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Nation-wide movement for disability rights law

Christchurch disability activists join nation-wide movement for disability rights law – Canadian Disability Advocate calls for campaign for the New Zealand Government to “just say yes” to a New Zealand accessibility law

On Tuesday 12 November from 1pm to 2pm media are invited to attend a news conference at the Blind Foundation, 4 Maunsell Rd Parnell, Auckland to hear Canadian disability rights advocate and blind law professor David Lepofsky report his 8-day blitz across New Zealand, as a guest of the Blind Foundation and Access Alliance. As part of this blitz, last Friday 9 November, people with disabilities, whanau and their allies discussed what needs to be in New Zealand’s accessibility legislation, to make Christchurch accessible for everyone.

The EDLG – “Christchurch for Every Body” (Earthquake Disability Leadership Group) and The Access Alliance organised the consultation about what should go into accessibility legislation for New Zealand.

Poto Williams, MP for Christchurch East (Labour) and Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Champions for Accessibility legislation opened the consultation. Ms Williams said, “Parliamentarians are not the experts in disability, however, we can help to construct fit for purpose legislation if we hear the voices and listen carefully to people with disabilities and their allies”.

David Lepofsky, a leading Canadian disability rights lawyer, activist and advocate, who has advised on accessibility legislation for over 25 years, addressed the meeting as the Blind Foundation’s international guest and as a strategy advisor to The Access Alliance. Mr Lepofsky challenged the audience to be bold and ask the Government to commit as quickly as possible to introducing accessibility legislation for New Zealand. “It’s the smart thing to do, it’s the fair thing to do, and it’s the right time to do it”.

“In addition to removing barriers for the one-in-four New Zealanders who face them, you should also be considering the one billion people with disabilities around the world who are potential customers for New Zealand exported goods and services and also potential tourists to New Zealand.

“Being accessible for people outside of New Zealand helps the New Zealand economy generate opportunities for people in New Zealand, especially people with disabilities,” said Mr Lepofsky.

The EDLG is supporting the Access Alliance to ramp up grassroots advocacy to get the government to “just say yes” to national accessibility legislation in New Zealand.


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