<Day Date Month Year>
Dear <Name>, <Political Party> Member of Parliament for <Electorate> / <List MP>
[If the MP is a Minister: Dear Minister <Surname>]
My name is <Your Name>. I am a member of your electorate in <your electorate / suburb>. I am also a person with <disability/access need> / who is an ally to the disabled community / who is a carer for a disabled person and have been since <year> / birth.
We all want to live in a country where every New Zealander can fully participate in society. Back in 2018, the Government committed to creating a fully accessible Aotearoa New Zealand through Accessibility Legislation. It is now 2022 and a Bill is finally due to be presented to Parliament in July. Unfortunately, the proposed legislation falls well short of the recommendations made by the Access Alliance.
The Access Alliance has put forward 13 Principles on which Accessibility Legislation should be based to ensure that it is effective in protecting the access rights of all New Zealanders.
The legislation should:
- Apply to all
- Set a timeline
- Set the bar
- Provide accessibility in all areas of life
- Set policy
- Champion access to all goods, services and facilities
- Champion accessible workplaces, employment and education
- Charge government with the responsibility to lead, educate, train, inform and review
- Be enforceable
- Be made real through regulations
- Ensure public funds are not used to create or perpetuate obstacles to full accessibility in all areas of life
- Be a lens through which to vet legislation
- Have real force and real effect.
The legislation framework we want has five key ingredients:
- Accessibility legislation
- Access standards
- Independent regulation
- A notification and barrier identification process
- An effective dispute resolution process.
The New Zealand Law Foundation funded the report ‘Making New Zealand Accessible, a Design for Effective Accessibility Legislation’ which proposes one way to implement the five accessibility ingredients. The report also provides a framework that could deliver on the majority of the 13 Principles proposed by the Access Alliance. We are calling on the Government to reconsider their current policy and draft a Bill based on the framework recommended in the New Zealand Law Foundation report.
I am asking you to show your support for #AccessLawRightNow by:
- Highlighting the fact that the proposed legislation falls short of the requirements of people with access needs
- Persuading your parliamentary colleagues to redraft the proposed Accessibility Legislation, and base a new Bill on the framework recommended in the New Zealand Law Foundation funded report.
We have a chance to make history. Please don’t let this opportunity pass by. Getting this law right has huge potential for addressing issues of equality, social cohesion and economic growth, but the consequences of getting it wrong will take decades to unwind.
I am requesting a meeting with you to discuss Accessibility Legislation in further detail. Please reply to me at <email address> / <phone number> / <postal address>.
<Your Full Name>
Access Matters Campaigner
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