Doing great things in the name of accessibility

Photo: Supplied.

Nominations are now open for the Inaugural Access Alliance People’s Choice Accessibility Awards for Business.

The Access Alliance is calling for nominations of New Zealand businesses doing great things in the name of accessibility.

These businesses will then be put to the public to vote, and they will be recognised by the Minister for Disability Issues, the Hon. Carmel Sepuloni, at a special event on Friday February 21 2020.

“Every New Zealander knows someone with an access need,” says Kapo Maori Aotearoa New Zealand and Access Alliance Chair, Chrissie Cowan. “This event is unique because it asks people with lived experience of having access needs to tell us about businesses who are role models and champions for accessibility in their communities”.

At this time of year, most people are taking a break and catching up with friends and family. This can involve travel, which means navigating transport or finding accessible holiday destinations.

“Accessibility is not just about the width of the door – it’s about information and communication, customer service, an accessible education and employment system, and universal design of public facilities, goods and services. Accessibility is an enabler to achieving wellbeing - Barriers to access are barriers to wellbeing,” says Chrissie.

For low vision blogger Ite Lemalu, this is certainly true.

“People with access needs need time to unwind, step out of their routine and enjoy our beautiful country too, but this can be an arduous task because you really have to plan ahead to make sure you don’t arrive at a place and find you can’t relax because you’re constantly having to overcome barriers. So information has to be accessible and up to date so we can make informed choices. Accessibility is a big topic but it starts with having the right attitude.”

The awards, proudly sponsored by Sudima Hotels, will recognise businesses who are leading the way in championing accessibility and demonstrating that accessibility is good for business. A growing number of businesses and organisations are supporting #AccessLaw2020, the Access Alliance’s campaign for Accessibility Legislation. In doing so they are recognising people with access needs as valuable employees, customers and members of their communities.

The Access Alliance is a movement comprising of the ten founding member organisations from the disability sector and partner supporters, individuals and supporting organisations representing people with access needs. Collectively the Alliance represents disabled people, seniors, carers of young children, the temporarily injured, migrants and people for whom English is a second language.

The Access Alliance are urging government to put legislation at the heart of a fairer and more inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand. The Awards are part of the Access Alliance’s #AccessLaw2020 campaign.

The Access Alliance member organisations include:
• Association of Blind Citizens New Zealand Incorporated
• Blind Low Vision NZ - formerly the Blind Foundation
• CCS Disability Action
• Cerebral Palsy Society
• Deaf Aotearoa NZ
• Disabled Persons Assembly NZ
• Kapo Maori Aotearoa New Zealand Incorporated
• National Foundation for the Deaf
• Parents of Vision Impaired New Zealanders
• People First, Nga Tangata Tuatahi

Collectively, the founding member organisations assist over 763,000 disabled New Zealanders. The Access Alliance network of partner supporters and social media followers sit around just over 6,000 like-minded individuals, twenty-six supporting organisations and fourteen business champions.

The Parliamentary Champions for Accessibility Legislation (PCAL), is a group of MPs across the parliamentary parties, who support the Access Alliance’s campaign.

The Access Alliance is also contributing to the Government’s ‘Accelerating Accessibility Work Programme’ to advise on what’s needed to improve accessibility.

The Access Alliance People’s Choice Accessibility Awards for Business event will be held at Sudima Auckland Airport on February 21 2020 from 6.15pm – 7.45pm.

To nominate a business for the Access Alliance People’s Choice Accessibility Awards for Business visit Nominations close January 19 and then voting will begin.


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