Inaccessible communications technology and red-tape has prevented me from accessing emergency services, and from saying goodbye to an old friend.
A friend I've know for more than 25 years told me last week he was terminally ill. He was taken, soon after, into Auckland Hospital where the Oncology Team are looking for a Hospice bed for him. He has always lived alone, is something of a hermit and I am his only real friend. Thus he asked if I would go collect his house key and drop by his home to pick up some essentials. This I did.
Shortly after telling him he could ring me day or night, my phone went dead! There ensued an email battle with my Internet Service Provider, who also provide phone coverage. They insisted I needed a new, and of course expensive, modem. I had a suspicion that Chorus, who came to dismantle my next door neighbour's landline and internet, did something to the connection to my house. The coincidence of them working in the street and my phone dying, after several phone calls that day, is just too much.
I soon realised I was firmly pinned down, and eventually I had no alternative but to agree to this new expensive modem. Unfortunately I will have no landline until the modem arrives and is installed, which is something I cannot see to do myself.
Meanwhile I have no way of calling for help, not even 111. So my access to emergency services too, seems to be denied.
Nor does anyone care about my old friend being unable to contact me in his last distressing day. Access denied in another, very sad, way 🙁.
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.