Wellington Takes Action for Accessibility

2 December 2011

Following the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown will launch the Capital's draft Accessible Wellington Action Plan, Monday 5 December at the Accessible Wellington forum, Te Papa from 5.00pm.

Mayor Wade-Brown says the action plan recognises the cultural shift toward 'accessibility for all', aiming to eliminate social and physical barriers in Council facilities, services, programmes and communications. She encourages other Wellington-based organisations and services to do the same.

"We're confident this action plan will improve our services and also life for people who experience barriers, either occasionally or all their lives," says Mayor Wade-Brown.

"There's a global trend towards accessibility for everyone, whether they're in a wheelchair, use a walking stick, have experience of mental illness or an intellectual disability, or navigate public transport systems with three young children."

Social Portfolio Leader Councillor Stephanie Cook is encouraged by the wider focus of the plan.

"There are moments when we all can realise how difficult it is for those with disabilities to get around or to have access to certain services," says Cr Cook.

"When my Mother was ill and needed to use a wheelchair I realised how difficult it can be for people with mobility problems and also for their caregivers.

"The Accessibility Action Plan is about raising awareness, planning our services better, and also taking the lead on these issues. Businesses and organisations must also think about making their facilities more accessible - it makes good business sense for as many people as possible to access what you have to sell.

"I would also like to extend our gratitude towards our Accessibility Advisory Group, without whose help we could not have developed such a robust plan," says Cr Cook.

Consultation on the plan starts Tuesday 6 December and runs until Wednesday 29 February.

There are lots of ways people can have their say on the plan. Either fill out the submission form on the plan and mail it to the City Council; complete a submission form online; leave a voice message by phoning (04) 801 4257; or attend the forum Monday night.

The Accessible Wellington Forum takes place Monday evening at 5.00pm at the Rangimarie Room, Te Papa. Media are invited to attend.