Disabled facing daily barriers

By Teuila Fuatai

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High unemployment and axed support programmes are hitting disabled Northland residents hard, a disability support worker says.

CCS Disability Action Northern regional manager Auriole Ruka said programmes designed to assist disabled workers into work no longer existed due to government budget cuts and finding jobs for disabled workers was increasingly tough.

"The repercussions are there's less and less work out there and there's less ways to support employers to give disabled people a chance."

The 2012 monitoring report on disability rights in New Zealand has just been released.

Findings were based on feedback from 156 disabled people and focused on six main areas - health, employment, access to services and support, awareness around disability, social inclusion and barriers to making complaints.

In each of the six focus areas, disabled people said their human rights were not being met, creating barriers to their inclusion in the community.

Mrs Ruka said disabled people faced a raft of issues when it came to job hunting.

"Some of the people we support could be waiting for half an hour or an hour for a taxi that is able to take wheelchairs."

Services were also spread thin due to the size of the Northland region which added further challenges, Mrs Ruka said.

About one-in-five New Zealanders are living with a disability, says Statistics NZ.

Deputy Health and Disability commissioner Tania Thomas said the report highlighted important issues facing disabled New Zealanders.

"We need to make sure everything we do about our services and the information we provide is highly accessible."

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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