New Zealand is known for its progressive stance on disability issues. The country has a long history of disability advocacy and has made significant strides in recent years to promote the rights of people with disabilities. In this article, we will explore the common attitudes towards disability in New Zealand, discrimination and legislation issues, public transport and building access, and advocacy groups for people with disabilities.
Attitudes towards disability
Attitudes towards disability in New Zealand are generally positive. The country has a strong culture of inclusion and accessibility. People with disabilities are often viewed as valuable members of society, and the country has a strong network of support services to help them live independently.
New Zealand’s approach to disability has been shaped by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The country ratified the convention in 2008 and has since worked to implement its principles in all areas of society. This has included changes to legislation, infrastructure, and social attitudes towards disability.
Discrimination and Legislation
New Zealand has a strong legal framework to protect the rights of people with disabilities. The Human Rights Act 1993 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of disability in areas such as employment, education, and access to goods and services. The act also requires employers and service providers to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.
In addition to the Human Rights Act, New Zealand has a number of other laws and policies in place to promote disability rights. The New Zealand Disability Strategy, launched in 2001, is a government-led initiative to improve the lives of people with disabilities. The strategy outlines a number of goals, including improving access to education, employment, and health care, as well as promoting social inclusion and participation.
Public transport and building access
New Zealand has made significant efforts to improve public transport and building access for people with disabilities. The country’s Building Code requires new buildings to be accessible to people with disabilities, and many older buildings have been retrofitted to improve access.
Public transport in New Zealand is also generally accessible to people with disabilities. Buses, trains, and ferries are required to have wheelchair ramps and priority seating for people with disabilities. Many public transport operators also provide additional services such as audio announcements and staff assistance.
There are a number of advocacy groups in New Zealand that work to promote the rights of people with disabilities. These include:
- Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) – DPA is a national organization that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities. The organization works to promote accessibility and inclusion in all areas of society.
- Blind Foundation – The Blind Foundation provides support and advocacy for people with vision impairments. The organization offers a range of services, including guide dogs, assistive technology, and counseling.
- Deaf Aotearoa – Deaf Aotearoa is a national organization that works to promote the rights of people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The organization provides advocacy, support, and education services.
- IHC New Zealand – IHC is a charitable organization that provides support and advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities. The organization offers a range of services, including residential care, education, and employment support.
New Zealand has made significant progress in promoting the rights of people with disabilities. The country’s strong legal framework and culture of inclusion have helped to create an environment where people with disabilities can live independently and participate fully in society. While there is still work to be done, New Zealand’s approach to disability rights serves as a model for other countries around the world.