The Social Services and Community Committee has produced it’s final report on the Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill.

DPA is extremely disappointed that the committee has made no substantive changes to the Bill; nor has it accepted the United Nations disability Committee’s recommendation that the Bill be withdrawn and co-designed with disabled people.

The changes the committee have put forward are so insignificant as to be insulting to the many disabled people and allies who presented to the Social Services and Community committee the need for accessibility legislation to have standard setting powers, powers of enforcement, investigative powers, and the ability to rectify breaches of accessibility.

The recommendations the committee put forward include:
• Amending the bill to use “tāngata whaikaha Māori” to refer to Māori disabled people.
• Amending the Bill to require the Minister to ensure that people of different genders are represented on the Committee.
• Amending the Bill so that the Committee include family and carers of disabled people
• Amending the Bill so that the word ‘domain’ is changed to ‘aspect of life’
• Amending the Bill to allow the Committee to receive and consider people’s views and experiences and to make such reporting a function of the committee.
• Amending the Bill to enable the Committee to ask for specific information and to charge the Chief Executive to support the committee to seek information.
• Amending the Bill to require the Minister to present the committee’s recommendations to Parliament as soon as practically possible after receiving them.
• Amending the Bill to add a definition of reasonable accommodations and to charge the committee chair to ensure Committee members are reasonably accommodated whilst carrying out their work.
The Report and it’s recommendations were passed by majority.

Both the National Party and the Green Party produced minority reports, and neither will be supporting the Bill - their views are included in the final report.

Note - The Social Services and Community Committee put out a press release when they made their report back to the House of Representatives apologising for a delay in providing the alternate formats.

"We wanted to provide our report and the substantive pieces of advice we received in the five alternate formats at the same time that we made our report back to the House. We set aside several weeks after deliberation to allow time for these documents to be translated into the alternate formats. However, we spent more time than expected considering possible amendments than we anticipated. This reduced the amount of time we had to allow for our report and the advice we received to be translated into alternate formats.

"We acknowledge that this means some people may not be able to access our report and the advice we received for this bill. We apologise for the delay in providing the alternate formats for these documents."