Making the most of your MP meeting for the Access Matters campaign
You can make the most of the precious time you have with your MP by having a read of this doc to help you prepare for the meeting and follow up afterwards.
Please do read down to the end.
Before the Meeting
If you're attending with someone else (recommended if possible), have a chat to them and make a game-plan for the meeting with the tips in the sections below. It’s useful to google your MP and see which areas they have responsibilities or interests in. We recommend you decide in advance who will lead the meeting and make sure you keep an eye on the clock.
Please print a copy of the MP briefing note, attached separately, to leave with your MP. You might also like to read it in advance. Remember to bring along the booklet as well :)
In the Meeting (modify as appropriate for 2+ people)
- Introduce yourself
- Tell your MP why you’re here e.g. “I wanted to meet with you to explain why we urgently need to introduce an Accessibility Act, and how you can support it too”.
- Check how long you have for the meeting and ask whether it’s okay to get a photo with your MP as you leave
- Outline the meeting e.g. “I'd first like to share a story that illustrates just one example of an accessibility barrier and how accessibility legislation could help to remove it. Then I’ll explain a bit more about campaign and give you a chance to ask any questions. Does that sound okay?”
- Share your story
- Explain the campaign, using the points below as a guide.
- Give time for questions (see below for some common ones).
- Tell them how they can support the campaign (list below), and try to get them to commit to doing so in some form.
- Ask them to tell their party's disability spokesperson that they support the Accessibility Legislation.
- Present the booklet of Stories to them - explain that the booklet contains a selection of stories from the disability community about how an Accessibility Act could help remove access barriers that lots of us face in our daily lives. It also outlines an example of how a business (SudimaHotels and Resorts) supports the campaign
- Include the leaflet. Fill it in before you arrive with your details and personal story.
Hand them the briefing note.
- Wrap up, thank them and get a photo, preferably with the booklet in it.
Key messages for explaining the campaign
- We all want to live in a country where everyone belongs and has the same opportunity to participate and contribute to society.
- All of us either have a disability or will get one as we get older. Our colleagues, friends and whanau have disabilities.
- Many of us face barriers in our day-to-day lives which hamper our inclusion and full participation in workplaces, education, and our communities. Accessing transport, information and services is often impossible or stressful because of these barriers.
- We want to work together to remove these barriers and create a truly accessible New Zealand. Accessibility legislation is the foundation we need - it is the right thing to do.
- Currently, individuals and organisations have to fight for the removal of these barriers one at a time, and this is exhausting and unfair. Under this legislation, we call for accessibility to be required by law, in both the public and private sectors and for it to be monitored and enforced effectively.
- Accessibility standards would complement the legislation, helping businesses, education-providers, service-providers and others understand how to become accessible and demonstrating the importance of prioritising
- When disabled people can participate and contribute, ALL of society benefits.
How can MPs support the campaign (this is taken directly from the MP briefing note)
We call on you to:
- Let your party's disability spokesperson (and party leader if appropriate) know about this meeting and indicate your support for the introduction of Accessibility Legislation this term.
- Share their support on social media using the hashtag #AccessLawNow
- Join the Parliamentary Champions for Accessibility Legislation group (This is a cross-party group of Parliamentarians committed to ensure New Zealand has fit for purpose accessibility legislation. Hon. Ruth Dyson MP, LabourParty and Hon Maggie Barry MP, National Party Co-Chair the PCAL. Chrissie Cowan, Chief Executive, Kāpo Māori Aotearoa New Zealand, is the Access Alliance Chair.
The 2019 PCAL members are listed below:
- Dr Shane Reti – National Party
- Poto Williams – Labour Party
- Deborah Russell MP – LabourParty
- Liz Craig MP – LabourParty
- Greg O’Connor MP – LabourParty
- Chloe Swarbrick MP – Green Party
- Anahila Kanongata'a-Suisuiki MP – Labour Party
- Jenny MarcroftMP – New Zealand First Party)
- Support introducing legislation as and when the subject comes up
- Emphasise that the best results come from developing this legislation in close consultation with a number of stakeholders, including government (Central and Local), business, iwi and disabled people.
Background on the Policy Work Programme
The Policy Work Programme would:
- Develop a common understanding of the term ‘fully accessible’ so everyone knows what is meant.
- Be co-designed with key stakeholders which include government (Central and Local), business, iwi and disabled people.
- Work out the best options to achieve the best policy objectives, including any changes or reviews to the legislation.
Identify key elements to be included in the planning of the Legislation, (e.g. how the standards are established and parts of accessibility they should cover)
- Consider possible implementation issues or areas, such as plans that would need to be set up, the work that would need to be done, educating the public about the legislation and what funding or resources would be needed.
- Estimate costs, what department would cover them and assess risks
Common Questions MPs might ask
NB: If you don’t know the answer to a question you are asked, no problem (no need to pretend you do) - just email the questions through to the Access Matters campaign team.
Here are a few common questions:
Has an Accessibility for New Zealanders bill been drafted yet?
No, not yet. We’re currently working with Minister Sepuloni and her officials to make sure she feels supported in her decision around whether to recommend to Parliament that the government sponsor the bill. The Parliamentary Champions for Accessibility Legislation are supporting her too.
How much will the legislation cost? Is it something you think businesses will be able to support?
It’s impossible to put a dollar figure on the financial cost at the moment, but we do know that the cost of disabled people having to face barriers just living, getting around, working and contributing to our communities is high. We also know that lots of accessibility barriers can be removed with lateral thinking and minimal cost, especially when accessibility is planned from the outset. It’s also important to us that business is one of the stakeholders consulted on the legislation, as well as local government, iwi and disabled people.
Do you have more information on the campaign?
Yes, there is more information in this briefing note, and you can also find more on the campaign website accessalliance.org.nz. If you have further questions after reading the briefing note, you’re welcome to email me.
After the meeting
- If you use social media, we encourage you to post about your meeting with a photo if it went well. Include the hashtag #AccessLawNow and #AccessMattersNZ.
- Please let me know how the meeting went and email us the photo firstname.lastname@example.org
- Please email your MP to thank them for the meeting and remind them of how they agreed to support the campaign.
All the best!