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Labour committed to disabled New Zealanders

7 September 2005

Labour committed to disabled New Zealanders

Progress for disabled people would be threatened by a National government, Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson said today.

“In the last six years, Labour has made enormous progress on disability issues, including in areas such as telecommunications, employment, transport, supported living, education and, perhaps most importantly, changing social attitudes.

“We are at the forefront of international moves to develop a United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People, have introduced legislation to make New Zealand Sign Language an official language, and have set up New Zealand Relay, a telephone service for people with hearing and speech impairments.

“National has made no commitment to retain initiatives established by Labour including the Office for Disability Issues and the role of Minister for Disability Issues, which provide an essential voice in government for disabled people and a framework to achieve a fully inclusive society.”

Ruth Dyson said Labour’s approach to disability issues would continue to be based on an ongoing commitment to human rights, partnership and inclusion.

“One in five New Zealanders has a long-term disability. Labour’s goal is to remove the barriers that prevent them from participating fully in our communities. In the next term, we will continue to build on all these achievements, both at home and overseas.”

ENDS

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