DPA made a submission on the Ministry for the Environment's draft national adaption plan by Zoom meeting.

Disabled people are being impacted directly by climate change, but also by the changes that are being brought in to either mitigate or to adapt to climate change. If these changes are not done with a disability lens, we become massively disadvantaged and impacted.

DPA are very pleased that there is an adaptation plan and that disabled people have been identified as a specific area to give some thought to. However, there are key areas that the plan has not gone far enough to give thought to for disabled people adapting to climate change:

  • The impact of climate change on where people live
  • E.g., for disabled people moving from flood-prone areas - the lack of accessible housing options and the likelihood of losing a network of support people built up over time.
  • The need for new infrastructure and transport modes to be fully accessible for disabled people
  • E.g., Ensuring when transitioning to EV trains, buses and cars that they are accessible and meet a minimum noise standard
  • Data and information needs
  • Data needs tie into supporting a transition. Do we know how many accessible houses that would need to be built for communities that have to move?
  • The need for a National Climate Change Disability Reference Group or something similar
  • This kind of mechanism ensures that there is a voice at the table. For climate change, it will be important to set up an instrument that disabled people can ensure their voices are heard and issues are thought about every step along the way.

We also pointed out the need for all information to be accessible. While the draft national adaption plan was available as a Word document, much of the crucial information was in images which weren’t accessible to screen reader users.

The accessibility of consultations is important because if disabled people can't have a say at the beginning then we're not going to be built into the plan in a way that works for us.

Read the full DPA Submission on the Draft National Adaption Plan