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Age Concern calls for building accessibility for elderly

Age Concern calls for building accessibility for older people

Age Concern has made a submission strongly opposing the clause within the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Bill that exempts building owners from providing or improving building accessibility.

The current Building Act 2004 clearly acknowledges the importance of ensuring
“that reasonable and adequate provision is made for persons with disabilities to enter and carry out normal activities and processes in a building”. This clause is removed in the proposed Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Bill.

The Building Act already gives local authorities substantial discretion in applying access and fire requirements to building upgrades. We see no need to provide further exceptions to this rule.

If this Bill becomes law, the result will be earthquake safe but inaccessible buildings.

Ensuring accessibility to public buildings promotes the wellbeing, rights, respect and dignity of older people, now and into the future. New Zealand has a growing population of older people, most of whom will want to continue to actively contribute to and participate in society, regardless of any disabilities they may have.


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