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

 


Building Act Exemption Unfair And Wrong

Building Act Exemption Unfair And Wrong


The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) this morning told the Local Government and Environment Select Committee that a proposed amendment to the Building Act, exempting owners from having to make their public buildings accessible, is unfair and wrong.

MDA Chief Executive Chris Higgins told the Committee that the exemption would discriminate against people with disabilities by denying them access to public buildings, and would risk further marginalising them from their communities and society.

Mr Higgins said that the exemption would be contrary to current legal requirements including the Building Act itself (which makes it mandatory for public buildings to be accessible to people with disabilities), the Human Rights Act (which makes it unlawful to deny a person access to a place because the person has a disability), and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (which states that the government must take measures to ensure people with disabilities have the right to access the physical environment on an equal basis with others).

“The proposed exemption will be unworkable” Mr Higgins said. “How will territorial local authorities possibly be able to decide whether being no longer earthquake-prone outweighs any detriment that is likely to arise as a result of the building not being accessible? And if they do make such decisions who will ensure that they’re being made consistently across the country so that accessibility does not become a postcode lottery?” he asked.

MDA National Council Chairperson Lindsay McGregor told the Committee that the proposed exemption is unnecessary.

“We understand that it was introduced in response to an assumption that adhering to the accessibility requirements of the Building Act may make earthquake strengthening prohibitively expensive. We do not accept that this will be the case.” Mr McGregor said. “Accessibility can usually be provided for relatively inexpensively and in rare cases where this is not the case there will be financing options that can be negotiated or arranged to enable the costs to be met. This bit of extra effort that may be required by a building owner should not be a reason to be exempted from the Act.”

Mr McGregor informed the Committee that the Muscular Dystrophy Association itself had addressed a similar issue about two years ago.

“Our previous National Office premises had significant accessibility issues so we purchased premises elsewhere and upgraded them so that they are now fully accessible. The upgrade required considerable effort, but we found a way through it. Our point is that if a charity with limited funds and insecure revenue streams can make its premises accessible, then anybody should be able to.”

The Muscular Dystrophy Association represents over 1100 members with muscular dystrophy and a range of other neuromuscular conditions. All of the conditions are associated with progressive muscle weakness and/or loss of muscle function associated with progress and varying degrees of physical disability, often requiring permanent use of a wheelchair or power wheelchair for mobility. All conditions covered by the MDA are genetic, they are often unpredictable and may affect anybody at any age, they are sometimes hereditary, there are no cures, effective treatment options are very limited and where they do exist they are not available through the New Zealand public health system.

It is conservatively estimated that in New Zealand there are 4400 people with one of the 40+ conditions covered by the MDA.
~ end ~


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

More Evidence - Scoop Press Conference Recordings:
PM's Post-Cab Presser 8/8/11
"at that point [Tucker] told me he'd release it ..."

Hager Revelations: Inquiry Into NZSIS Release Of Goff Docs

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), Cheryl Gwyn, announced she would be instituting an inquiry concerning allegations that the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) might have released official information to Mr Cameron Slater, regarding briefings provided to the then Leader of the Opposition, for political purposes...

“I am satisfied there is a sufficient public interest justifying the commencement of an own-motion inquiry into the substance of the issues raised with my Office,” said Ms Gwyn. More>>

Goff: Director’s Letter Contradicts Key’s Claims

At yesterday’s media standup, when asked on the topic John Key said ‘I wasn’t told’...
“In a letter dated November 2011 former SIS director Warren Tucker states three times that ‘in accordance with the usual practice of keeping the minister informed’ the Prime Minister had been told. More>>


 

Parliament Today:

Schools, PPTA Sign Up: Primary Teachers And Principals Vote Down Govt Plan

Teachers and principals have voted overwhelmingly against the Government’s controversial “Investing in Educational Success” policy, including proposed highly-paid principal and teacher roles. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Usual Round Of Mud Slinging And Name-Calling

This week gave an interesting example of how hard it is to untangle the reality from the slanging matches. The issue that emerged early this week could hardly be more important. Does the government intend to cut spending in health, education and on the environment if re-elected, or not? More>>

Earlier:

Electionresults.co.nz: National and NZ First Rise in Roy Morgan Poll

National has bounced back in the latest Roy Morgan Poll but the big winner has been New Zealand First who rise to their highest level of support since September 2013. More>>

ALSO:

Fish Pun Warning: By Hoki! It’s Labour’s Fisheries Policy

A Labour Government will protect the iconic Kiwi tradition of fishing by improving access to the coast, protecting the rights of recreational fishers and reviewing snapper restrictions, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. More>>

ALSO:

It's Official: Governor General Gives Direction To Conduct Election

The Governor General has signed the writ directing the Electoral Commission to conduct the General Election on 20 September 2014. This is the formal authority to run the 2014 election, and enables candidate nominations to open tomorrow Thursday 21 August 2014. More>>

Gordon Campbell: No More Mr Nice Guy

When future historians seek to identify the exact moment when the prime ministerial career of John Key hit the downward slope, they may well point to Key’s interview yesterday with Guyon Espiner on RNZ’s Morning Report. More>>

ALSO:

Dirty (Politics) Weekend: Collins’ Admission Reason For Key To Act

"Despite claiming that the evidence about her in Nicky Hager's book was ‘false’ Judith Collins has now been forced to admit that she did send information about a Ministerial Services staff member to Cameron Slater for him to use in a baseless smear campaign. More>>

ALSO:

Potential Disasters: Underground Coal Fire On Denniston Plateau

Forest & Bird says one or more coal fires have broken out beneath the Denniston Plateau, and that the Department of Conservation (DOC) must stop Bathurst Resources’ preparatory mining work going on there until the fire or fires are extinguished. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news