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New Disability Commissioner To Be Appointed

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Oct 20 NZPA - A new commissioner will be appointed to be a voice for disabled people and work to ensure they are not discriminated against.

Disability Issues Minister Tariana Turia said the position of Disability Rights Commissioner with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) would be full-time.

She also said the Office of the Ombudsmen would be given a protection and monitoring role.

Mrs Turia said the moves showed the Government's commitment to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The HRC would put increased emphasis on promoting the rights of disabled peoples with the Office of the Ombudsmen undertaking a protection and monitoring role.

Disabled people's organisations would also be actively involved in the monitoring.

"Independent monitoring will ensure that government agencies concentrate on the things that really matter to disabled people," Mrs Turia said.

"I am delighted that we have made such tangible progress in placing disability issues on everyone's agenda."

There was already a Ministerial Committee on Disability Issues which co-ordinated action across government along with the Office for Disability Issues.

HRC chief commissioner Rosslyn Noonan said until necessary changes to the Human Rights Act were made she would jointly hold the new role with Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Judy McGregor.

"This is a sign of real progress in measures to promote, protect and monitor the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities."

The new role would lead to an increased emphasis on promoting the rights and responsibilities of disabled people, she said.

Under the proposed framework the Commission and the Office of the Ombudsmen will be charged with protection and monitoring implementation of the Convention. Disabled people's organisations will also be actively involved in the monitoring.

Ms Noonan said the new commissioner signalled a stronger focus on ensuring disabled people can take an equal place in New Zealand society without discrimination.

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