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New statistics reinforce access imperative

New statistics reinforce access imperative

The need for a 100 per cent accessible society has been brought into clear focus by the 2013 Disability Survey results, which show 1.1 million New Zealanders identify as disabled.

That number, representing 24 per cent of the New Zealand population, has risen from 20 per cent in 2001.

Be. Accessible Leadership programme director Philip Patston says they welcome the findings of the survey.

“The numbers really reinforce what Be. Accessible is about, showing that accessibility affects us all at some point in our lives and is important to us as customers, employees, managers, everyone,” Mr Patston says.

An ageing population was identified as a major contributor to the rising numbers, with Statistics New Zealand’s figures showing that 14.3 per cent of the population were 65 and over in 2013, compared to 12 per cent in 2002.

Mr Patston says another factor could be the changing public perception around disability.

“In the past, the statistics on disability have probably been lower than they really are. The change in attitude is giving people confidence to say that they have an impairment or access needs. That’s a really positive finding.”

More than half of all people with a disability - 53 per cent - had more than one access need.

The survey also found that the most common type of disability for adults is a physical accessibility need.

“While the numbers support a need for accessibility in the physical environment, it’s important that we address issues around employment, customer service, access to information, inclusion and how people living with disability are perceived and treated in all aspects in society.”


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