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

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice.

Evidently, the National government is similarly desperate for anything that might discredit or derail the Ardern juggernaut, even if that means throwing Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne under a bus More>>

 

Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>

ALSO:

Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>

ALSO:

Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>

ALSO:

(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog