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

 


Access to buildings is a human right, says monitoring group

Embargoed until 2.30pm, Thursday 7 August 2014

Media Release: Access to buildings is a human right, says monitoring group

A key group monitoring disability rights in New Zealand says proposed changes to building regulations are unnecessary and infringe disabled people’s right to access buildings.

When a building is upgraded, reasonable and adequate access must be made for people with disabilities. The proposed changes to the Building Act 2004 will allow councils to issue building consents for earthquake strengthening without triggering this requirement.

In its second report, launched this week, the Independent Monitoring Mechanism (IMM) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities criticises this proposal.

Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem says the proposal sends a clear message that the rights of disabled people are a low priority.

“Inaccessible buildings limit disabled people’s opportunities for education, employment, and their ability to contribute to and participate in their community.”

The IMM includes the Office of the Ombudsman, the Human Rights Commission and the New Zealand Convention Coalition made up of eight disabled people’s organisations (DPOs).

In the report, the IMM has contrasted the Building Act proposals with other areas where progress has been made since July 2012. It welcomes increasing involvement by disabled people and their organisations in practical and policy decisions about their lives. For example, the Earthquake Disability Leadership Group (EDLG), established to advocate for the rights of disabled people in Canterbury during the recovery, is making progress.

“The EDLG has been particularly successful in ensuring that disabled people have an effective and united voice in the rebuilding of Christchurch,” says the IMM’s report.

The EDLG’s aim is to make Christchurch the most accessible and liveable city in the world. This is picked up as the focus of the IMM’s report launch in Christchurch tomorrow (August 7).

However, Disability Commissioner Paul Gibson says accessibility continues to be an issue in Christchurch and across the country.

“The Commission’s December 2013 report Monitoring Human Rights in the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery identified two and three level buildings constructed without lifts or the capacity to include them at a later date,” he says.

The IMM welcomes the current Government review into building access for disabled people. Its report recommends considering whether the existing accessibility standard should be mandatory and extended to cover residential housing.

ENDS

Find out more at: http://www.hrc.co.nz/

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Election Day: Make Sure You're A Part Of It!

Saturday 20 September, is election day, and New Zealanders’ last chance to have a say on who leads the country for the next three years.

“The people and parties we elect tomorrow will be making the decisions that affect us, our families and our communities,” says Robert Peden, Chief Electoral Officer. “It doesn’t get much more important than that, and we need all New Zealanders to use their voice and vote.”

Voting places will be open from 9.00am until 7.00pm on election day. The busiest time at voting places is usually 9.00am - 11.00am.

“Take your EasyVote card with you when you go to vote, as it will make voting faster and easier, and vote close to home if you can. But don’t worry if you forget your card, or didn’t receive one, because as long as you are enrolled to vote, your voice will be heard,” says Mr Peden. More>>

 

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news