On Thursday 28 July 2022, thanks to years of hard work by many people, the Government’s ‘Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill’ started its journey through the House of Representatives to become an Act of Parliament.
The bill was introduced Thursday 28 July 2022, and you can read it online. We strongly encourage you to familiarise yourself with its content.
The next stage is “First Reading”. This means that MPs debate and vote on the bill. If successful, it is usually sent to a select committee. The New Zealand Parliament webpage ‘How a bill becomes law’ says this can occur no sooner than the third sitting day after a bill’s introduction. This delay allows members time to look at a bill and decide if they agree with it. This means the earliest that the First Reading debate could take place is on or after 9 August 2022.
You can register for ‘Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill’ updates on the New Zealand Parliament website. Look for the green "Get notifications" button.
The need for accessibility legislation is simple: everyone should be able to participate in all areas of life. Accessibility is a human right, and no one should have to struggle through their daily life just because they have access needs.
The failure to address access barriers amounts to disability discrimination, as described by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in their ‘People with Disability in Australia 2022’ report:
“[Disability discrimination] occurs when a practice, policy or rule that applies to everyone causes unreasonable disadvantage to a person with disability.”
The Access Matters campaign team will assess the ‘Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill’ to analyse what it actually delivers, and where it falls short. One of the key elements that will guide this assessment is feedback from our campaign supporters in response to the May 2022 cabinet paper ‘Accelerating Accessibility in New Zealand’. A summary of this feedback will be posted to our website shortly.
We will be back in touch with next steps.
Ngā mihi nui
For the Access Matters Campaign Team