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

Gordon Campbell:
On Anne Tolley’s
Callous Folly

Years ago, I remember someone in the Heath Ministry telling me off the record that regulatory oversight in this country largely consisted in ‘waiting for something to turn green or fall off somebody’ before the authorities would swing into action...

Last week’s conflict between Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and District Court judge Carolyn Henwood illustrated quite a few of the flaws in the system. More>>

 

Members’ Bills: Greens' Domestic Violence And Loans Bills Pulled From Ballot

Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence-Victims' Protection Bill introduces workplace protections for victims of domestic violence, including allowing victims to request paid domestic violence leave for up to 10 days... Gareth Hughes’ Bill allows Kiwis with student loans to defer their student loan repayments into a first home savings scheme. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA: Police Did Not 'Deliberately' Use Pepper Spray On 10-Year-Old

"When spraying the man, the officer did not properly consider the necessity of using pepper spray in a confined space, the likelihood that it would affect the other innocent passengers or the fact that he was using a more powerful spray." More>>

ALSO:

Donor Bill Passes: Full Income Compensation For Live Organ Donors

Unanimous cross-party support for the Compensation for Live Organ Donors Bill represents a critical step in reducing the burgeoning waiting list for kidney donations, according to Kidney Health New Zealand chief executive Max Reid. More>>

ALSO:

Earthquake Response: Emergency Legislation Prepared

Three new Bills have been drafted in the wake of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on November 14 to ensure the government can enable affected communities to respond quickly and efficiently. More>>

ALSO:

Housing MPs: New Building(s) For Parliament

A new building will be erected on Parliament grounds to house Members of Parliament and their staff who currently work in leased accommodation in Bowen House. The plan has cross-Party support, apart from NZ First, said Parliament’s Speaker, Rt Hon David Carter. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news