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The start of an equal and accessible New Zealand?

The start of an equal and accessible New Zealand?

On the 19th and 20th of July 2016, 121 youth MPs will take over Parliament to debate the mock Bill titled “Accessible Web Pages and Apps”.

This bill aims to improve accessibility of digital technologies including social media, mobile apps and basic internet access for people with disabilities.

Although it is a mock bill, the stories and issues behind its creation are real. This resonates with many blind or low vision New Zealander’s whose lives are affected daily due to lack of accessibility.

Technology plays an integral role in the lives of most New Zealanders; providing access to publically available information, services and commercial ventures. However 8-10% of New Zealand’s population are missing out on these opportunities due to blindness, low vision or other reading disabilities. Equity and human rights considerations are tested every day by this.

The mock bill draws awareness to these issues and highlights the fact that the present law is not providing all New Zealand citizens fair and equal opportunities to contribute to the world they live in.

The Blind Foundation and Blind Citizens New Zealand are two organisations who have been working inexhaustibly for years to advocate on these issues.

They work tirelessly towards equal opportunities for an estimated 75,000 Kiwis affected by blindness or low vision.

New Zealand, in different ways, has distinguished itself as a forward thinking; fair society. However, our current laws regarding accessibility for the disabled contradicts this.

“It’s time to escalate the debate about making New Zealand truly accessible. To drive legal changes required so every organisation can do the right thing. Future legislation would not only benefit those who are blind or have low vision, but also the creation of positive opportunities for the New Zealand economy. Such changes cater to the growing global market for accessible products and services. It makes sense” says Sandra Budd, Blind Foundation Chief Executive.


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