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Disability in New Zealand - what does it look like?

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Over 600,000 New Zealanders live with a disability in New Zealand. The 2013 Disability Survey, which began this week, will allow these people to have their voices heard.

The New Zealand Disability Survey is a national survey of children and adults, with 23,000 disabled and non-disabled people selected for interview. Approximately 1,000 adults living in residential facilities will also be interviewed.

"The Disability Survey is the most comprehensive source of data on disabled people living in New Zealand. It provides information on the needs of disabled people and the nature of their impairments," social and cultural statistics manager Steve Manning said.

Results from the 2006 Disability Survey showed that diseases or illnesses were the most common cause of disability for adults, followed by accidents or injuries, and ageing.

Information collected in the survey, which runs over the next couple of months, will include the number of people in New Zealand living with a disability, and the nature, cause, and duration of impairments. The survey will also look at issues such as human rights, social attitudes, education and employment, recreation and lifestyle, public services, and support systems.

"I encourage everyone who is selected for this survey to take part and have their voice heard. This survey only happens once every five years, and the results will inform decision and policies that will affect the lives of people living with disabilities," independent disability consultant Robyn Hunt said.

Results from the survey, which will be released in the middle of next year, will help inform policy, advocacy, and research by government, community organisations, and service providers. Responses will also be used to see how New Zealand is meeting its obligations for reporting and monitoring under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Survey participants have been randomly selected from respondents to the 2013 Census and will have received an invitation letter from Statistics NZ. All individual information is confidential and cannot be shared with other agencies.

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