Questions for 2020 Candidates - Important issues for People with Access Needs

Including disabled people, seniors, carers of young children, the temporarily injured, migrants and people for whom English is a second language and their friends and family

1. Accessibility During a Crisis

COVID-19 highlighted accessibility weaknesses in our civil defence and management system and the need to build in accessibility when it comes to future responses to pandemics or other disasters. What is your plan for ensuring that the access-needs community is prioritized in your planning and execution of emergency management?

2. Access to Public Information During a Crisis

As a direct result of the New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006, all official information broadcasts must now feature New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) interpreters. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic response, people with vision loss were not able to access important information. There was a four-week delay in providing alternate formats to these members of our community. What are you going to do to ensure that people with access needs receive official information in their preferred alternate format at the same time as everyone else?

3. Universally Designed Infrastructure

The rebuilt and recovery budget is funding several large-scale ‘shovel ready’ projects to help kick-start the post-COVID-19 economic recovery. However, as has too often occurred in the past, accessibility has not necessarily always been an integral part of the conversation – particularly from the outset of new projects. This has resulted in a persistent lack of access. What will you and your party do to ensure accessibility is ‘built in’ to our infrastructure and post-COVID economic recovery initiatives?

4. Access to Meaningful Participation in the New Zealand Economy

People with access needs continue to experience disproportionate levels of unemployment or underemployment. This results in a cycle of poverty, deprivation and decreased health and mental wellbeing. What will you do to break this cycle of poverty and inequity, to ensure that people with access needs can contribute to the economy?

5. Access to Equitable Participation in Society

Currently, providing accessibility to civic events, accommodation options and attractions is at the provider’s discretion. If all tourist attractions were accessible to people with access needs, then they would be able to access at least one in four New Zealander who currently can’t enjoy their services. What will you and your party do to ensure people with access needs can equally participate in society?

6. Access to New Zealand’s Democratic Systems

Disabled people and people with access expect to be able to participate in the democratic process independently. However, they face major challenges when accessing the election process, political news, meetings, forums and information about candidates, policies or manifestos. What will you do to increase access to New Zealand’s democratic systems for people with access needs?

7. Accessing the Right to Autonomy and Dignity when Receiving a Health or Disability Service

Despite the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights (1996), people with access needs still face many healthcare barriers, including the right to make decisions about their own care. Medical and disability information is often presented in inaccessible formats and disabled people currently have little to no control over funding for the services they need. Other people with access needs also face barriers to accessing health services with autonomy and dignity. What are you going to do to ensure that people with access needs can make informed decisions about their health, and access the quality healthcare they need, just like anyone else?

8. Access to Education and Training at all Stages of Life

With an ageing population, we are now living and working longer than ever before. Injury, illness or simply the natural process of aging may necessitate a change in career and retraining. What will you do to ensure that schools, universities and other training institutions use educational technology and materials that are accessible to all students and at all stages of life?

9. Accessibility Legislation

Successive governments have struggled to resolve the issue of enforcing accessibility standards. The Access Alliance has evidence that accessibility legislation coupled with education and support for organisations is the pathway to creating and realising a fully accessible Aotearoa New Zealand over time. Will you and your party support introducing and passing accessibility legislation in 2021?

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