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Accessibility Issues Tackled Sitting Down

28 November 2000


What better way to understand access issues from a disabled person’s perspective, then to approach them from a wheelchair? Acting Mayor, Dr Bruce Hucker, will take to a wheelchair on Sunday 3 December to gain a greater insight. Joining him is fellow Partnerships Committee member, comedian and disabled persons advocate, Philip Patston, and together they will attempt a reconnaissance mission around Auckland city to visit some of their favourite haunts. Partnerships Committee chairperson, Councillor Maire Leadbeater, will also accompany them to observe the degrees of difficulty they may face while attempting everyday activities.
“People with disabilities still feel excluded from participating fully in the life of their city and their Council,” Councillor Maire Leadbeater said. “This exercise will help to open our eyes and give us first hand experience of what it is like to be disabled,” she said.
The exercise coincides with the International Day of Disabled Persons. United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, has asked the world to, “reaffirm its resolve to build truly accessible, caring and inclusive societies in the new Millennium.”
Communities are being asked to focus on raising awareness and promoting greater understanding on the practical side of issues, when developing the access needs of persons with disabilities.

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“It is important for the Council to make an effort to understand what other people have to face,” said Dr Hucker. “We need to improve our understanding of the problems of accessibility confronting disabled people. There is a strong need for a continuing review of public and private buildings in relation to this issue. This would enable us, as a community, to become more inclusive and to ensure everyone is able to enjoy equal access,” he said.
People will meet on the ground floor of the Town Hall on Sunday 3 December at 2pm. From there they will tour parts of the central business district.
“I really commend Auckland City Council for showing their commitment to the issue of access for disabled persons,” said Philip Patston. “On Sunday we are only looking from a perspective of physical access, which, for more than half a billion people worldwide, is a prerequisite for enjoying equal opportunities, and that is the message we are promoting,” he said.
For further information please contact:
Councillor Maire Leadbeater
Chairperson, Partnerships Committee.
3769098 or 025436957
Philip Patston
Tel: 3764837 or 025 749449

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