Christchurch disability activists join movement

Christchurch disability activists join the nation-wide movement for disability rights law – Canadian Disability Advocate calls for a campaign for the New Zealand Government to “just say yes” to a New Zealand accessibility law

On Tuesday 12 November from 1pm to 2pm media are invited to attend a news conference at the Blind Foundation, 4 Maunsell Rd Parnell, Auckland to hear Canadian disability rights advocate and blind law professor David Lepofsky report his 8-day blitz across New Zealand, as a guest of the Blind Foundation and Access Alliance. As part of this blitz, last Friday 9 November, people with disabilities, whanau and their allies discussed what needs to be in New Zealand’s accessibility legislation, to make Christchurch accessible for everyone.


The Earthquake Disability Leadership Group (EDLG) and The Access Alliance organised the consultation about what should go into accessibility legislation for New Zealand.

Poto Williams, MP for Christchurch East (Labour) and Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Champions for Accessibility legislation opened the consultation. Ms Williams said, “Parliamentarians are not the experts in disability, however, we can help to construct fit for purpose legislation if we hear the voices and listen carefully to people with disabilities and their allies”.

David Lepofsky, a leading Canadian disability rights lawyer, activist and advocate, who has advised on accessibility legislation for over 25 years, addressed the meeting as the Blind Foundation’s international guest and as a strategy advisor to The Access Alliance. Mr Lepofsky challenged the audience to be bold and ask the Government to commit as quickly as possible to introducing accessibility legislation for New Zealand. “It’s the smart thing to do, it’s the fair thing to do, and it’s the right time to do it”.

“In addition to removing barriers for the one-in-four New Zealanders who face them, you should also be considering the one billion people with disabilities around the world who are potential customers for New Zealand exported goods and services and also potential tourists to New Zealand.

“Being accessible for people outside of New Zealand helps the New Zealand economy generate opportunities for people in New Zealand, especially people with disabilities,” said Mr Lepofsky.

The Access Alliance will ramp up its grassroots advocacy to get the government to just say yes to national accessibility legislation in New Zealand.  


For more information contact:

Kristin Gillies

Email: [email protected]

Mobile: 021 065 8460


About David Lepofsky

David Lepofsky is a leading disability advocate and blind law professor.  He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Toronto and Visiting Professor at the Osgoode Hall Law School. David is the thought leader and disability activist who spearheaded the design and implementation of Ontario’s accessibility legislation. David is in New Zealand to share lessons learned from designing laws and standards to make Canada barrier-free for everyone. He is a Blind Foundation volunteer and is the international strategic advisor to the Access Alliance. Over the past 8 days he has spoken in Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Christchurch and Nelson. He has met with Minsietr Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Disability Issues and senior officials as well as disability activists around the country.


About The Access Alliance

The Access Alliance is a collaborative of twelve national disabled people’s organisations, disability service providers, community organisations and disability advocates, working together to remove the barriers disabled New Zealanders face and build a New Zealand that is accessible to everyone. Collectively, the members assist over 763,000 New Zealanders.

The Access Alliance members include Auckland Disability Law, Blind Foundation, CCS Disability Action, Deaf Aotearoa, Disabled Person’s Assembly, Parents of Vision Impaired New Zealanders, Inclusive New Zealand, Kāpō Māori Aotearoa, Blind Citizens New Zealand, National Foundation of the Deaf, People First, and the Cerebral Palsy Society. Other organisations are invited to join.

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