On Saturday 15 October we held a Bubble Hui to discuss the Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill.
There was strong feeling that the Bill is inadequate, needs to be rewritten, and many people said they would like to see the Bill withdrawn so that it can be started on again from scratch. Some of the points made were:
- The Bill is not strong enough and has "no teeth" - no enforceable standards, no monitoring ability, and no sanctions ability, it will do nothing for disabled people
- To improve accessibility you have to have enforcement mechanisms
- There is nothing in the Bill that the government cannot already do without it
- It seems almost deceitful to create accessibility legislation that just gives us a committee that doesn't need a bill to be created.
- There is no right to access, no ability to challenge services that are badly done. It's just bureaucracy without having any power.
- You can't rely on accessibility trickling down from Central Government accessibility to the private sector.
- That while the intent of the Bill may be to raise the profile of accessibility issues, it will create a filtering process that may slowly slow things down. Instead of enabling progress, it will slow it down.
- Concern that even if recommendations and submissions are made calling for enforceability and stronger legislation, that might be considered out of scope because of the principles of the bill don't allow for enforcement.