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Naming the new Ministry for disabled people - what people told us

During April 2022 we invited anyone who wanted to give their thoughts and ideas about the new Ministry’s name. We did this through AmplifyU - a safe and open place for you to find information, share what you think and engage with the community

On AmplifyU people could choose to answer a questionnaire or put their ideas on the ideas wall – or both. We suggested two ideas to help people get started – Ministry for Disabled People and Enabled New Zealand. People could say what they thought about these ideas and give other suggestions.

Summary of feedback

Overall, both the names we suggested were liked by some people, but more people liked ‘Ministry for Disabled People’. There were 131 people who answered the survey question “Do you like one of the English name suggestions below?”

  • 59 people (45%) liked ‘Ministry for Disabled People’
  • 40 people (30%) liked ‘Enabled Aotearoa’
  • 32 people (24%) didn’t like either.

'Enabled Aotearoa' comments

On the ideas wall there were 11 comments about ‘Enabled Aotearoa’. They were a mix of positive comments and other suggestions. Indicated by ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ there did not appear to be strong preference for Enabled Aotearoa.

Comments included:

  • “I think that "Enabled Aotearoa" is more positive, has a fresher, more modern feel and is less cumbersome.”
  • “Think Enabled adheres to the EGL principles and brings a positivity”
  • “Oddly, I find “enable” a somewhat disabling word. It implies that disabled people need enabling rather than the disabling environment needing to challenged. I would prefer to see something like “Accessible Aotearoa” which promotes changes to our landscape and peoplescape as well as helping people with different accessibility needs. Even “empowerment” would be better.”

Other name comments

On the ideas wall there were 22 comments (18 conversations) about ‘Other names’. People suggested 30 different names, but none got many likes or comments. Six comments, as well as some comments on the two options, made suggestions or mentioned the importance of the reo Māori name. Those suggestions became part of the korero in the hui on the Māori part of the name.

'Ministry for Disabled People' comments:

The ideas wall had 25 comments (17 conversations) about the ‘Ministry for Disabled People’. People who were in favour of ‘Ministry for Disabled People’ liked that it was clear what it is and who it is for. For example:

  • “Ministry for Disabled People clearly states what the ministry is for. I really hope that this is the english name for the ministry when it is set up. Disabled people have lobbied for a ministry for a long time. I fully support a Te Reo name.”
  • “It is going to be a Government Department...anything other than having "Ministry of" will make it unrecognizable to anyone except the disability world and to me it minimizes the importance and the accountability from the Govt or from anyone else will just not be there...stop trying to be cutsey with the name...it sounds ridiculous”
  • “I like this name, it says who the ministry serves and it takes ownership of the term disabled and it uses it with pride.”

There was a range of views on the use of the word ‘disabled’. People who gave a reason they didn’t like ‘Ministry for Disabled People’ mostly did not like the use of the word ‘disabled’ or the focus on disability, and considered it had a negative connotation. Other people thought ‘disabled’ was appropriate and avoided confusion. For example:

  • “It needs to reflect Social Model and/or Rights based language. Please do not have enable or disability in the name.”
  • “I think this [Enabled NZ] is great - a move away from the word 'disabled' is essential in every aspect of what this ministry must do
  • “For me, this option [Ministry for Disabled People] speaks to me as a proud disabled person and it acknowledges the social model of disability. The model says we are disabled by society barriers not our impairments. I do understand that identities around disability are negative and not all people are comfortable with the word disabled”
  • “I think we should have the word disability/disabled in there rather than a euphemism such as 'enable'”
  • “This makes it clear who the Ministry is for. We do not need to shy away from the word disability. Current trend is the use of 'disability' no longer has negative connotations, and we are disabled by society and the products and processes that are not developed with us in mind. We should be loud & proud in our use of 'disabled', it's our lived experience & an essential part of who we are. If anything, I would just shorten it to Disability Ministry. Enabled Aotearoa isn't clear what it's for”

'Ministry' Comments

There was a lot of support for ‘Ministry’ being included in the name, and general agreement on why this was important. For example, the most liked comment on the ideas wall (25 likes) was:

“’Enabled Aotearoa is similar to Enable NZ, the equipment agency. It does not sound like a government agency, eg, a crown entity or NGO. The name ‘Ministry for Disabled People’ recognises it is a government department subject to the same account accountabilities as other government depts. Having a Ministry for Disabled People will significantly raise the status of disability issues in government. Its name should be similar to other population-based ministries, eg, Ministry for Pacific Peoples.”

'Of' or 'For' Comments

There were a few comments that ‘of’ rather than ‘for’ should be used in the name – ie, ‘Ministry of Disabled People’ rather than ‘Ministry for Disabled People’.

Comments included:

  • “Dislike the ‘for’ – this is a Disability led ministry.”
  • “Please make sure it doesn’t reflect an idea of the government doing things for disabled people or enabling them or allowing them to do things.”
  • “It needs Ministry in the name to give it legitimacy and let people know it's actually a separate ministry, but I would prefer "of" rather than "for". To me Ministry FOR Disabled People suggests a paternalistic organisation whereas Ministry OF Disabled People suggests it's being driven by us from our perspective.”

What happens now?

This information was all considered by the establishment unit and the community steering group in deciding on the name that the Minister for Disability Issues, the Minister for the Public Service, and the Minister of Health will be asked to agree.

The new name will be announced by the Minister for Disability Issues.

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