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

 


Wake-up Call for New Zealanders

Outgoing Disability Commissioner’s Message in Oz a Wake-up Call for New Zealanders

Comments made by the outgoing Australian Disability Commissioner, Graeme Innes, should be a wake-up call for New Zealanders that there are still serious barriers faced by disabled job seekers both here and overseas.

Graeme Innes, who is blind, caused a storm this week as he highlighted the ongoing discrimination against disabled people – especially job seekers - in Australia.

Mr Innes is leaving his role as the Commissioner in Australia today after it was cut from the Australian Human Rights Commission, in part, to make way for a new Freedom Commissioner.

In his last speech to the National Press Club, the veteran disability and human rights activist talked about his own experiences facing discrimination. He went through thirty failed job interviews over twelve months because employers did not think a blind person could work as a lawyer.

CCS Disability Action Chief Executive, David Matthews, said the situation was no different in New Zealand and the community often did not recognise the skills and ability of disabled people.

In New Zealand, disabled people have an unemployment rate twice that of non-disabled people.

In a 2012 research report, 78 per cent of employers said that disabled New Zealanders are discriminated against. The most common employment complaint to the New Zealand Human Rights Commission is about disability discrimination. Disabled people have repeatedly reported not getting interviews because they acknowledged their disability.

David Matthews, CCS Disability Action Chief Executive, said:

“In our branches across the country, we are seeing disabled people struggle to get a fair go when applying for jobs. Disabled people hunting for jobs are having the door slammed in their face, far more than non-disabled people.”

Mr Matthews was clear that the main issue was the attitude of society and employers.

“Disabled people say they want to work and research has consistently shown that they want to work. The main barrier is society and employers not giving them a fair go.”

Government and non-government organisations have responded with a host of measures. Mr Matthews said that while these measures are part of the solution, the wider issue of attitudes was sometimes downplayed.

“Unless we change our attitudes towards disability, it will not be enough. This is not just about the people at the top. In most large organisations, hiring decisions are made by multiple people.”

Mr Matthews was unapologetic about the need for more people to speak out about discrimination.

“Why are people tolerating discrimination against disabled job seekers? Are people questioning why qualified candidates are being put on the reject pile, just because they acknowledge their disability? This is about standing up for what is right.”

Mr Matthews emphasised that with an estimated one million people identified as having a disability in New Zealand, the economic impact was huge.

“We are turning our back on a huge number of potential workers. This is not fair and it is not good for the country’s economy or the future.”

Mr Matthews said he would leave the last word to Graeme Innes who said in his speech:

“Disability is a normal part of the diversity of the human experience, and the life of our community.”

END

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Joint Statement: Establishment Of NZ-China Strategic Partnership

At the invitation of Governor-General Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Prime Minister The Rt Hon John Key of New Zealand, President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China made a state visit to New Zealand from 19 to 21 November 2014.

During his visit, President Xi Jinping met with Governor-General Jerry Mateparae, and held talks with Prime Minister John Key. The leaders had an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of common interest. More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Savings Targets: Health Procurement Plan Changes Direction

Next steps in implementing DHB shared services programme Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the Government has agreed to explore a proposal put forward by DHBs to move implementation of the shared services programme to a DHB-owned vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

More on Health Policy:

Auckland Unification: 'No IT Cost Blowout' (Just More Expensive)

Following discussion of an update on Auckland Council’s Information Services Transformational Programme at today’s Finance and Performance Committee, council has released the report publicly. More>>

ALSO:

Other Expensive Things:

Gordon Campbell: On The SAS Role Against Islamic State, And Podemos

Only 25% of the US bombing runs are even managing to locate IS targets worth bombing. As the NYT explains at length, this underlines the need for better on-the-ground intelligence to direct the air campaign to where the bad guys have holed up... More>>

ALSO:

Public Service: Commission Calls For Answers On Handling Of CERA Harassment

EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On Andrew Little’s Victory

So Andrew Little has won the leadership – by the narrowest possible margin – from Grant Robertson, and has already been depicted by commentators as being simultaneously (a) the creature of the trade unions and (b) the most centrist of the four candidates, which would be an interesting trick to see someone try in a game of Twister. More>>

ALSO:

China President Wishlists: Greens Welcome Xi, But Human Rights Need To Be On Agenda

“President Xi has made some progress on climate change, but he must also lift the Chinese government’s game on human rights issues,” Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said... It is important that our Government continues to urge the Chinese government to show restraint and respect human rights in both Tibet and the Xinjiang province.” More>>

ALSO:

Airport Security Breach: CAA Fines Minister

Minister Brownlee has been issued an infringement notice and is required to pay a $2000 infringement fine for breaching Civil Aviation Rule 19.357(b), which states no person may be in an airport security area without an appropriate identity card or document. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news