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Update from the Establishment Unit for the Ministry for Disabled People

The team at the Establishment Unit (EU) has two core tasks. It needs to make sure that the nuts and bolts for a new Ministry are in place for 1 July 2022 without disruption to existing disability supports during the transition. And the team needs to lay the groundwork for the new Ministry to be able to drive the transformation of disability support services, and to seek out opportunities for broader disability system transformation across government, from July 2022 onwards.

The team is working across eight workstreams:

  • Workplace accessibility
  • Information management and technology
  • Finance and appropriation
  • People
  • Policy
  • Corporate services transition
  • Operations transition
  • Future Operating Model.

All the workstreams have been hard at work planning how they are going to complete their tasks between now and July. The team meets weekly with the Community Steering Group, who guide them and ensure they always remain grounded in a disability perspective.


The EU team will report to the Governance Group, which is ultimately responsible for ensuring the effective establishment of the Ministry for Disabled People. It has a tripartite structure – equal representation of Disabled People, Māori and Crown – which is unique in the New Zealand public sector. The group will be made up of six disabled people, three of those being tangata whaikaha Māori, three from the disabled community and three senior government officials.

There is also an Official’s Steering Group, made up of Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Social Development (MSD), Treasury and Te Kawa Mataaho officials, which will support the achievement of the work programme by providing guidance and support. The Chief
Executive for the new Ministry will be appointed by Te Kawa Mataaho, and the Community Steering Group have advised on the job description and ensured that lived experience is a key criterion.

Current work underway

At the moment the EU team is exploring the process to confirm the new Ministry’s official names. There will be three legal names – a NZ Sign Language name (a first for a Government Ministry), a Te Reo Māori name and an English name. A suggested engagement process and approach is being worked up, which will go to the Community Steering Group for discussion.

The team is also working closely with the MoH and MSD Human Resources teams to map out the people transition plan. Talking with their MoH Disability Support Services (DSS) colleagues to understand the range and complexity of the functions and services of the Directorate is really important, and a series of workshops with people within DSS is planned to progress this work.

Another piece of work underway is diving into the detail of the systems and information that need to be running on day one of the new Ministry, and making sure everything that the new Ministry will need is identified.

Identifying the functions the new Ministry will have is also work that is underway. This includes current functions transferring from MoH and MSD as well as new functions that are to be agreed by Cabinet in March.  This information will then inform the proposed operating model and organisation structure, which the team will be engaging on (including externally) as it develops. It’s important that people’s views are built into this mahi.

The team is also searching for suitable physical premises for the new Ministry – both in Wellington and where there will be a presence in the regions – and doing the groundwork to ensure the Ministry sets the highest possible accessibility standard in all of its work.

And the team is preparing for Budget 2022, working to establish the financial appropriation structure with Treasury.

There will be community engagement as all these workstreams are progressed.

You can contact the team anytime at


Source: Disability Directorate Newsletter Feb 2022

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