Many Kiwis still not getting a fair go ten years on
2 December 2016
Latest survey shows many Kiwis still not getting a fair go ten years on.
It appears that while most New Zealanders follow the road code, a very large percentage of our population does not follow a moral code when it comes to the rights of disabled people. The latest research into mobility parking abuse indicates that about one in two people actively choosing to park in car parks designated specifically for the use of disabled people who have a Mobility Parking permit, are not authorized to do so thereby denying disabled people access to their own communities. And that’s no small amount of Kiwis. According to the 2013 Disability Survey – over one million New Zealanders have a disability. Isn’t it time all Kiwis got a fair go?
This survey, undertaken by CCS Disability Action, who manage the Mobility Parking permit scheme for over 130,000 disabled New Zealanders, is the first survey into mobility parking abuse undertaken since 2006/2008. It indicates that there has been very little improvement in attitude and abuse rates in the ten years since 2006.
“Most permit holders will tell you that this is their personal experience – people without permits using mobility parks, so it doesn’t come as a surprise to us. But it is very disappointing. And it is interesting to have our anecdotal experience supported by the statistics that have come out of this survey,” says Peter Wilson, National Manager Partnerships and Projects, CCS Disability Action. “If you don’t have a medical condition or disability that affects your mobility, you can choose from hundreds of parking spaces. But disabled people don’t have this range of choice so when someone illegally parks in a designated mobility parking spot it often means that a mobility parking permit holder cannot do their shopping, or get to their appointment on time. This behaviour has a huge negative impact on people’s lives”.
17% of people interviewed for the survey, who had no disability and no permit openly admitted they had used a mobility park in the last 12 months. Explanations given included: “It’s okay to use them if it’s only for a short period of time” and “If it’s at a quiet time of the day it’s okay”. “The research shows that people are not thinking about or are choosing to ignore the consequences of their choice to park in these mobility parks reserved for people with affected mobility. But they should think about it. It is never okay to use one of the mobility parks without a permit. Their actions are disabling many of their fellow New Zealanders,” says Peter Wilson. The observational study revealed mobility parking spaces were commonly used by about one in two people without a permit. The observational study was conducted in a wide range of locations throughout New Zealand in October.