Hon Phil Goff
Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control
26 September 2008
New Zealand ratifies international Disability Convention
New Zealand Government Minister Phil Goff today ratified the United Nations Disability Convention at the UN General
Assembly in New York.
“The UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities marks a new status for disabled people. As an
international legal framework, states must ensure that disabled people are equal citizens and should enjoy rights on an
equal basis with others,” Phil Goff said.
“Today’s ratification continues the strong progress New Zealand has made over the past eight years in promoting a
society where disabled people are valued and included.
“We are one of only a few countries in the world that has a Disability Strategy, and in 2006, institutions were closed
and sign language became an official language.
“New Zealand played a leading role in bringing about this Convention. We chaired the negotiations to a consensus
adoption in 2006.
“We were also honoured last year to receive the Roosevelt International Disability Award, presented to Governor General
Anand Satyanand, which recognises countries that have made sustained improvements over time to the lives of the
“But there is more we must do. Today’s ratification, bringing the number of countries in the Convention to 38, will
provide momentum to continue our strong progress,” Phil Goff said.