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NZ - We Need Beach Access for Everyone, and That Includes People With a Disability

Beach trips are a traditional part of our summers, but for some Kiwis and their family members living with a disability it can be a limiting experience.

Around 1 in 4 New Zealanders have a disability. Their disability arises not from their impairments but from having to live in world designed by people who think everyone is the same.

It is society, not the individual’s impairment, that is disabling. Thus, it is society that should be enabling.

Examples of enabling measures are seen in efforts to provide beach access for those with disabilities with the installation of beach mats for wheelchairs, or the provision of beach wheelchairs.

But after an able-bodied woman suffered a significant leg injury on a beach mat, there are now concerns that Auckland City Council, and other councils across the country, might review the provision of such such mats.

Disabled rights

Any such decisions must take the rights of people with disabilities into account. These rights are to be found in international human rights law, and New Zealand’s own law.

The rights of people with disabilities are protected by international human rights law generally, which recognises that everyone is born equal and all have to the right to be free from discrimination.

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