Asia-Pacific Jun 27, 2012
NEW ZEALAND: Persons with disabilities were affected by the Christchurch earthquakes alongside other Cantabrians. The Disabled Persons Assembly, a major New Zealand disability rights organisation, is leading a publicity campaign to alert everyone involved in the Christchurch rebuild to the benefits of accessible design.
Posters and cards are being distributed throughout the Christchurch region by persons with disabilities, who are united in their goal of making the city an exciting place to live in, and to visit.
Accessibility includes providing appropriate information and communication technologies, accessible transport, and facilities such as schools, libraries, sports complexes, and hospitals.
The whole community benefits when buildings and open spaces are accessible for persons with disabilities, including elderly people, and parents with prams. It also creates a feeling of safety and inclusion.
DPA CEO Rachel Noble says the Christchurch rebuild represents a prime opportunity for the New Zealand government to demonstrate that it takes its responsibility toward Kiwis with disabilities seriously.
“Ensuring full access benefits all New Zealanders,” says Ms Noble. “Out of the disaster of the earthquakes has come this opportunity for Christchurch to lead the world in designing and building facilities that benefit everyone, and DPA is at the forefront of calls to ensure this happens.
”The authorities responsible for the rebuild need to engage with disabled people at the outset, rather than waiting until complaints start pouring in once the building is finished and disabled people can’t get inside or get the right information.”