I encountered an access barrier when visiting the New Zealand Parliament grounds in Wellington. I wanted to go up and down the parliamentary stairs, but I was prevented from doing so. This made me feel angry as it confirmed to me that our Government is NOT "walking the talk". They are NOT committed to creating an accessible New Zealand for all.
The grounds of Parliament belong to the people of New Zealand. So we should ALL have access to all the areas that abled people can go. I assessed the parliamentary grounds in Wellington for accessibility, for people like me, and it failed.
I want the new access laws to ensure that accessibility is seen, heard and evident to ALL, not just to able-bodied people. Accessibility must be in the physical and virtual worlds, and in the mindsets and attitudes of everyone.
Those with disabilities need to be at the decision-making table, right from the get go. Far too many buildings and public spaces are planned by able-bodied people - it might be accessible to them but not to ALL.
Our Government has to be a role model. If they can't demonstrate accessibility then why would anyone else promote accessibility, or even contemplate it? The New Zealand Government needs to look at how committed they are to accessibility for ALL. It currently appears to be tokenism.
This is a story about the barriers many face. We're sharing it because we want a law that puts accessibility at the heart of an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.