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Government Implementation of the Standard Rules
As Seen By Member Organizations of
World Federation of the Deaf - WFD

New Zealand


Download 'WFD Reports on the UN Standard Rules' as a PDF file (240 KB)
© Dimitris Michailakis 1997

Deaf Association of New Zealand, New Zealand
Compare with the following Country Report(s): the New Zealand Government


General policy

The officially recognized disability policy in New Zealand is expressed in guidelines adopted by the government. According to the Government disability policy is expressed in law, in guidelines adopted by the government and in guidelines adopted by the national disability council. The emphasis in this policy - in descending scale - is on individual support, rehabilitation, accessibility measures, prevention and anti-discrimination law.

The government has not initiated or supported information campaigns conveying the message of full participation, since the adoption of the Standard Rules. The Government states having supported the following for conveying the message of full participation: the Health and Disability Act; the Human Rights Act; the development of the Disability Support Services Strategy; and the Health and Disability Code of Rights.


Legislation

The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by special legislation. According to the Government, the rights of persons with disabilities are protected by a combination of special and general legislation. The judicial mechanisms adopted to protect the rights of persons with disabilities include: due process (legal remedy through courts) and recourse procedure by a special agency, dealing with anti-discrimination issues. Non-judicial bodies include an Ombudsman and a special arbitration/conciliation body.

General legislation applies to persons with different disabilities with respect to: education, employment, political rights, the right to privacy and property rights. According to the Government, general legislation also applies with respect to: the right of marriage, the right to parenthood/family and access to court-of-law. Only the benefit of financial security is guaranteed by law to persons with disabilities. According to the Government, even the benefits of health and medical care, independent living and participation in decisions affecting themselves are guaranteed by law.

The Human Rights Act has been enacted, since the adoption of the Standard Rules.


Accessibility

There are laws and regulations to ensure the accessibility of the built environment requiring that public places (schools, hospitals community centres etc.) are made accessible. According to the Government, there are standards requiring that the outdoor environment and means of public transportation also are made accessible. Accessibility in the built environment is observed by local governments. According to the Government, accessibility is also observed by a national authority and by the constructor. The following measures have been promoted by the government to facilitate accessibility in the built environment: marking parking areas, installing lifts and accessible toilets, ensuring access to public places and improving accessibility in housing. According to the Government even levelling off pavements and the provision of specially adapted motor vehicles are provided in order to facilitate accessibility in the built environment. Special transport arrangements include half price taxis (total mobility) available for medical treatment, education, work and for recreational purpose. The most difficult obstacles, when planning to build accessible environments, are attitudinal factors and economic/budgetary factors.

Sign language for deaf people has no officially recognized status, but is recognized as the main means of communication between deaf persons and others. According to the Government, sign language for deaf people is not even recognized as the main means of communication between deaf persons and others. There are no government measures to encourage media and other forms of public information to make their services accessible for persons with disabilities. According to the Government, there are such measures. None of these services - literature in Braille/tape, news magazines on tape/Braille, sign language, easy readers - are automatically provided. Some government departments, however, may provide some of these services, the provision being done at their discretion. According to the Government, all of the above mentioned services are provided in order to facilitate information and communication between persons with disabilities and others.


Organizations of persons with disabilities

There is no national umbrella organization. DPA is a lobby group for all organizations, but is not really an umbrella. There are no legal provisions mandating the representatives of persons with disabilities to participate in policy-making or to work with governmental institutions. Disability organizations are often consulted, when laws and regulations with a disability aspect are being prepared. Consultations occur at both the national, regional and local level. The government financially supports existing and new organizations of persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities participate to a very limited extent in government, legislatures, judiciary and political parties but to a great extent in NGOs. The role of disabled persons organizations is to advocate rights and improved services, mobilize persons with disabilities, identify needs and priorities, participate in the planning, implementation and evaluation of services and measures, contribute to public awareness, provide services and promote/organize income generating activities.


Co-ordination of work

There is no national co-ordinating committee or any similar body.


Contents of the WFD Report | Compare with the following Country Report(s): the New Zealand Government