Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter has responded to a letter sent by DPA drawing her attention to our Open Letter calling for all infrastructure projects, including green infrastructure and transport, to be fully accessible and uphold the rights of disabled people.
The letter was signed by a range of leading climate and justice organisations, including 350 Aotearoa, Oxfam, Greenpeace, OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council after DPA and Sustained Ability gained their support for making the climate movement more inclusive and accessible.
- Read DPA's letter to Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter (PDF)
- Read the Open Letter for Disability Justice in Climate Action (Word Doc)
Minister Genter has replied acknowledging the concerns raised and giving reassurance that all infrastructure projects that require Cabinet approval must explicitly consider the impacts any proposals will have on disabled people:
Tēnā koe e Prudence,
Thank you for your email of 1 July 2020 regarding the need to ensure that all infrastructure projects are fully accessible and uphold the rights of disabled people. I have read the letter you attached to your email, and I acknowledge the signatories to this letter.
I understand your concerns with the development of the Accessible Streets package. Given the potential impact of the Accessible Streets proposals on disabled people, Waka Kotahi has undertaken targeted engagement with disability organisations following public consultation on the proposals earlier this year. Officials also ensured that consultation materials were accessible to a wide range of people (available in braille, easy read, large print, audio format and sign language).
I have also asked transport officials to prepare a disability impact assessment following consultation. I expect to receive advice on matters relevant to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as part of this assessment. This will be informed by feedback from disabled people and their representative organisations during the consultation process. The aim is to ensure that disabled people’s feedback is appropriately incorporated and any identified risks are minimised.
I understand the need to ensure that all infrastructure projects are fully accessible and uphold the rights of disabled people, particularly when the purpose of these is to combat climate change. I can reassure you that all infrastructure projects that require Cabinet approval must explicitly consider the impacts any proposals will have on disabled people. Completing disability impact assessments is also becoming more prevalent as part of Regulatory Impact Assessments, which government departments must complete if regulatory changes are being proposed.
I have passed on your correspondence to Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency who is usually responsible for leading the implementation of transport infrastructure projects.
Thank you again for taking the time to write.
Nāku noa, nā
Hon Julie Anne Genter
Associate Minister of Transport