Blind People Launch New Era in Disability Advocacy
Blind People Launch New Era in Disability Rights Advocacy
The Association of Blind Citizens celebrates with invited guests today, the establishment of its National Advocate’s position. Vaughan Dodd, National President said "the Association's aim is to become New Zealand's pre-eminent authority on systemic advocacy issues of relevance to blind people".
The Association conducted an extensive recruitment process, which resulted in Daniel Frye emigrating from the United States to assume the new position. Mr Frye is excited at the opportunity presented to him and says “I am privileged to be able to join with the blind community of New Zealand to help advance our agenda for social and political change”.
Mr. Dodd says "the Association has always been a successful advocacy organisation, counting amongst recent achievements the transformation of the governance of the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind, retention of the Free Articles for the Blind Postal Service, and the exposure of representatives of the banking industry to talking automatic teller machines. The Association’s challenge is to respond promptly to the growing number of complex issues affecting opportunities for blind people to participate in society”, Mr Dodd said. Mr Frye added that for him, the challenge is to “build substantive relationships with individuals both in and out of government who will be useful in assisting the Association to achieve its goals”.
Formed in 1945, the
Association is New Zealand's oldest and largest organisation
of disabled people, with 16 branches throughout the country.
Local initiatives emphasise such matters as pedestrian
safety, improvements to public transport services and peer
support. Nationally driven policy analysis through the
advocate's position will support the grass roots responses
to local issues. Mr Dodd said that "the Association
represents blind people speaking for ourselves and this new,
full time position builds directly on the need for our voice
to be heard, and our perspectives understood. The
Association is now in a very strong position and we look
forward to constructive and ongoing dialogue with Government
and others in order that the objectives of the New Zealand
Disability Strategy are