Recently, MSNZ made a submission to the Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill. The intention of the proposed bill is to establish “a new legislative framework that addresses systemic accessibility barriers that prevent disabled people, tāngata whaikaha and their whānau, and others with accessibility needs from living independently and participating in all areas of life”.
Following review of the proposed Bill and engaging with Access Matters Aotearoa, MSNZ made a submission with several recommendations.
We expressed our support for legislative action to be taken to address the accessibility barriers that prevent disabled people, tāngata whaikaha and their whānau, and others with accessibility needs from living independently, and which aims to grow accessibility practices in New Zealand. Meaningful change will not occur without effective legislative and government measures that provide for this. Effective development and implementation of public policy is essential for enhancing and improving access to goods, services and programmes not available to those with disabilities, and supports the ability of the Committee to influence those through the powers above. We believe that New Zealand should be a place where every person, regardless of their disability, should be able to fully participate in a society that recognises and provides for their access needs. It is not only possible, but essential, that New Zealand is fully accessible by 2035, and we welcome the introduction of a legislative framework to enable this.
While we support the intention of the Bill, the current offering will provide ineffective legislation and do little to effectively address the needs of the disability community, including those impacted by multiple sclerosis. As such, several changes and amendments were raised for consideration that would strengthen the Bill and further provide for its purposes. These were:
Due to the extent of the changes recommended by MSNZ and other organisations, we recommended the Committee should consider whether this legislation can be effectively corrected, or whether it requires a complete overhaul with greater consultation with the disability community. We urged the Government to engage more effectively with Access Matters Aotearoa who represent the interests and needs of the wider disability community.
We thank Access Matters Aotearoa, who we are joining as a Supporting Organisation, for the leadership they are taking on this pivotal issue and their support of organisations like ours in providing the tools and templates for making a submission.
View the documents below: