What do we do? » Advocacy

The New Zealand Speech-language Therapists' Association (NZSTA) is the professional body representing, supporting, and advocating for over 1,100 speech-language therapists in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Advocacy on behalf of the speech-language therapy profession is a priority for NZSTA.  

Working with and on behalf of its members, NZSTA plays an active role and speaks up on issues impacting speech-language therapy practice and the health and well-being of our communities.

We meet with government and non-governmental agencies and contribute to policy and public debates on various issues to ensure:

  • They understand and appreciate speech-language therapists' contribution to the health and well-being of New Zealanders and the value our members generate.
  • NZSTA is in a strong position to propose practical solutions to the adverse issues affecting our members and clients to key influencers and policy decision-makers.

  View Our submissions


Advocacy opportunities

We aim to routinely bring your awareness to opportunities to provide feedback on speech-language issues.

Please alert the executive director to any opportunities so that we may consider action.

Select Committee Oral Submissions

Member Sally Kedge supported by Martin Nunn, made an oral submission to the select committee on the Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill.

You can find Sally and Martin's submission at 8.58 - 24.12 mins at this Facebook link.

A follow-up written response was sent to the select committee after the hearing:

 Thanks for the opportunity to do an oral submission today. We were asked who might be a suitable person to sit on a committee related to accessibility, and we asked for time to think about an answer and to email it. Here’s our answer.

 Martin said – not someone who is the carer or partner of someone with communication accessibility needs as they might not know really what the person might want to say and might have their own viewpoint or biases. Although it would be great if someone with aphasia could be on a committee, Martin commented it would be very hard and would require so much extra time. Communicating about complex topics can be very challenging as it can be hard to accurately explain views to someone else and make someone understand exactly what he means. His experience is of aphasia and the way it affects him, and it can be different for someone else, and so they might have other views and other needs. It can be totally different across different people. Different people have got very different needs. People often assume Martin has an intellectual disability because of how he communicates, but he doesn’t and someone who does have an intellectual disability definitely may need consideration of communication access but in a different way to Martin. Trying to accommodate the wide range of perspectives within one person or a group would be very challenging.

 Aphasia is only one type of disability or difficulty that impacts on communication. Others who have other communication access needs might have a totally different presentation and might need very different accommodations so having people on a committee to represent all that might be required is very challenging. Often it is people who are highly verbal or who sign who represent people on committees but those are not the only issues that need consideration.

 Martin said he thinks that ideally, the committee would have on it some people who have some disabilities and who have professional expertise. Plenty of time would be needed for the interactions. You need someone who understands the breadth of different issues that might be involved.    

Health and Disability System Review

NZSTA has been keeping an eye on the new health and disability system.

With changes generally going beyond recommendations from the Health and Disability System Review, Allied Health Aotearoa New Zealand (AHANZ), on our behalf, continues to work with the Transition Unit senior staff actively.

AHANZ chair Sandra Kirby presented to the Federation of Primary Health and Health Transition Unit staff on the role of allied health in the new system. In July 2021, she met with Health Transition Unit senior staff to continue this advocacy.

NZSTA contributed to the June 2021 Hidden in Plain Sight report, commissioned by AHANZ t to demonstrate the value of allied health in community-level care. Our message remains that the redesign of the health system provides the perfect opportunity to unlock the potential of speech-language therapy and other allied health to improve the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders. This is an evidence-based and cost-effective solution to the growing pressure on health services.

See The Future of Health – presentation.

Read our two-page summary offshoot of the NZIER report: Optimising the role of speech-language therapists in the future health and disability system.

Allied Health Aotearoa

NZSTA is a member of Allied Health Aotearoa New Zealand (AHANZ), a national forum for allied health professional associations, working together to promote their members' role in getting better patient results.

Allied health professionals could contribute much more to New Zealanders' health and wellbeing. The current health and disability reforms offer the chance to better use and integrate the services of allied health professions into the broader health system.

The NZIER report to AHANZ, "Hidden in Plain Sight – Optimising the allied health professions for better, more sustainable integrated care", explores why this is so important and how optimisation might best be achieved.

A two-page summary offshoot of the NZIER report developed: Optimising the role of speech-language therapists in the future health and disability system.