New Zealand

This page features the news on disability from New Zealand in the Debrief Library. See also news from other countries.


Accessibility and Design

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Government won't enforce accessibility, despite promising legislation to 'make NZ more accessible'. (Jul, Stuff)


Another month, another report on disabled people's housing “but is the government listening?” (Jun, RNZ News)


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Disabled were 13 times as likely to die from Covid-19. “People who received disability support services in 2022 were 13 times as likely to die from Covid-19 than the general population, new data shows.” (Mar, Stuff)


The daily, grinding tragedy of Covid-19 “By unilaterally disarming in the fight against the coronavirus, the Government is exposing New Zealanders to the very serious ongoing health burden of Covid-19.” (Sep, Newsroom)

Mixed response from disability advocates over Covid welfare support funding. (Jun, Stuff)

Reporting on an inquiry into how government response to the Omicron wave impacted disabled people: they "do not appear to have been given prominence in government policy and decision making," (May, RNZ)

'Oh well, we'll all get it' attitude to Omicron ignores increased risk to people with disabilities (Mar, Stuff)

Living with COVID

For those of us with disabilities, lockdown won’t end as long as Covid strategies leave us behind (Dec, the Guardian)

Culture, Entertainment and Media

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Stay home club “Making remote portraits of New Zealanders in isolation—using only their phone cameras.” (May, New Zealand Geographic)

Economics and Social Protection

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Unaffordable home heating increases risk of severe mental distress. (Mar, PHCC)

Social Protection

Removing Disabling Experiences a vision for a person-directed system that will “provide four enforceable rights to social and income support, habilitation, and healthcare.” (Aug, Warren Forster)

Big gap in support funding between disabled people on Ministry of Health and the national accident compensation scheme. (Aug, Stuff)

How the government asked for social welfare advice, got it, ignored it, and the impact on people with disabilities. (Jun, Stuff)

Disabled people missing out on 'essential' support over relationship status (May, Stuff)


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Woman wheeled herself to hospital when ambulance couldn't take her wheelchair (Jul, Stuff)

History and Memorial

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Why doesn’t every New Zealander know about Eve Rimmer? “She had a glittering international sports career and became a brave advocate for paraplegic rights, but Eve Rimmer is still largely unknown to the country she represented.” (Dec, The Spinoff)

Humanitarian, Migrants and Refugees

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'Inhumane': The Government policy that deports disabled children (Nov, 1 News)

Girl, 12, denied residency because her autism does not meet 'acceptable standards of health'. (Apr, Sky)

New Zealand denies entry to autistic daughter of immigrant couple. “Rules do not allow people to move to New Zealand if they would impose a high cost to the health system”. (Apr, the Guardian)

Time to scrap ableist migration rules down under Áine, contributor to the Debrief, arguing for fair migration rules. (Apr, Overland)

Immigration policy discriminates against disabled “It’s become commonplace to read news stories about people with disabilities who have been denied New Zealand residency and face deportation.” (Mar, Stuff)

Indigenous People and Minority Communities

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‘I’m Māori first’: The vision-impaired community finding strength in whakapapa (Dec, The Spinoff)

Institutions and Deinstitutionalization

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Complaints laid after woman found in own faeces, weighing 35kg at a residential care home. (Nov, NZ Herald)

Abuse in Care: “Men raped disabled children, paid staff for access”. Testimonies from a commission of inquiry into institutional care. Further coverage at: 'a prison with no bars' and 'you can't walk away from this'. (Jul, Stuff) Also on NZ Herald: 'hellhole, worse than prison'

Chief Ombudsman scathing of environment at Wakari Hospital ward "We're mixing in this facility – not just patients who are mentally ill and need caring for – but we’re mixing them with those who come from a different forensic stream who have been involved in criminal offending and who are there for a very different reason; it’s not safe." (Feb, 1 News)

He Purapura Ora, he Māra Tipu. A report on survivors of abuse in care, their efforts to restore their lives and hold governments to account. (Dec, Abuse in Care Inquiry)

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Lived Experience and Opinion

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Human not machine: how autistic writers are writing new space for themselves:

“Why are autistic people so attracted to these magical or other-worldly connections? Most of us experience loneliness and isolation – and if we are repeatedly rejected by humans then the idea of friendship with ghosts or aliens may almost seem less far-fetched.

“It’s also the fantasy we might be able to meet someone else on equal terms; both of us having to adapt to and learn each other’s way of communicating, rather than always having to be the ones who make the effort, exhausting ourselves to the point of burnout.” (Apr, The Spinoff)

Mobility, Travel, Transport and Tourism

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Not Built For Me: Freedom, frustration in navigating public transport with a disability (Mar, Stuff)

Policy and Rights

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Accessibility legislation a tokenistic toothless failure say disabled people, including the Debrief's own Áine Kelly-Costello: “This proposed bill is systemically ableist to its core”. (Feb, 1 News)

Accessibility Bill lacks teeth by the Debrief's own Áine Kelly-Costello. (Te Awa) See also coverage on Stuff.

UN disability rights experts concerned with NZ progress, call for urgent action. (Sep, Stuff)

Disability Rights: How is New Zealand doing? Highlights cross-cutting issues of data collection, lack of agency ownership of the Disability Convention, and lack of genuine partnership with disabled people. (Aug, Ombudsman) See coverage on Stuff.

Lack of cross-government ownership a major barrier warns disability rights report, which particularly emphasizes the need for consultation with disabled people. One of the authors says “there is still a quantum leap required to remove disparities for disabled people in New Zealand”. (Aug, Ombudsman)

Disability advocates frustrated over feedback process for accessibility legislation (Jan, Stuff)

Appointment irks disabled community Ministry for Disabled People sees major appointments of people who do not identify as disabled. (Jan, Otago Daily Times)

Politics and Elections

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$1m Election Access Fund gets mixed response from disabled people. (Jul, Stuff)

Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights

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