I raised my three children on my own, while living with very low vision and no family or community help.
We were housebound because I had no transportation due to my sight problem. My children have suffered because I could not take them anywhere on my own. This resulted in my children not learning to swim, or playing in sport teams, or even going to friends' houses.
I am also housebound because I have no family or anyone to help. My benefit is not enough to use taxis and the bus services in Bell Block, New Plymouth, are terrible. Thank goodness for the internet, at least I can get groceries on line.
I would like to see accessibility laws that allow access, for those with disabilities, to the everyday activities and services that most people take for granted. Things like a more subsidised transport system, which might include perhaps three free taxi trips per month. Or maybe a payed helper for parents with disabilities, so they can take their children out. Small things that would make a big difference.
My life has been extremely unfulfilling because we live in a society that just doesn't care about people who have no one to support them. I have struggled with access barriers and discrimination my whole life, partly because I was born into a family that wanted nothing to do with a disabled kid. Hopefully legal changes will also cause a positive shift in people's attitudes towards those of us with access needs.
This is a story about the barriers many face. We're sharing it because we want a law that puts accessibility at the heart of an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.