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CCS lodge Human Rights Commission complaint

16 July 2004

CCS lodge Human Rights Commission complaint against Air NZ

CCS has lodged a class action complaint on behalf of its members and the disabled people of New Zealand, as it believes Air New Zealand has breached the Human Rights Act with its recent change in policy concerning specific wheelchair users.

“Air New Zealand is devaluing the rights of disabled people to travel independently. If they are allowed to continue with this policy it may preclude myself, and others with disabilities, to undertake employment or other activities that require travel. This means that people with disabilities are prevented from accessing opportunities easily available to able-bodied people. Surely that’s not an equal society”, says Rachel Mullins, a wheelchair user and frequent flyer.

Recently Air New Zealand changed their policy regarding wheelchair users who are unable to transfer from wheelchair to seat. These passengers are no longer able to travel unless they provide their own lifters at each destination or these lifters travel with them at cost. Air New Zealand is the only airline to have such a policy regarding wheelchair users.

CCS is working with a previous complainant Disabled Peoples Assembly in urging Air New Zealand to change its policy. Viv Maidaborn, Chief Executive CCS, recently met with senior members of Air New Zealand to voice the concerns of the disability sector. She was informed that Air New Zealand have no intention of a shift in policy and any lifting training given was done by video.

“It is clear that Air New Zealand is paying overly keen attention to the Occupational Health and Safety Act but are not taking their obligations under the Human Rights Act so seriously. CCS would be happy to provide Air New Zealand with appropriate training services in lifting if that was what was required. We would just like to see them be so vigilant with their disabled customers,” said Viv Maidaborn.

ENDS

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