International Day of People with Disabilities - December 3 2020

New Zealand's Minister for Disability Issues, the Hon Carmel Sepuloni, speaks about the International Day of People with Disabilities.


Today is the United Nations International Day of People with Disabilities. The day aims to increase our awareness of the barriers disabled people can face, and it promotes the rights and wellbeing of disabled people in all areas of life – be it political, social, economic or cultural.

The 2020 theme ‘Not all Disabilities are Visible’, focuses on spreading awareness and understanding that not all disabilities can be seen. Some examples are mental illness, sight or hearing impairments, diabetes, and learning differences, among others.

Today is a good time to reflect on what we’ve achieved so far and what needs to be done.

Nearly a quarter of New Zealand’s population is disabled, and that number will rise as our population ages. For many disabled people, no matter their age, the accessibility of buildings, information, events, employment, transport, services and products is a challenge.

Important work is underway within government, and in partnership with the Access Alliance, on how legislation, information and advice will accelerate accessibility in New Zealand. Our vision is that our country should be 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.

Our work to achieve this is guided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the New Zealand Disability Strategy, which was developed in partnership with disabled people. You can find out more about the convention, and the NZ Disability Strategy on the Office for Disability Issues’ website.

I encourage you to find out what part you can play in creating a better and more inclusive New Zealand for all disabled people and in turn a better Aotearoa for all.

Fa’afetai lava.

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