New Zealand must meet its obligations under UNCRPD

Press Release – Auckland Disability Law

People across New Zealand have expressed outrage at reports that the Speaker of Parliament, Lockwood Smith, has told Mojo Mathers and the Green Party that Parliament will not meet the costs of reasonable accommodations within the chamber from the general budget.14 February 2012

New Zealand must meet its obligations under UNCRPD

People across New Zealand have expressed outrage at reports that the Speaker of Parliament, Lockwood Smith, has told Mojo Mathers and the Green Party that Parliament will not meet the costs of reasonable accommodations within the chamber from the general budget.

This is clearly in breach of the Government’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), ratified by New Zealand in 2008, which states:

Article 29 – Participation in political and public life

States Parties shall guarantee to persons with disabilities political rights and the opportunity to enjoy them on an equal basis with others, and shall undertake:

a) To ensure that persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others, directly or through freely chosen representatives, including the right and opportunity for persons with disabilities to vote and be elected, inter alia, by:

ii. Protecting the right of persons with disabilities… to stand for elections, to effectively hold office and perform all public functions at all levels of government, facilitating the use of assistive and new technologies where appropriate;

Auckland Disability Law Development Manager Nicola Owen said: “Unfortunately this type of case is all too common in New Zealand. We often receive cases where Deaf or disabled individuals have been refused employment opportunities or access to services because of a perceived cost. Parliament should be taking a lead in showing New Zealand how to make reasonable accommodations. Instead of treating the proposed electronic notetaking as an individual cost, Parliament should recognize it as an opportunity to make parliamentary debates accessible to many thousands of Deaf and hearing impaired New Zealanders.”

ENDS

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