About Access Matters Aotearoa

Every New Zealander deserves to be able to participate fully in society.

Access Matters Aotearoa Trust (AMA) leads a social change campaign in Aotearoa New Zealand advocating for all areas of public life to be accessible to everyone, regardless of access needs. Our movement has thousands of committed campaigners, supporting organisations, and business champions calling for accessibility legislation with enforceable standards.

In Aotearoa New Zealand we like to think we live in a classless and fair society. We take pride in having a can-do attitude where working hard translates into getting ahead. We know, of course, that the reality is somewhat different for many of us. Our society was designed and built for just a portion of our population.

One quarter of us are excluded every day from fully participating in parts of life that other Kiwis take for granted.

When we talk about access and accessibility, we are referring to our ability to engage with, and belong to, the world around us. When we are denied access, we call that a barrier.

Barriers we face in everyday life include:

  • Obstacles when getting around, for example inaccessible public buildings, spaces and transport
  • Inaccessible public services, for example difficult to access health, justice, and education services
  • Information and communication barriers, for example inaccessible websites and apps, signage and printed materials, and a lack of closed captioning.

Most people don’t want to bar others from public life. Many organisations want to be accessible to their customers and employees, but don’t know how. Existing human rights laws don’t provide enough guidance to organisations on how to design a website, provide employment, or deliver goods and services in a way that everyone can access. Additionally, there are no good ways to address accessibility issues under existing legislation.

It doesn’t need to be this way.

We propose that the New Zealand Government introduce accessibility legislation to ensure people with visible and invisible disabilities can fully participate in their communities.

The new legislation will include:

  • Minimum, industry-specific national standards for accessibility for New Zealanders with disabilities and other access needs. These minimum standards will apply to all areas of life.
  • A framework that sets out how the standards will be developed and implemented over time.
  • A pathway to identifying and remedying barriers when issues arise.

To find out more, check out this set of principles, which Access Matters Aotearoa wants to be the basis for the accessibility law.

Accessibility legislation acknowledges that all New Zealanders will have a disability at some point, whether permanently or temporarily. People with visible and invisible disabilities will continue to experience barriers in everyday life until accessibility is established as a right in our laws.

Support accessibility legislation now - it’s the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do and it’s the right time to do it.

The following videos summarise documents which are available on our resources page here.

Donate to support the Access Matters campaign

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