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Call for urgent reassessment of disability funding cuts

Pou Tangata of the NICF and Chairs of Iwi Māori Partnership Boards (IMPBs) express their concern regarding disability funding restrictions announced by Whaikaha, the Ministry of Disabled People. The recent changes to essential funding “undermines efforts to address the disparate health needs of whānau Māori living with disabilities” says Dame Naida Glavish, Chair of the Hauora ILG and Co-Chair of Pou Tangata.

Dame Naida Glavish further adds, “changing the rules for this funding will mean that many tāngata whaikaha and whānau hauā will be prevented from participating in cultural practices that often occur outside the towns and cities where they live.”

IMPBs, as representatives of local Māori perspectives and voices on health and disability outcomes, emphasise the critical importance of equitable access to services for tāngata whaikaha and whānau hauā. “The recent funding restrictions to disability services directly impact the health and dignity of tāngata whaikaha and whānau hauā,” states Oriana Paewai, Chair of Te Pae Oranga o Ruahine o Tararua IMPB.

“Such actions exacerbate existing barriers and further impede efforts to address the specific health and disability needs of Māori communities. Tāngata whaikaha and whānau hauā have been clear that they must be included in decisions about their care. Any move to reduce their ability for choice and control is extremely disrespectful,” says Ms Paewai.

Pou Tangata and the Chairs of Iwi Māori Partnership Boards stress the urgent need for the government, policy makers and Whaikaha senior leadership to reconsider these cuts through a collaborative and inclusive process that engages directly with affected communities. To seek solutions that uphold the dignity and rights of tāngata whaikaha and whānau hauā.

“Our role as Iwi Māori Partnership Boards is to advocate for policies and services that promote the well-being of all Māori,” says Tereki Stewart, Chair of Te Taumata Hauora o Te Kahu o Taonui IMPB and Lead Advisor, Hauora ILG. Pou Tangata Co-Chair Ms Glavish adds, “we urge decision-makers to prioritise the needs of Māori with disabilities and work towards a more equitable and inclusive system that enables them to live their best lives.”

 

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