Advocating for an accessible New Zealand

The Blind Foundation is passionate about having a New Zealand that’s accessible for people who are blind or have low vision.  We know that’s good for all Kiwis. Our advocacy work influences the government to take action and improve access to information, buildings and public spaces, transport and more.  We want to fix things once and for all, for everybody.

So how do we do that?  We mainly focus on influencing central government policy,  using our understanding of issues facing people who are blind or have low vision.  That’s coupled with research to be a credible voice.

Our team also works with local government, policy developers and other disability organisations to create change.  And we have a voice on the international stage, working closely with the World Blind Union on major projects such as the Marrakesh Treaty.

There are other important organisations which carry out valuable advocacy in the blindness space too.  You might know of Blind Citizens NZ, Kapo Maori or PVI.  Retina NZ, Albinism Trust and Deafblind NZ Inc are also well-known organisations.  They all have a complementary focus to the Blind Foundation. Together, we’re a strong and compelling voice aiming to change NZ for the better.

Blind people and those with low vision, and their families and friends, are central to the success of our advocacy work.  To get involved or find out more, call 0800 24 33 33 or email us on generalenquiries@blindfoundation.org.nz

Advocacy Initiatives

New Zealand is believed to be one of the first countries to have access requirements built into the Disabled Persons Community Welfare Act (DPCW Act) 1975. The Blind Foundation contributed to advocacy efforts which resulted in the Government passing the DPCW Act. Decades later, the Blind Foundation was one of a number of organisations to work for the inclusion of rights for people with disabilities in the Bill of Rights 1990, the Human Rights Act in 1993, the Code of Rights under the Health and Disability Act 1995, the New Zealand Disability Strategy in 2001 and for the Disability Convention in 2008.

The Blind Foundation worked closely with the government to amend the Copyright Act, to provide for equal access to information for people with a print disability. Now New Zealand law permits the making of accessible versions of literary and dramatic works, without copyright infringement, for the benefit of individuals who depend on alternative formats of printed material.

Today, the Blind Foundation continues to work on policy issues to improve quality education for blind and low vision learners, public transport accessibility, increased access to accessible-format material, and to have the Government sign and ratify the Marrakesh Treaty.

Position Statements

Find out where we stand on issues related to accessibility, blindness and low vision.