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New Ministry for Disabled People

Creating a new Ministry

The recent reforms of the Health system and evolving government priorities have provided an opportunity to review the current arrangements for working with, and supporting, the one in four New Zealanders that identify as disabled.

The current cross-government disability system presents barriers for many disabled people and whānau in achieving ordinary life outcomes. Supports can be fragmented and difficult to navigate, and multiple eligibility criteria for different services makes it difficult for disabled people to know what support services they are entitled to.

That’s why the Government is introducing a Ministry for Disabled People – to lead the realisation of a true partnership between the disability community and government, and to help drive ongoing transformation of the disability system in line with the Enabling Good Lives (EGL) approach.

Appointment of the Chief Executive

The appointment of the Chief Executive for the new Ministry is being managed independently by Te Kawa Mataaho, the Public Service Commission, as are all central government agency chief executive appointments.

The process is underway and applications for the role have recently closed.

Naming the new Ministry

The new Ministry will have a name that has three parts – Māori, English and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). It will be the first ministry or government department to have a name that includes NZSL.

During April we invited people to share thoughts and ideas for the new Ministry’s name through AmplifyU.

We also had hui with tāngata whaikaha Māori and others on the Māori part of the name.

Government has asked the Minister for Disability Issues, the Minister for the Public Service, and the Minister of Health to decide on the name, in consultation with disabled people. This means the ideas and thoughts people shared are very important.

Now we are working with the establishment steering and governance groups to decide the Māori and English language name we will ask Ministers to approve.

We are also talking with the NZSL Board about how the NZSL part of the name will be developed. NZSL names are often based on something about the organisation that can be seen, like its logo, or based on its history or its other names. Because we don’t have these yet for the new Ministry, the NZSL part of the name will take a bit longer. When the NZSL name is created it will become part of the new Ministry’s official name.

The Minister for Disability Issues will announce the name once it is agreed. It may be announced when the new Ministry starts on 1 July 2022.

Until the new name is decided, 'Ministry for Disabled People' is the new Ministry’s legal name for things like service contracts.


We have created some brochures about the Ministry for Disabled People. These are also available in alternate formats.

Next steps

Cabinet has tasked the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) with establishing and hosting the new agency, which will have its own Chief Executive.

The new agency will ultimately be functionally and operationally autonomous from MSD, once it has established itself and is in a good position to carry out its functions and mandate.

Given the scale and scope of the new agency, MSD has set up a dedicated Establishment Unit to support its establishment, and the transition of MoH functions.

The new Ministry will take effect from 1 July 2022.

The Unit will build on insights from the establishment of new Ministries, such as Oranga Tamariki and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. A key focus will be ensuring disabled people continue to receive support over the transition.

The Unit will work closely with the disabled community and their families/whānau to understand their dreams and aspirations for the new agency, to ensure the community’s vision is built into the DNA of the new agency.

There will be continuity of disability support services during the transition period.

Keeping up to date and getting involved

You can stay up to date and add your voice to other discussions through online engagement tool AmplifyU. This platform for two-way engagement is managed by disabled people for disabled people.

Please check back in the coming weeks and months for updates on our progress.