14 May 2024

Sir Maarten Wevers to lead Ministry for Disabled People review

8:48 pm on 14 May 2024
Sir Maarten Wevers at the High Court in Auckland

Sir Maarten Wevers at the High Court in Auckland Photo: RNZ

Top public servant Sir Maarten Wevers will lead an independent review into disability support at the Ministry for Disabled People, Whaikaha.

The review, announced by Disability Issues Minister Louise Upston a fortnight ago, will investigate how to keep support services funded by the ministry going in the long-term.

It comes after Whaikaha announced funding cuts out of the blue earlier this year, upsetting the disability community.

The minister at the time, Penny Simmonds, was stripped of the portfolio due to her poor handling of the funding issues.

Sir Maarten, along with Leanne Spice and Murray Edridge, who have financial and social services experience respectively, will interview a wide range of people and consult with the disability community on their findings.

Upston said Sir Maarten was well respected and had a vast knowledge of the public service.

"He jointly led the Ministerial Inquiry into Novopay in 2013 with Murray Jack, making him the ideal person to lead this review.

"Leanne Spice brings extensive financial expertise and knowledge about how to help organisations navigate complexity, while Murray Edridge has spent many years working with social support services, including Barnardos Aotearoa, and is a former deputy chief executive at the Ministry of Social Development."

Upston said the review panel will be expected to advice of the pressure the disability support system was under and provide recommendation on improving it to make services sustainable long-term.

"The panel will be able to talk to whoever they wish as part of their review and the disability community will also be consulted on their findings. More details on this engagement will be known later in the year."

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