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

 

Accessibility legislation would boost NZ’s economy

Media Release – embargoed until 9.30am, Tuesday 28 February 2017.


Accessibility legislation for disabled people would boost New Zealand’s economy by $862 million

In an unprecedented move, a diverse range of disability groups have come together to issue a call for legislation that would enable people with disabilities to more actively participate in society. The newly created Access Alliance is calling on all parliamentary parties to commit to introduce accessibility legislation prior to the general election in September.

The Alliance today released a report by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research “Valuing Access to Work”. The report highlights the economic and social benefits of removing barriers to employment for the largest group of under-employed and unemployed New Zealanders, and supporting disabled people to actively contribute to the country they love. These include a potential $300million per year reduction in Jobseeker Health Condition or Disability benefit costs and increased tax revenues of $387million. The net productivity gain impact alone is a rise in real GDP of $862million. Better accessibility would also mean better education and employment outcomes for disabled New Zealanders.

The proposed legislation would enforce mandatory minimum accessibility standards that ensure organisations provide services and facilities that are fully inclusive and accessible, opening the door to disabled Kiwis having the same opportunities and choices as everyone else.

Former Ontario Minister of Children’s Services and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Dr. Marie Bountrogianni is in New Zealand to meet with Members of Parliament and businesses and to support the campaign. Dr Bountrogianni was responsible for introducing the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005.

Dr. Bountrogianni says, “The ideal of accessibility is one in which nobody has to ask ‘is it accessible?’ Anyone with any impairment, temporary or permanent – to their mobility; their physical or mental health; their hearing or vision or speech; their ability to learn or understand information; even a pregnant woman or a parent wrangling small children has an accessibility need – can access any public service or facility. At any given time, 25% of Ontarians and Kiwis are in this category, and the same proportion of visitors or tourists.”

Every day, the estimated 1.1 million New Zealanders who have access needs face barriers in their everyday lives. Physical barriers mean they can’t access some buildings or use forms of transport, while information and communication barriers include websites that are difficult or impossible to use for people who have vision, learning or hearing impairments.

“People with disabilities face too many obstacles, making it harder for them to work or to study. It’s time to look at how we can enable disabled people to participate in the community and economy, rather than focusing on the costs of managing disability issues in the traditional way; one person at a time. Access matters,” says Dianne Rogers, spokesperson for The Access Alliance.

Ms Rogers says legislation will help businesses and organisations know what they need to do to enable people with disabilities to access their services, buildings, and products.

“The current human rights legislation does not give organisations clear and specific directions on what they must do to become fully accessible as employers and service providers. Current laws do not tell those working in many public and most private sector organisations how to design a website, or provide employment or goods and services, to ensure that people with disabilities fully benefit from, or can participate in, them” says Ms Rogers

The proposed legislation, the Accessibility for New Zealanders Act, aims to achieve this. It will consolidate the existing standards, develop new standards where required, and specify their comprehensive application and enforcement. The Act will align with existing human rights legislation and will set a timeline for its implementation.

Ms Rogers says, “It’s the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do, and it’s the right time to do it.”

About The Access Alliance

The Access Alliance is a group of eight disabled people’s organisations, disability service providers, community organisations and disability advocates, working together to remove the barriers disabled New Zealanders face and build a New Zealand that is accessible to everyone. Collectively, the members assist over 156,000 New Zealanders.

The Access Alliance members include Auckland Disability Law, Blind Foundation, CCS Disability Action, Deaf Aotearoa, Disabled Person’s Assembly, Parents of Vision Impaired New Zealanders, Inclusive New Zealand and Kāpō Māori Aotearoa. Other organisations are invited to join.

For more information, go to accessalliance.org.nz

*In the 2013 Disability Survey there were an estimated 1.1 million disabled New Zealanders, almost one in four of the population.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Ellen Rykers on The Dig: Community Conservation – The Solution To The Biodiversity Crisis?

There are backyard trapping networks doing their bit for Predator Free 2050, farmers planting native trees along their waterways, and iwi protecting whenua rāhui. There are 62 biodiversity sanctuaries across 56,000 hectares, with around two-thirds of them community-led. There are citizen scientists counting birds in their backyards and landowners conserving habitat in 3,500 Queen Elizabeth II National Trust covenants.

It’s increasingly clear that a government agency alone cannot combat the biodiversity crisis successfully. These grass-roots initiatives are a growing resource in the conservation toolbox. More>>

Closing This Weekend! Have Your Say On The Issues For NZ's New Biodiversity Strategy

Scoop and PEP invite you to help decide how we should protect and restore our biodiversity over the next 50 years using Scoop’s online engagement platform, HiveMind. HAVE YOUR SAY HERE>>

Biodiversity HiveMind Preliminary Progress Report
Open data report summarising preliminary findings of the Biodiversity HiveMind. Read Progress Report Here>>

 

PM In Japan: Jacinda Ardern’s Remarks Following Abe Summit

Today we discussed a wide range of topics. Broadly the themes were: a deeper, high-value trade and investment relationship, greater cooperation in the Pacific; and strengthening our security partnership. More>>

ALSO:

Replacing All But Chair: Twyford Appoints Five NZTA Board Members

Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced the appointment of five new members to the NZ Transport Agency Board... There remain two vacancies on the NZTA Board which will be filled in due course. More>>

ALSO:

Climate Change: Adaptation And Risk Assessment Framework Released

“We are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate such as coastal inundation and increasingly frequent and severe droughts, floods, fires and storms. This framework is an acknowledgement that we must start adapting”, James Shaw said today. More>>

ALSO:

Ihumātao: Mana Whenua Reach Decision On Land

Māori King Tūheitia says mana whenua have finally reached consensus over what to do with Ihumātao - they want it back. More>>

ALSO:

PM To Japan, New York: Ardern To Meet Trump During UN Trip

“I’m looking forward to discussing a wide range of international and regional issues with President Trump, including our cooperation in the Pacific and the trade relationship between our countries." More>>

PM's Post-Cab: "A Way Forward"

At Monday's post-cabinet press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a number of actions in response to the Labour Party's mishandling of sexual assault complaints. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Allegations Of Left Wing Media Bias

“Left wing bias” accusations date back at least to the mid 1990s... The charge of left wing bias was ridiculous then, and is ridiculous now. More>>

Next Wave Of Reforms: Gun Registration And Licensing Changes Announced

“The Bill includes a register to track firearms and new offences and penalties that can be applied extraterritorially for illegal manufacture, trafficking, and for falsifying, removing, or altering markings – which are a new requirement under the Firearms Protocol.” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels