access matters sign language accessibility

Access Matters: Time for 100% Accessible Aotearoa.

I know first-hand that access matters and makes a huge difference for everyone, which is why I celebrate every small step forwards. I am excited to support the launch last week of a campaign by Access Alliance for a truly accessible Aotearoa New Zealand.

Last year Parliament TV brought in live captioning which has not only provided access to political debate for over a hundred thousand deaf and hard of hearing Kiwis but also transformed my work.

But we need so much more than this if we are to build a truly inclusive Aotearoa where no-one is locked out of education, jobs or participation in society.

This is particularly important when we consider that nearly one in four Kiwis has a disability.

Inaccessibility has profound downstream consequences, not just for disabled people, but for their caregivers, family and friends.

Even in areas as basic as accessible buildings, New Zealand still performs very poorly.

In Christchurch for instance, we found that some developers were using every trick in the book to get out of providing access to their offices.

Clearly, our building code and standards need updating and better enforcement. Similar challenges also exist in standards for accessible information, captioning and public transport.

Access is simply too important to be left to the whims of corporations and organisations. All the goodwill in the world will not make a wheelchair magically levitate up a flight of stairs to access a workplace.

The Green Party fully supports the Access Alliance’s call for enforceable accessibility legislation to make a truly accessible Aotearoa New Zealand a reality.