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Human Rights Commission welcomes People First NZ

Human Rights Commission
Media Release
17 October 2003

Human Rights Commission welcomes People First New Zealand

Human Rights Commissioner Robyn Hunt today welcomed the establishment of People First New Zealand as an independent organisation of people with intellectual disabilities speaking for themselves.

People First New Zealand was launched at a function at Parliament last night and aims to help change stereotypes associated with intellectual disability.

People with an intellectual disability have waited a long time for this day, Ms Hunt says. "The organisation will help to promote the rights of people with intellectual disabilities and work to increase access and choice in areas such as housing and education."

People First groups have been active in New Zealand at a local level for almost 20 years. Eighteen months ago IHC working with several other organisations and people with intellectual disabilities began the process to establish the new national organisation.

The Human Rights Commission is currently developing the New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights (NZAPHR). When completed the plan will show how well New Zealand is doing in terms of human rights and provide a set of recommendations on areas that need improving.

People First New Zealand CEO Bernadette Moses and member Denise Bennett have taken part in the Disability Sector Advisory Group, which provides advice on disability issues to the Commission as part of the development of NZAPHR.

The Commission is also carrying out an Inquiry into the accessibility of public transport for disabled people. Information on the Inquiry can be found at www.hrc.co.nz/Inquiry

Ends

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