To: Rt Hon Bill English, Mr Andrew Little, Rt Hon Winston Peters, Hon Te Ururoa Flavell and Ms Marama Fox, Hon Peter Dunne, Mr David Seymour, Mr James Shaw, National Party; Labour Party; New Zealand First; Māori Party; United Future Party, Act Party, Green Party

It’s time for equal access

https://vimeo.com/231012606
I call on each of you to show you believe that earning a living and having a good life are things you expect are achievable for all New Zealanders. You can do this by committing your party to introducing accessibility legislation, including enforceable accessibility standards, in the 2017-2020 parliamentary term.

I urge you to recognise that increased accessibility presents one of the largest opportunities for social and economic development for all New Zealanders. When communities and businesses can access the skills, creativity, and inventiveness of everyone in Aotearoa, then all of society benefits.

I want you to invest in the well-being of all New Zealanders by acting to ensure that jobs and workplaces are accessible to everyone, including 14,000 New Zealanders with disabilities who are ready and able to work, yet struggle to gain employment.

Why is this important?

One in four Kiwis have a disability and face barriers in their day-to-day lives – many of which involve difficulty accessing buildings and public spaces, public transport, education, employment, information, and services. When we encounter these barriers, it is currently up to us to fight for them to be removed, repaired, or remediated. Having to grapple with these is exhausting. One day at university, I got stuck in a lift because the Braille I needed to be able to touch on the buttons was covered by a thick sheet of plastic. While stuck there, I got thinking: how great would it be if we had a legally-binding system in New Zealand that focused on proactively ensuring our vibrant country is equally accessible to everyone, instead of relying on us as disabled individuals to prove we've been discriminated against and have to wrestle with one barrier after another? It's time to change the system. I'm 22 and I want to be able to tell my future kids that the law in Aotearoa is clear: it says that accessibility is a priority, and as such, recognises that we deserve access to the premises and services of business, education providers, construction workers and transport operators as much as every other New Zealander. We want the freedom to live our lives how we choose; we want to use our time and energy to contribute to the economy and our communities.

I am part of the Access Matters campaign, a coalition of disabled people, disability organisations, and our supporters who are mobilising to challenge all political parties to be proactive about accessibility by committing to introduce mandatory and enforceable accessibility legislation and standards. Accessibility is too important to be swamped down by party politics; now is the time for consensus.

We will present this letter to the leaders of all political parties as soon as the new electoral term begins asking for it to be a cross-party priority for the new parliament. I need your help to make that happen - add your name now to support equal access for everyone.

Áine Kelly-Costello

- disabled person, student, employee, friend

How it will be delivered

We will deliver this letter to the leaders of all political parties in an event on the steps of Parliament as soon as the new electoral term begins asking for it to be a cross-party priority for the new parliament.

Updates

2017-09-04 20:05:13 +1200

100 signatures reached

2017-09-04 18:43:23 +1200

50 signatures reached

2017-09-04 18:12:35 +1200

25 signatures reached

2017-09-04 18:02:47 +1200

10 signatures reached