Half of disabled Aucklanders living on poverty line

09 Aug, 2009

There are 77,000 disabled people living in Auckland, the majority of whom earn far less than their non-disabled counterparts, even when they have a tertiary qualification.

This is one of the key findings from a new report titled, Step Up: Decision-makers getting it right for disabled Aucklanders, which provides evidence about the issues, needs and aspirations of disabled Aucklanders.

It shows poverty is a daily reality for many disabled Aucklanders and their families, and from available figures estimates that about half of disabled Auckland adults have personal incomes of less than $20,000, predominantly sourced from benefits, casual, part-time, and/or low-paying work.

AUT's Institute of Public Policy co-authored the report with Auckland City Council, Auckland District Health Board and Waitakere City Council.

The Hon Tariana Turia, Minister for Disability Issues, officially received the report and spoke at the launch.

“I greatly welcome the initiative taken by the Auckland City Council, Auckland District Health Board, Waitakere City Council and AUT, in providing a snapshot of life for disabled Aucklanders.  It is absolutely perfect timing for the report to be out there – given the pending legislation to establish the Supercity Council,” she said.

“By far the greatest worry for me in reading this report was to read that many disabled Aucklanders indicate they feel afraid or powerless to address their concerns with the service provider. Barriers of fear and prejudice are the remnants of a disabling society which I would have hoped had long disappeared. More than anything I want to see that everything I do in the disability portfolio improves the opportunities, choices and responsibilities for disabled persons to fully participate in their community,” the Minister said.

To find out what AUT's next steps are following this report please contact Nic Mason, (09) 921 9999 x6034 or email nic.mason@aut.ac.nz