New Zealand acts to support disabled people in sport, recreation

New Zealand government announced Friday an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport.

The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit for purpose and accessible playgrounds and parks, and a more inclusive approach to strategy, policy and communication within Sport NZ and partner organizations, and a new role at Sport NZ to lead delivery of the plan.

“More needs to be done to improve the range and quality of physical activity on offer for disabled people and that’s why as part of this plan, the government will invest a further 7 million New Zealand dollars (4.4 million U.S. dollars) over four years through Sport NZ,” Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson said.

“These funds will go a long way towards establishing equity and ensuring disabled people across Aotearoa New Zealand can be just as active as non-disabled people,” Robertson said.

About 1.1 million of New Zealand’s 4.9 million people identify as being disabled with just over half of these having more than one type of impairment. Sport NZ’s Active NZ data shows that disabled young people are less likely to participate in a range of sports and activities, particularly play related activities such as using playgrounds and scootering.

Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni said having an inclusive society not only benefits those who live with a disability, but also Aotearoa New Zealand as a whole.

“The government is committed to building a truly inclusive society and supporting disabled people to live their lives to their fullest potential. The plan led by Sport NZ and associated investments are further steps in making this a reality for disabled people in the important space of sport, active recreation and play,” Sepuloni said.

This initiative forms part of a wider cross-government agency plan to be launched later in 2019.