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Progress towards developing NZ's Accessibility Law

‘Leave No One Behind’ - Progress towards developing New Zealand’s Accessibility Law

Media Release 03 December 2018 - The Access Alliance

On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Access Alliance are standing in support of the Minister for Disability Issues in her efforts to advocate for Government to commit to introducing a national accessibility law.

The Access Alliance, a collaborative of twelve national disabled people’s organisations, disability service providers, community organisations and disability advocates, have been at the forefront of a campaign for the law, which would enable mandatory and enforceable standards to remove barriers and create for all New Zealanders a truly accessible Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Mary Fisher, Paralympic swimmer and blind accessibility campaigner, says it's about "smart, systemic change" that's good for everyone, especially the one in four New Zealanders who live with a disability.

"There are lots of everyday activities where we as disabled people have to work harder to do something that doesn't need to be a challenge, whether it's getting around, fully accessing all of a building, or being able to get information and communicate in your preferred way.

An accessibility act with standards in key areas of life would mean we can take a systemic approach rather than fighting each barrier one at a time."

The Access Alliance are acknowledging Minister Sepuloni’s leadership in advancing the dialogue with her colleagues about developing accessibility legislation this year.

"We want to see an Accessibility Bill introduced and well on its way to becoming law during this Parliamentary term," Ms Fisher said.

Chrissie Cowan, CEO of Kāpō Māori Aotearoa and Chair of the Access Alliance says the group have been having "positive interactions" with Government.

"We have met with Minister for Disability Issues Hon. Carmel Sepuloni regularly this year, and we know she has been working with her officials to progress accessibility legislation."

The Access Matters campaign also has the backing of the cross-party Parliamentary Champions for Accessibility Legislation, a group co-convened by MP’s Poto Williams (Labour) and Dr Shane Reti (National).

Ms Cowan says that next year, the Alliance plans to spearhead a national conversation about what the accessibility law should look like.

"We want to hear from disabled people, business, local government, iwi and members of the public about what a truly accessible Aotearoa, New Zealand looks like and how an accessibility law could help us get there."

Ends

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