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2014 Election Mana Party’s response

We have asked the main political parties questions about disability issues. Here is the Mana Party’s response. We will post the responses as we get them.

What action will you take to address these barriers and lower unemployment amongst disabled people, especially for Māori and Pasifika as well as disabled women?

MANA has a number of policies to address the barriers that impact on the employment of people with disabilities.

  • Discriminatory attitudes:  MANA promotes the development of anti-discrimination legislation.
  • Participation:  MANA would introduce an employment scheme to increase the voice, visibility, and participation of people with disabilities in central and local government across all sectors, including in governance, planning, policy, research, and service provision, and with a particular focus on raising the employment levels of Māori, Pasifika, and women with disabilities; and would properly resource it to make it happen.
  • Education:  Ensure all disabled people are able to be educated alongside their peers in properly resourced learning environments.
  • Accessible transport and workplaces:  MANA would enforce accessibility standards in the provision of transport, IT, and the built environment.

What action will you take to ensure disabled people receive adequate financial support?

To improve the incomes of disabled people MANA would introduce a non-means tested benefit to meet the costs of disability of all disabled people.  We would also abolish the minimum wage exemption permit.  In addition, MANA would also introduce a support payment for any whanau member caring for a disabled relative and at the same rate as professional caregivers.

What action will you take to increase the publicly available data on disabled people?

MANA would invest in growing the research capacity of people with disabilities, across all areas, to increase control and influence over policy and planning, and to monitor progress.  This would necessarily include a focus on increasing the collection, analysis, and release of data on disabled people.

What will your party do to strengthen Human Rights protection?

MANA would enshrine the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in domestic legislation and we would ratify the UNCRPD Optional Protocol to enable disabled people whose rights have been breached to take cases directly to the UN for resolution.

How will your party unite the different initiatives, drive progress and demonstrate a clear overall vision?

MANA would support any initiative to improve the coordination and delivery of the support services for disabled people provided by different government agencies, including the establishment of an independent disability commission.

How will your party ensure disability services are culturally appropriate and reach those with the highest level of need?

MANA would work to ensure that disability service staff are properly trained and provided with ongoing professional development, especially in cultural competencies, and that competencies are audited. MANA would also work to include disabled people and their whanau in developing ways to monitor the quality and performance of disability support services.  Another focus would be to improve access to culture and language, including the development of accessible marae and other cultural facilities, and increasing the use of NZ sign language in public life and supporting the ongoing development of Māori signs.  For those with the highest levels of need, MANA would increase the availability of services and facilities for long-term and short-term care and residential living that are age and culturally appropriate for diverse groups of Māori, Pacific, and other peoples.

Will your party look into the creation of an independent disability commission to manage all disability policy and disability support service funding?

Yes, we would support such an initiative.

How will you ensure that disabled children can effectively attend and be included in their local school?

MANA would work to ensure all disabled people are educated alongside their peers by properly resourcing kōhanga reo, ECE providers, schools, kura kaupapa Māori, and wharekura to do so.  This would include increased funding for ongoing professional development for teachers and support staff working with children with disabilities and special needs, including in special education from a Māori perspective.

Will your party commit to repealing Section 141 and 142 of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989?

Yes.

What action will you take to ensure the community is accessible to all?

MANA is committed to enforcing accessibility standards in the provision of transport and the built environment.   We would also increase the options for disabled people to use affordable and accessible community facilities to maintain fitness and wellbeing, and promote the development of accessible marae and other cultural facilities.

What action will you take to ensure accessible and affordable housing is available?

As with transport and the built environment above, MANA is committed to enforcing accessibility standards in the provision of housing.  We are also committed to ensuring all New Zealanders, including people with disabilities, have access to a quality, affordable home by advocating for 10,000 new state houses to be built each year until the crisis in affordable housing for low income whanau is addressed.

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