Your online guide to disability services
Funding & Disability


Services are provided or purchased by Government departments to meet the needs of New Zealanders. When a Government department purchases a service from a provider, a contract is entered into. The contract is an agreement on what services are to be provided as a publicly funded (free or subsidised) service. The Government determines what groups of people are eligible to access publicly funded disability services in New Zealand and the criteria that must be met to access the service. Read More »



A Funding Framework – Access to Disability Funding and Support


Ministry of Health – Health and Disability National Service, Disability Services (DS)

Disability Services, part of the Health and Disability National Services Directorate, is responsible for the planning and funding of disability support services, administers the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act 2003 and provides policy advice to the Minister of Health.

The focus of the Ministry of Health's Disability Services is based on The New Zealand Disability Strategy: Making a World of Difference - Whakanui Oranga. This document aims to ensure disabled people live in a society that highly values their lives, works to improve their participation in their communities and ensures their needs are considered before decisions that affect them are made.

A Deputy Director General (DDG) heads Health and Disability National Services and reports to both the Director-General of Health and the Minister of Health with responsibility for disability support services. There are six teams in the Health and Disability National Service: Business Support, Operations, Planning and Development, Quality and Audit, the Chief Advisor and Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act Team and the Maori Development Manager.

In July 2007, changes took place within the structure of the Ministry of Health. Most of the Disability Services Directorate (DSD) (as it had been known) joined other parts of the Ministry that also fund services to become Health and Disability National Services. These changes are to ensure that the Ministry is working as effectively as possible across the wide range of services, support and advice they fund or provide to Ministers, other Government agencies and people throughout New Zealand.

Previously the DSD was known as the Disability Issues Directorate (DID), when it was also responsible for the development, implementation and management of the New Zealand Disability Strategy. On 1 July 2002, responsibility for the New Zealand Disability Strategy was transferred to the Office of Disability Issues within the Ministry of Social Development.

Visit for information on Disability in New Zealand and the role of Disability Services and the services it funds. You can also access Disability Services Provider Update Newsletter by linking to:

Disability Support Services

Disability Services is responsible for planning, funding and overseeing the provision of a range of disability support services. This includes prioritization of services, issues of quality in service provision, Maori and Pacific peoples service development, managing providers of service contracts, service focused research and responding to issues regarding the need for and provision of disability support services. The provision of disability support services is based on the philosophy of the New Zealand Disability Strategy (NZDS).

Research projects are often used to identify gaps in the provision of supports to disabled people and determine what types of services are required to meet the identified need. A service specification describes the service to be provided. For more information on the types of disability support services funded by Disability Services click on the Services page or link to the Ministry of Health for further information.

District Health Boards (DHB)

Disability support services for people under 65 years are provided by the Ministry of Health Disability Services. Services for people 65 years and older are provided by District Health Boards. There are 21 District Health Boards in New Zealand and they are responsible for the provision of health and disability services for the population residing in the DHB catchment area. The District Health Boards are supported by the Ministry of Health, which provides national policy advice, regulation, funding, and monitoring of their performance.

The provision of disability support services by the District Health Boards are guided by the New Zealand Disability Strategy. Disability Services purchases some disability support services from the DHBs for people aged less than 65 years.

Disability support services funding for older people (aged 65 or over and those people aged 50 to 64 assessed as “close in interest” to those aged 65 years and over who require access to disability support services) was devolved from the Ministry of Health to DHBs on 1 October 2003.

The devolution of disability support services for older people aimed to support a DHB to meet the Health of Older People Strategy (HOPS) by bringing the planning of health and disability services together.  A DHB now has funding responsibility for the following services:

  • Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation (A T & R)
  • Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC)
  • Aged residential care
  • Home based support services
  • Carer support and respite care
  • Disability Information and Advisory Services

Auckland, Counties Manukau, Waitemata and Northland DHB cover the Northern region. A DHB may receive funding from the Ministry of Health to provide local, regional and national health and disability services. For example a DHB can be responsible for the funding of a Disability Information and Advisory Service (DIAS) such as Alzheimers New Zealand that provides a national information service, or a rehabilitation service such as the Auckland DHB Rehab Plus, contracted to provide a service to people living in the Northern region.

To encourage service provision solutions that will benefit the Northern region, the four DHBs are represented by the Northern DHB Support Agency (NDSA).

Auckland DHB

Auckland DHB primarily provides services to people living in the Western Bays, Hobson, Eastern Bays, Balmoral, Avondale/Roskill, Penrose and Hauraki Gulf Islands area of Auckland City. It also provides a range of specialised services referred to as tertiary services available to people living outside this area. These include specialised neurological services and services for children at Starship Hospital.

Auckland DHB is contracted by the Ministry of Health to provide a national information service called Residential Care Line. This is primarily aimed at assisting people aged 65 years and over who are considering, or are already in, rest home or long stay hospital care. A link to this site is provided below.

Disability Services purchases disability support services from Auckland DHB for all eligible people living in the Northern DHB regions. These include rehabilitation services provided by Rehab Plus, a specialist post-acute rehabilitation facility for adults aged 16 to 64 years, and complex wheelchair and seating assessment provided by Mobility Solutions.

Counties Manukau DHB

Counties Manukau DHB provides services to people residing in the Manukau City, Papakura and Franklin districts. Its specialist services include an inpatient and outpatient spinal rehabilitation service for adults with an acquired spinal cord injury living in the upper North Island. Counties Manukau DHB has established Counties Manukau Webhealth, an online connection to health and social services in the Counties Manukau DHB region.

Waitemata DHB

Waitemata DHB provides services to people living in North Shore City, Waitakere City and the Rodney district. It also provides a range of Auckland regional services including child disability services, drug and alcohol and forensic psychiatry services. The Disability Services Directorate purchases child rehabilitation services at the Wilson Centre from Waitemata DHB.

Northland DHB

Northland DHB is the funder, planner and a key provider of health and disability services for the population of Te Tai Tokerau (Northland), covering the area from Topuni in the south to North Cape, it serves a population of about 148,500. The Northland DHB’s vision is to create opportunities for improving health and wellbeing, and promoting independence of all the people of Northland/Te Tai Tokerau. They provide a number of specialist disability services throughout Northland; these include an inpatient Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation Unit for people aged 16 years and over, Inpatient Stroke Unit, Community Rehabilitation and Allied Health Team, Wheelchair and Seating Assessments, Orthotic Services, Needs Assessment and Service Coordination for people aged 65 years and over.

Contact details for all disability support services purchased from the Northern region DHBs and the DHB Needs Assessment and Coordination Service (NASC) agency for people aged over 65 years is included on this site. Further information can be obtained by linking to each DHB website.

Ministry of Social Development (MSD)

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) provides social policy advice to the New Zealand Government and social services to New Zealanders. MSD is responsible for disability policy work for the Minister of Social Services and Employment, particularly relating to income support issues. MSD also provides care and protection services to children and young people through Child, Youth and Family. It is also responsible for the Office for Disability Issues, the Office for Senior Citizens and the Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector.

Office for Disability Issues (ODI)

The Office for Disability Issues (ODI) was formally established on 1 July 2002 as a separate policy group situated within the Ministry of Social Development. The Office has a separate Minister and identity while receiving administrative support from the Ministry of Social Development. The Office focuses on disability issues in government and provides policy support on disability issues and advice to the Minister for Disability Issues. Although the Office for Disability Issues is part of the Ministry of Social Development, its function is separate from the sector-specific disability policy work undertaken by MSD.

The Office for Disability Issues is responsible for ensuring the Government keeps faith with the New Zealand Disability Strategy, leading the implementation and monitoring of the New Zealand Disability Strategy across the public sector.

Work & Income

Some of the functions that support disabled people are carried out or administered by Work and Income, a service of the Ministry of Social Development. Work and Income pays income support on behalf of the Government and is the agency concerned with supporting people into employment.

Work and Income contract managers are responsible for negotiating contracts with vocational service providers. The two key objectives of vocational services funded through Work and Income are to increase the participation of people with disabilities in employment and increase the participation of people with disabilities in their communities. Funding is available through Work and Income for people to attend contracted vocational services.

Workbridge is an organization that provides an employment placement service for people with disabilities. It is focused on enabling people with disabilities to participate and experience equal opportunities in the workforce. Workbridge administers three Support Funds (Job Support, Training Support and Self Start) on behalf of Work and Income. This funding can be used to assist with additional costs directly relating to a person’s disability when entering training, a job or self employment. Funding support and contact information is available under Workbridge in the Non-government section of this website.

The type of support available from Work and Income includes the provision of the Disability Allowance, Child Disability Allowance, Invalids Benefit, Accommodation Supplement and the Community Services Card. A brief description of some of the supports available from Work and Income is provided in the glossary section of this website. For a complete list of the funding and support available from Work and Income visit their website.

To contact a Work and Income Office (called Service Centres) in:

Child, Youth & Family

Child, Youth and Family (CYF) is a service of the Ministry of Social Development which provides a wide range of services aimed at protecting children, managing young offenders, ensuring children in need are secure and cared for, helping families with their child-rearing role, and facilitating the adoption process.

CYF services works with the Ministries of Health and Education to help children, young people and their families who have high and complex needs. For further information on the High and Complex Needs Intersectoral Strategy

Ministry of Education (MOE)

The Ministry of Education (MOE) is not a provider of education, but rather leads and manages the educational system and infrastructure by which people can gain knowledge, skills and attitudes in order to participate fully in the community. The MOE aims to create a system that responds quickly and effectively to the needs of different communities, society and employers, and a policy environment that enables educators to operate effectively and learners to participate and achieve.

The MOE’s role in disability includes improving educational opportunities and outcomes for children and young people with special education needs.

Special Education (GSE)

Special Education (GSE) provides services to children and young people in New Zealand with special education needs. The national office is based in Wellington, and advises on special education policies, funding and resources; liaises with the sector and Government; conducts research; determines eligibility of students for special education initiatives; and accredits education service providers.

GSE staff work from local, district and regional offices. They work with schools, early childhood education services and the wider education community to support children and young people with special education needs. In New Zealand special education is available to children with:

  • physical and/or intellectual impairments
  • hearing or vision difficulties
  • difficulty learning, communicating or getting along with others
  • emotional or behavioural difficulty.

Special education aims to support children and young people with their learning by providing specialised equipment or resources, extra help, and/or adapted programmes and learning environments. Schools and early childhood education services receive a special education grant, and can access resource teachers and specialists to assist children to access the curriculum and participate in education. (special education services)
Special Education Information Line 0800 622 222

Special Education Offices

For further information on support for children and young people with high and complex needs (the High and Complex Needs Intersectoral Strategy is funded by the Ministries of Health and Education and Child Youth and Family Services).

Dept. of Labour

The Department of Labour provides policy and purchasing advice in government on policies relating to the labour market and employment issues, including vocational services for people with disabilities. It provides advice on accident insurance policy and administration of employment legislation relating to people with disabilities.


ACC is a Crown Entity responsible for administering New Zealand’s accident compensation scheme. It came into operation in New Zealand on 1 April 1974 and provides personal injury cover for all New Zealand citizens, residents and temporary visitors to New Zealand as a result of accident. In return people do not have the right to sue for personal injury, other than for exemplary damages.

ACC funds treatment, rehabilitation and weekly compensation for people who have sustained injury and disability as a result of an accident. ACC Case Managers are the pivotal point for rehabilitation management in partnership with a person. Any need for support such as home help, equipment or rehabilitation would be assessed and then options considered regarding approval within the ACC legislative framework.
Contact your nearest ACC Branch Office

Housing New Zealand

Housing New Zealand Corporation was formed in July 2001. It brought together Housing New Zealand Ltd, Housing Corporation of NZ, Community Housing Ltd and the housing policy functions of the then Ministry of Social Policy. There are two key areas where Housing New Zealand provides support to disabled people:

Housing New Zealand has a Suitable Homes service where Case Managers work with disabled people to assist them to find a modified home suitable to their requirements. In order to access this service an individual must live in New Zealand, have a long-term (longer than six months) physical disability and require housing that meets their disability needs. If any modifications need to be done to a home, the funding comes from other Government Agencies such as the Ministry of Health or ACC. Housing New Zealand can assist you to access this funding. The Suitable Homes service also supports disabled people wanting to modify their existing home regardless of whether it is their own or a rental.

Housing New Zealand maintains a database of Housing New Zealand properties that are modified. They will also network with landlords and other disability support organisations to ascertain availability of modified properties.

Housing New Zealand also operates a Community Group Housing (CGH) Programme that acquires and lets houses to organisations providing support, advocacy and day activities for disabled people.

Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission supports basic human rights as a framework for all the people of New Zealand – seeking to promote a fair and just society. The core vision of the Commission is that people understand their rights, accept their responsibilities and respect that others have rights as well. The Commission does this through education about human rights, producing information and resources, making enquiries into and reporting on human rights issues and resolving disputes that are related to discrimination.

The Human Rights Commission can be contacted on:
Freephone: 0800 496 877

Health and Disability Commissioner

The Health and Disability Commissioner is an independent agency that supports and protects the rights of consumers who use health and disability services.

Two brochures are available from the Health and Disability Commissioner that outline consumers’ rights:

  • The Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights (which applies to all health and disability services in New Zealand) and
  • Your Rights When Receiving a Health or Disability Service

For copies of these brochures please contact the Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service, Freephone 0800 555 050.

Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service

If you are a consumer of a health or disability service and are concerned that your rights have been disrespected, health and disability advocates will work alongside you in a support role to inform you of your rights when using health and disability services and to assist you in making a complaint. Independent health and disability advocates are located throughout New Zealand and this service is free and confidential. They also provide education and training about consumer rights and provider duties when providing a health and disability service.

Free phone: 0800 555 050 (North Island contact number) Email:

Charities Commission

The Charities Commission registers and monitors charitable organizations in New Zealand, provides education, advice assistance on matters relating to charities, and encourages best practice in governance and use of resources. The Charities Commission was established by Government in 2005, and the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector is responsible for the Commission. Tel: 0508 CHARITIES (0508 242 748). Email:

New Zealand Lottery Grants Board

Administered through the Department of Internal Affairs, the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board was set up by Parliament to distribute the proceeds of state lotteries to the New Zealand community. It does this through lottery grants and allocated funding streams for different types of projects and services. A separate committee made up of individuals from the community with specialist skills and knowledge manages each stream of lottery grants funding.

The Individuals with Disabilities fund sub-committee allocates grants for mobility and communication equipment to assist people with disabilities to achieve independence and gain access to the community. Grants include the purchase and adaptation of vehicles, wheelchair hoists, scooters and communication devices.

For funding purposes, an individual with a disability is defined as a person who has a permanently reduced capacity to be transported, personally mobile or to communicate, as a result of a physical, sensory, psychiatric or intellectual disability.

To apply for funding or obtain further information contact

The Committee Coordinator
Lottery Individuals with Disabilities Subcommittee
New Zealand Lottery Grants Board
PO Box 805
Fax: 04 495 7225
Freephone 0800 824 824

Total Mobility Scheme

Total Mobility is a national scheme operated by local authorities and jointly funded by central and local government. It aims to increase the mobility of people with serious mobility constraints by subsidizing the cost of transport through use of a voucher system entitling people to 50 percent off a normal taxi fare. The scheme has been approved a $9.49 million funding increase from government at the end of 2006, to improve and expand over the next three years.


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