volunteering, Library and Advocacy teams. The freephone number is answered Monday to Friday, 9–6pm. Our aim is for people to have to tell their stories only once and be connected to the right places.

May 4, 2021

As New Zealand’s major banks phase out the use of cheques, IHC and other disability service providers are asking banks how they will maintain access to banking services by disabled people.

 Many disabled people rely on cheques, but several banks have already stopped issuing chequebooks and soon will no longer accept cheques. Also, thanks to COVID-19, fewer businesses are accepting cash.

May 4, 2021

The New Zealand Disability Support Network (NZDSN) says money laundering legislation and the phasing out of cheques by banks require new approaches and practices from everyone involved.

In April NZDSN invited a small group of disability service providers to a Banking Issues Forum to brainstorm what needs to happen.

NZDSN has been approached by these providers about the requirement of some banks to have guardianship orders in place for people to be supported to have their own bank accounts.

May 4, 2021

Hamish Gilbert completed a gruelling 100km cycle ride through Hawke’s Bay in gale-force winds as part of his mission to earn gold in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award.

The ‘Adventurous Journey’ section was a three-day hard slog and the third and final requirement for his gold award. Hamish had meticulously planned his route and every detail of the journey. “It was headwinds all the way,” he says. “By the time I arrived home I was very tired. I was very pleased with myself.”