Ministry of Disabled People CEO apologises for anxiety caused by funding changes

The chief executive of Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People has apologised directly to the disabled community for the stress and anxiety caused by this week's changes to disabled people's funding.

But those out in protest on Saturday said it's provided little comfort after what they're calling a betrayal of their people.

Whaikaha CEO Paula Tesoriero made a direct apology to the disabled community after changes to purchasing rules for equipment, respite care and out-of-town accommodation caused alarm among those affected.

"We know that the way we went about announcing these changes caused stress and anxiety. And for that I am sorry," Tesoriero said.

"Here's my pledge to you now. We are doing all we can to help clarify these changes."

But those protesting outside Christopher Luxon's electorate office today say it's little comfort.

"Families are really hurting and disabled people have been desperate all week. We feel all the promises that were made with the set-up on Whaikaha have been undermined by this," said protest organiser Nicola Owen.

After the very public backlash to the changes earlier this week, the minister announced a partial U-turn, allowing the fund to be used for essential tools and regional travel.

But advocates say they want the changes fully reversed.

"A slogan that Governments for many decades have accepted is 'nothing about us without us' and this has been done without us," Owen said.

"We're hurting, we need an apology and a commitment this won't happen again."

Minister for Disabled People Penny Simmonds echoed her apology about the communication again today.

"Neither Whaikaha nor I are happy with the way this has occurred and so we are very clear that we will have to do much better in the future," she said.

Starting with a promise of additional funding as part of the upcoming Budget.