Catherine Delahunty

Advertising for a disability champion

by Catherine Delahunty

I’m delighted to announce that the Human Rights Commission is now advertising the position of Disability Commissioner on their website. People with the relevant skills and passion for inclusion can now apply for the role.

I am thrilled that my Bill contributed to this moment, and pleased that the Government has supported the immediate creation of the position even though the appointment will eventually require a change to the Human Rights Act.

The position will be a 0.8 position until the law is changed but it’s great to see the process is underway. No other Commissioner, even with the best of intentions, can speak for the disability community as a part time job.

This is a small step for the one in five people who experience disability at some time in their lives. I continue to support those who call for a whole Disability Commission, and long-term I hope we will get there. In the meantime, however, having a dedicated Commissioner is a great a start.

If the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the New Zealand Disability Strategy are to be realised in practical terms, we need a champion at national level.

The hard working NGOs in the disability sector and the individuals affected by a disabling society have a long list of changes needed, so the new champion is will have a busy job. I am proud to have played a part in the long campaign to get a champion for disability justice appointed.