I went to visit the Ministry of Education (MOE) head office in Wellington. I assessed the access to MOE's head office from Parliament building, from the perspective of a person using a wheelchair. Accessibility is the ability to actively participate and engage, and in this regard the MOE head office in Wellington FAILS.
This makes me angry. Many people with a disability have children who go to school, and they need to have easy access to the MOE so that they can participate in matters regarding education, just like able-bodied people. It seem to me that the Government's architects consider accessibility to be merely an 'add on' or a check box box they have to tick. Architects often fail to integrate 'access for all' in their buildings.
I think the new access laws should ensure people with disabilities are included at the decision-making table when designing buildings. All architects MUST include evidence that they have engaged the disability community in their building designs.
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.