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Disabled Candidates back Labour policy

Thursday 25 July 2002
Disabled Candidates back Labour policy

Labour's Disability Issues policy launched this week by Minister Ruth Dyson signals major progress towards the kind of society so badly wanted by New Zealand's' disabled community.

"Ruth Dyson is doing an excellent job as Minister for Disability Issues", said Eamon Daly, number 53 on Labour's list, who could well be Parliament's first ever MP to use a wheel chair, "She listens to the voices of disabled people, and she takes the issue of disability to all Ministers and government departments".

The policy has also been given the thumbs up from said Paul Gibson, number 60 on the list. "The main barrier we face is other people's negative attitudes. And the commitment to change New Zealanders' attitudes towards disabled people is the most important aspect of the policy.

"The policy builds on the New Zealand Disability Strategy and is a vision for New Zealand society where everyone is valued and participates to their full potential, rather than focusing on what are perceived to be individuals' deficits.

"It has been Labour's commitment to our inclusion in society that has drawn disabled people like myself to the party", said Gibson. "With a good turnout for Labour on Saturday, Eamon will be New Zealand's first disabled MP".

"And one day Paul Gibson may be the first MP who uses electronic Braille technology" said Daly.

The diversity making up Labour's list means Labour is reaching many communities who were previously excluded from the political process. According to census figures, 22% of the voting age population have a disability. "We as disabled people need to get out there and make our presence as voters felt on Election Day", said Daly.


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