Imagine a world where all websites and applications are accessible.
That was the vision that our future leaders discussed during the 2016 Youth Parliament.
121 Youth MPs from around the country attended Youth Parliament in Wellington on July 20 and July 21.
The event is an opportunity for young New Zealanders to learn first-hand about New Zealand’s democracy and to influence decision making.
As part of the experience Youth MPs debated a mock bill on Accessible Web Pages and Apps. The mock bill is aimed at improving website and app accessibility for people with print disabilities in New Zealand.
The bill received overwhelming support from the youth MPs and was passed.
Among those promoting the bill was 16-year-old Blind Foundation client Britnee Tapara from Lower Hutt who was paired with National list MP Chris Bishop.
Britnee made a powerful speech on the bill which many described as being the highlight of the two day event.
“I have never let my vision defeat me. I like to think of it as playing the game of life on hard mode,” Britnee told stuff.co.nz.
In the lead up to the event, Blind Foundation staff briefed youth MPs on the importance of online accessibility.
Blind Foundation client and former Youth MP Ezekiel Robson also met with the officials from the Department of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Youth Development to support the initiative.
Dianne Rogers, Policy Manager at the Blind Foundation, says it was fantastic to see how enthusiastic the youth MPs were about accessibility.
“Thanks to their support the future of accessibility in New Zealand is really looking bright,” she says.
Over the coming months the Blind Foundation will be carrying out a survey to find out what New Zealand organisations are doing to make their web pages and mobile apps accessible.