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Disability Rights: How is New Zealand doing?

Issue date:
Large print,
New Zealand Sign Language,
Te reo Māori

Disability Rights: How is New Zealand doing? (NZSL)

Disability Rights: How is New Zealand doing (New Zealand Sign Language) - YouTube

Disability Rights: How is New Zealand doing? (audio)

Disability Rights: How is New Zealand doing (audio) - YouTube

Disability Rights: How is New Zealand doing? (braille and audio)

A braille and DAISY audio files (on CDs and USBs) version of this report is available on request via email.


Progress on disability rights in Aotearoa New Zealand was last reviewed by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Committee) in September 2014. Since then, the New Zealand Independent Monitoring Mechanism (IMM) under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Disability Convention) has published two further monitoring reports on implementation of the Disability Convention:

This summary report updates the Committee, and the New Zealand Parliament and public, with more recent information on the priority areas that prevent disabled people in New Zealand from realising their full suite of human rights as set out in the Disability Convention.

The report notes some areas where the government considers progress has been made toward the realisation of the Disability Convention, and the IMM’s assessment of where further commitment is needed.

What has changed for disabled people's standards of living since the IMM's last report

Disabled people are over-represented in all aspects of poverty-related statistics, including income and material hardship. Evidence shows that poverty affects many areas of a person’s life including housing, access to food, access to energy, information or communication, access to healthcare, transportation, safety, and participation.

There is no new data from Statistics New Zealand since the IMM’s report Making Disability Rights Real 2014-2019, which highlighted several poverty measures regarding disabled people, and indicated that:

  • disabled people of working age (15-64 years old) had a median personal income of $353 per week in 2018, less than half that of non-disabled people in the same age group ($806);
  • disabled people in employment had a median weekly income of $144 less than non-disabled people in employment; and
  • tāngata whaikaha Māori adults are three times as likely as non-disabled Māori adults to indicate they do not have enough money to meet everyday needs.

Recent employment data from the Welfare Expert Advisory Group and Ministry of Social Development suggests that over 50 percent of people on main benefits are disabled and 72 percent of unemployed disabled people want to work.

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