Blind Citizens NZ Nelson Branch General Meeting
Held on Saturday 20th May 2017 at 2.00pm at Church of Christ Hall,

Mike Stevens (National Councillor), standing in for Amanda (Chair) Welcomed all to the Meeting

Present: Mike Stevens, Kaye Halkett, John Monk, Beryl Stansbury, Andrea Kepes, Betty Hodda, Ruth Chignell, Gill Clayton, Kathy Harris, Judy Campbell, Beryl Spencer, Valeria Alford, Elizabeth Raaijen, Mavis Ducray, David McNamara, Joan Davidsen, Susie Diserens, Ann Taylor, Ruth Nicholson, Shane Mead, and Jenny Meadows (acting Secretary)

Apologies: Noreen Cater, Amanda Stevens, Sue Maxton-Massey, Claudette Pow, Tess Grooby, Maureen Bettany, Chrissy Fern, and Lennane Kent. Irene Merrilees said she’s moving to Tauranga and is grateful for our friendship. And Joan Raynor, now 94, says she can’t go to everything, has enjoyed us but now must ration things.

Minutes of the Previous General Meeting – accepted by all as true and correct

Matters Arising:
Queen Street upgrade – Changes on a daily basis. Road cones are around the street, footpaths are open. The bus stop is outside Warehouse. For the most up-to-date information, call Chris Forman, 0800 000 413, and ask for the current status. Chris is the community liaison person with Downer, who is doing the upgrade.

Accessibility for All:
Tasman District Council walkabout – Councillors and Council staff (mostly engineers), and Mayor Kempthorne joined us. Kempthorne and the other councillors were walking with glasses that simulated vision impairment, or they were in wheelchairs, on crutches, wearing earplugs, or breathing through a straw to simulate asthma and emphysema. Some highlights were their recognition of the inconsistency of crossing places and the general lack of safety in carparks. We had a good conversation with the engineers about safety. It was a windy day, so shop owners had placed the sandwich boards where they wouldn’t get blown over. It created a slalom course. Inside Council buildings, the toilet was difficult to access because of heavy doors. And the handles were silver-grey, like at the Suter. Feedback from the Councillors was that they found it tiring walking around with their various impairments and negotiating the barriers in the inadequate environment.
The next Accessibility for All meeting is 9 June.

Proposed speed limit on Queen Street:
It is currently reduced to 30k/hour during the upgrade, and the proposal is to permanently reduce it to 30k/hour after the upgrade is completed. Kaye has put in a submission on Blind Citizens NZ’s behalf, taking your comments as supporting evidence. On the walkabout, the mayor and the Councillors also supported the reduction. Amanda is going to speak to our submission in chambers on 12th June at 1:20pm. Members’ support is welcome

National Councillor’s Report:
Blind Citizens NZ’s Management Committee has been determining how best to use the bequest to us nationally for the benefit of us all of $130,000. One way is to upgrade the equipment in the head office, like copiers and such. The auditors have also been determined by the Board for this annual cycle. The Work Plan with the Blind Foundation has also been agreed. More details available from National Office on 0800 222 694.

Memo 9 Access Alliance:
aims to persuade all political parties to commit to introducing accessibility legislation, as part of their election commitments in the lead up to 23 Sept 2017 general election.
Blind Citizens NZ, being representative of its members and listening to your voices through remits at Conference, is part of the Disabled Persons Organisation (DPO) Coalition. Those Disabled Persons Organisations who have signed up to the Access Alliance include:
• Blind Citizens NZ
• Deaf Aotearoa
• Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA)

Complementary organisations include:
• Blind Foundation
• CCS Disability Action
• Auckland Disability Law
• Parents of Vision Impaired New Zealanders

Your Board, from your comments, believes the work of The Access Alliance is complementary to Blind Citizens NZ’s work programme and links to the Disability Action Plan and the NZ Disability Strategy. We need to persuade our MPs and candidates going into the election that access and participation in so many areas matters to us, and we want, at the very least, the minimum standards. Some of us contributed to the Strategy last year. Please contact National Office on 0800 222 694 if you have any further questions.

Memo 8:
Concerning the proposal that children up to age 12 and people over 65 be allowed to ride cycles on footpaths. Blind Citizens NZ has expressed strong opposition to this and has released a position statement which has been and will be used when speaking to both Councils and the Accessibility for All forum in relation to Health and Safety on pavements.

2017 dates:
Accessible Art Group:
Friday, 2nd June, at the hobby room in Summerset, in collaboration with Blind Foundation and volunteers. The cost is never more than $8 per sessions. We’re doing hand modelling and hand-making mosaic tiles. Contact Gill Clayton for more information.

Next Coffee & Chat:
Friday, 9th June, 10 am, McCashin’s Brewery in Stoke
If interested, just turn up, or contact Chrissy Fern 027-295-3331, or contact the Blind Foundation in Stoke.

Mid-Winter Lunch
This will be on Wednesday, 21 June at The Playhouse in Mapua. A coach and driver will take us there. The building and toilet facilities are accessible. Cost is $23, with 3 courses to choose from. Send your response to Ann Taylor by 13th June. Pickup pointes are Miller’s Acre at 10:30am, then on to Stoke by the tennis courts. A place in Richmond will be determined, depending on who opts to go. If you have difficulty getting to a pickup point, let Ann know.

Extra Touch Award:
Nominations close 30th June.

Membership subs are due 1st July.

Remits to National Office:
10th July is the closing date. Please bring your remits for the AGM to the June General Meeting.

Nelson AGM:
15th July, 2 pm, Church of Christ Hall in Richmond

Audio-described opera in Christchurch:
The opera is Carmen, which will be audio-described in Christchurch on 18th July. Gill told about her previous experience with Madame Butterfly. Before the rest of the audience will be allowed in, Blind Citizens will go on stage and get to touch the props and costumes. We will get a description of the set design. Once we’re back in our seats, we will get a headset. The audio description comes between the songs.
If you are interested, contact the Blind Foundation. If a group goes, transportation and accommodation would be shared.
Ruth Nicholson, Kaye Halkett, Ruth Chignell, Gill Clayton, and Jenny Meadows expressed interest in going.

Museum Visit:
Friday, 11th August, 11 am. $8. DaVinci Robots and Machines. Guided by the education team at the museum. Jenny Meadows has already seen this exhibition and was fascinated to discover how many things we use today were created by DaVinci 600 years ago. Many of the displays are hands-on.

Guide-dog Handlers’ Forum:
Wednesday and Thursday, 11th and 12th October, in conjunction with and just prior to this year’s national AGM and Conference in Invercargill. The forum is for current handlers, those who aspire to be one, and members who have been a handler but don’t have a guide dog at present. The Forum will provide an opportunity for handlers from around the country to contribute to or benefit from peer-to-peer support. The Board has allocated funds from BCNZ’s leadership fund and will be providing some financial support. Ideally, attendees from the Forum will stay for BCNZ’s AGM and Conference.
Expressions of interest close at National Office at 4pm, Thursday 1st June. Contact Puti Rutene, Administrative Support:

National AGM/Conference:
13-15 October in Invercargill.
Door prizes will be used to get people back into the room after breaks in sessions. Do we want to contribute one or more door prizes?

This is a valuable source of information. We may have another session in August about using it, so you learn how to get the most value from your telephone.

Transport for Meeting:
Today’s transport has been provided by U3A. Thank you for your service.

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 2:55 p.m.

Afternoon tea was served and raffles drawn. Thanks to all who contributed to the many raffle prizes.

Entertainment: Eva McComb with her exquisite all-wood, 11-string lute. After she performed, she took the lute around to every member, letting them feel it and hold it.