Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Proposed Access Exemption A Nightmare

Proposed Access Exemption A Nightmare

One of New Zealand’s leading providers of disability services, CCS Disability Action, warned today that the proposed access exemption in the new earthquake strengthening law is a mistake that will cause headaches for building owners, councils and people with disabilities.

David Matthews, chief executive of CCS Disability Action, said that from every angle the proposed access exemption was flawed.

“Access issues affect all of us, but people with physical and/or sensory impairments are more affected than others. 383,500 people had a physical impairment and 239,000 people had a sensory impairment in 2006. Any law change will potentially have a serious effect on a population equivalent to the size of Christchurch.”

Mr Matthews was clear that the idea that access is only about disabled people is a myth.

“When you design and build for people with impairments, you create a safer and more convenient environment for everyone. The proposed access exemption will undermine decades of progress in ensuring all New Zealanders can access buildings. Yet at the same time, it will not address the concerns of building owners and will create a bureaucratic nightmare for councils.”

“A key problem of the current access sections of the Building Act is that they are poorly understood by building owners and councils. The Government’s proposed solution is to make these sections even more complicated and this defies common sense.”

Mr Matthews said that it was clear from the submissions to the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission that many building owners and councils struggled to understand the access sections of the Act, particularly the existing reasonability test. Building owners only have to upgrade access as far as is reasonably and practically possible.

“Properly used, the reasonability test would address building owners’ cost concerns, while ensuring buildings are made as accessible as is reasonably possible. Councils have struggled to apply this test, however, without guidance. The solution is clear. Central government needs to provide guidance on the existing law. This would create fairness and certainty for everyone.”

Mr Matthews added that this guidance should be developed in consultation with disabled person’s organisations, access groups, building groups, local government and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

“There is no need for a law change and it will just make the situation worse for everyone. We need to clear up the existing law. Access is not about one group versus another. It is about finding a workable solution to ensure everyone can access their community.”

~ENDS~

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Open Source // Open Society - Full Coverage

Gordon Campbell:
On The Reserve Bank And Auckland Housing

The ‘crisis – what crisis?’ response by the government to the Auckland housing price bubble is no longer acceptable.

So says Reserve Bank governor Grant Spencer – who used unusually frank language in his speech and subsequent interviews yesterday to call for a capital gains tax, and to generally chastise central and local government for their inaction on a threat to the country’s economic health and financial stability.

That threat has been real for some time. The housing price bubble has already created a currency bubble... Undaunted, the government keeps calling this situation a success story. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Bangladesh: GCSB Dragging NZ Into Human Rights Abuses

The New Zealand government should stop providing intelligence assistance to Bangladeshi security agencies that are known to systematically engage in human rights abuses, said the Green Party today. More>>

ALSO:

Troops Heading To Iraq: Government Must Come Clean On Deployment

New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture of secrecy and unknown protections around the deployment.” More>>

ALSO:

Image: Strikers And Protestors Join Outside McDonald's

A group of protestors took to McDonald’s Manners St today as a part of the international fast food workers day of action to end zero hour contracts. More>>

ALSO:

Greens: Special Education Funds Not Spent

More than $32 million of funding for children with special needs has not been spent by the Government, despite families of children with special needs complaining for years that they’ve been denied the support they deserve. More>>

ALSO:

John Key: Pre-Budget Speech To Business NZ

So this Government will remain relentlessly focused on improving the competitiveness of our economy... We will continue to give businesses a platform to invest, grow and create jobs in the knowledge they will be backed by a clear and consistent government policy programme. More>>

ALSO:

Multimedia: Andrew Little’s Response To John Key’s Pre-Budget Address

Labour Party leader Andrew Little spoke today on John Key’s pre-budget address this afternoon in Wellington. Little said National has had seven years to achieve a surplus and Kiwis have “fufilled their end of the bargain.” More>>

Surplus Baggage: Key Backs Off ‘Artificial Target’

John Key’s attempt to redefine his cornerstone promise of two election campaigns as an artificial target suggests his other promises are works of fiction, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On UE Pass Rates And University Dropout Rates

Houston, there is clearly a problem with (a) the plunge in pass rates for University Entrance qualifications, which has been especially steep among Maori students and also a problem with (b) the failure rates for Maori students among those who reach university... Unfortunately the two problems seem related. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news