Hon Nicky Wagner
Minister for Disability Issues
15 June 2016 Media Statement
NZ disabilities rights pioneer elected to UN Committee
Robert Martin with Nicky Wagner and the New Zealand delegation after the announcement of the election results at the
Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner today congratulates Robert Martin as the first person with a learning disability
to be elected to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“Robert is well respected for his long history of advocacy work on disabled people’s rights both domestically and
internationally. His election to the Committee is important because it is the first time that a person with a learning
disability has been represented at the highest level. It’s a world first,” Ms Wagner says.
“This means that the Committee will be more inclusive and puts New Zealand on the world stage at the forefront of
disability rights and advocacy.
“Growing up in various institutions in New Zealand, Robert has overcome adversity through a combination of hard work,
passion and determination. Through his dedication to championing disability rights, Robert has become a leader in the
New Zealand and international disability community.
“Robert was instrumental in the development of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities through
Inclusion International, a global organisation for people with learning disabilities. He is now able to bring over a
decade of experience and leadership at the international level on the Convention to his role as a Committee member.
“Robert has the personality, skills and energy to affect change for the better. He will add value to the future work of
the Committee and the rights of disabled people around the world.
“I wish him good luck for his exciting new role and look forward to seeing the valuable work that he will be doing in
the future. I join all New Zealanders in saying that we are proud of his achievements today,” Ms Wagner says.