Auckland Council celebrates International Day for Persons with Disabilities

Publish Date : 03 Dec 2021

Today, 3 December is the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a day aimed at encouraging understanding and increasing awareness of the need to be inclusive of people with disabilities in every aspect of our political, social, economic and cultural life.

Mayor Phil Goff says he’s committed to making our city an accessible and enjoyable place for everyone.

“The council’s Disability Advisory Panel has done some great work in raising awareness and to ensure that all Aucklanders can stay connected and have access to public spaces, transport, building and housing.

“Established in 2011, the Disability Advisory Panel is proactive in advocating for those with disabilities, including identifying issues that are important to people with disabilities, providing advice on Auckland Council’s regional strategies, policies and plans, and helping us effectively engage with people with disabilities.

“It’s also great that council staff have today launched the internal Disability Staff Network to support our people and try to remove any barriers in their way.”

Councillor Josephine Bartley, Liaison Councillor for the Disability Advisory Panel, says this year’s theme of fighting for rights in the post-COVID era highlights the impact lockdown can have on these groups.

“Lockdown brings many issues with it, such as social isolation, technology limitations and job losses, which many disabled people are used to managing on a day-to-day basis. We have a great opportunity to be able to learn from these communities as we move into a post-COVID world.

“One in five people in New Zealand have some form of disability, which can range considerably – some are obvious externally, while others are invisible.”

Auckland Council Director Regulatory Services, Craig Hobbs says he is privileged to support the council’s internal Disability Staff Network and congratulates the team for re-establishing the Network.

“As a former CEO of Paralympics New Zealand and board member of the Cerebral Palsy Society of New Zealand, I have witnessed people adapting and thriving regardless of their disability, whether it be physical, intellectual, sensory or a mental health challenge. I have also seen people disenfranchised by attitudes, environments, inequity and ignorance.

“The vision of the New Zealand Disability Strategy is this: New Zealand is a non-disabling society - a place where disabled people have an equal opportunity to achieve their goals and aspirations, and all of New Zealand works together to make this happen.”

Co-Chair of the Disability Advisory Panel, Martine Abel-Williamson (QSM), spoke at a Te Pou online event, which can be viewed on the Te Pou website.

You can read more about Martine and her recent work on OurAuckland, as well as getting to know Panel member Kramer Hoeflich.  

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