Public Consultation on DZ 8134: Health and Disability Services Standard

Submitted: Thursday, January 30, 2020
Categories: General Blindness and disability, Submissions

Our submission to Standards New Zealand responds to the Draft Amended Health and Disability Services Standard (Draft Standard), bringing a blindness lens / perspective.

International Day of Disabled Persons

Submitted: Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Categories: General Blindness and disability, News and Events

It’s International Day of Disabled Persons, and now more than ever, the voices of our disabled community must be heard!That’s why we are proud to support the DPO Coalition in launching a video series today, amplifying the voices and experiences of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.Play the first episode below for Prudence and Jonathan’s important stories about the challenges of getting kai during Alert Levels 3 & 4, and what we can do to make sure that food and shopping are accessible for our whole team of 5 million!Please share this video to make sure our stories are heard this #DisabledPersonsDay

This video contains the following accessibility features: NZSL, Captions in English & te reo Māori; Audio Description.The DPO Coalition acknowledges the contribution of all disability sector organisations to make sure that the wellbeing of, informational needs, and support for disabled people was monitored and improved upon throughout the impact of COVID-19.


Blind Citizens NZ’s Position on Cyclists on Footpaths

Submitted: Monday, May 1, 2017
Categories: Building and environment, General Blindness and disability, General blindness and disability

The 2016 Annual General Meeting sought to have Blind Citizens NZ clarify its position regarding cyclists and other wheeled or motorised vehicles that are regularly encountered on our footpaths. Currently, it is legal for vehicles below a certain wheel size, even with low-powered motors, and also motorised mobility vehicles to be used on footpaths.

Concern had arisen due to a petition having been presented to Parliament on which a committee was about to hear submissions. The petition had recommended a change to the road rules to allow children under 14, seniors over the age of 65 and people with mental and physical disabilities to cycle on the footpath.

Blind Citizens NZ’s position is quite clear. It is that no one, even young children, should be able to cycle on footpaths except where there is a designated cycle lane. Apart from our right to feel safe on the footpath, we can also argue that the benefits of being able to cycle there can often be overrated and even misleading. Some points to note are:

1.​Footpaths should be a safe place for people who prefer to walk or have no alternative other than to do so. If footpaths were to become an unsafe environment, even simply through fear of an incident, this would affect not only the blind and vision-impaired, but also the elderly, pram-pushers, wheelchair users, the physically disabled, and those with hearing loss.

2.​Moving a group of cyclists from the road to the footpath would just replace one set of vulnerable road users while at the same time creating another set of vulnerable pedestrians. If it is unsafe to cycle on the roads, why should it be made less safe for those on the footpath?

3.​Mobility scooter users are warned against travelling faster than surrounding pedestrians, but cyclists can’t travel at walking speed. Furthermore, any age and speed limits that may be imposed would be impossible to enforce, or even to monitor.

4.​The very fact that some cyclists may currently be aware that cycling on footpaths is illegal, may cause them to refrain from the practice or at least to take more care than they might if their position was sanctioned under the law.

5.​Most road accidents involving cyclists do not involve motor vehicles. Cyclists injure themselves most often by falling off and hitting things, and there are far more things to hit on footpaths, both moving and stationary.

6.​The very developmental factors that make child cyclists unsafe on roads such as immature motor skills, immature vision and balance, difficulty judging speed and distance; also make them unsafe on footpaths. These factors may not only make them a danger to themselves, but even more so to those they collide with.

7.​Because there is less time to react, vehicles exiting driveways are even more of a hazard to cyclists than they are to pedestrians. Then there is the reality that, whether they’re on the road or on the footpath, cyclists still have to cross intersections, and that’s where most collisions between cyclists and motor vehicles occur.

8.​Many footpaths in suburban areas in New Zealand are narrow and often not well maintained. Even if cyclists acknowledge that pedestrians do have the right of way, such avoidance manoeuvers may not always be successful, placing both parties at risk of injury.

Adopted April 2017

Taking charge of our money – Banknote gauges facilitate independence and confidence for blind and vision impaired people

Submitted: Sunday, October 30, 2016
Categories: General Blindness and disability, News and Events

Blind Citizens NZ has worked alongside the Reserve Bank of New Zealand for many years, contributing to, and influencing, the design of New Zealand’s currency so that people who are blind or vision impaired, can more easily identify their money.

You can learn more about our work, from our media release at this link: Taking charge our money banknote gauges facilitate and confidence

To find more out, about the banknote gauge, and its use, check the short video put together by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand:

Or, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s media release at:…

Check out Blind Citizens NZ Annual General Meeting and Conference

Submitted: Thursday, October 6, 2016
Categories: General Blindness and disability, News and Events

Our three-day event commences 2pm Friday 7 October, and goes through to approximately 2pm Sunday 9 October.

Our theme for this year is “My Life, My Choice – Self Determination Starts with Us”. It is a reminder that to us the term self-determination means taking charge of our own lives as disabled people, speaking for ourselves individually and collectively.

Business sessions comprising our annual general meeting are held over Friday and Sunday. During the open day on Saturday, there will be a full presentation from Judge Boshier. He is relatively new in his position as Chief Ombudsman, but he is most well-known for his previous role as head of the Family Court. The Office of the Ombudsman has been taking a little more interest lately in disability issues, so with his legal background, it will be interesting to hear what Judge Boshier has to say about the issues facing disabled people in New Zealand.

We will also have presentations on what the Government is doing in the areas of accessible public buildings and accessible information. These directly relate to two actions in the Government’s disability action plan and of course they are very relevant to blind and vision impaired people. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussions.

We will be exploring what it means to be a Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) and how we can best use our limited resources to be a more effective voice that is driven directly by disabled people at street level. To get to grips with this issue, we will have short presentations from people from a range of disability organisations, including DPOs. We will have presenters from our own organization Blind Citizens NZ, Kapo Maori Aotearoa, Deaf Aotearoa, the Blind Foundation, CCS Disability Action, and people closely involved with the Enabling Good Lives Leadership Project. This will be followed by a panel discussion in which presenters will respond to questions and comments from people in the audience.

We expect this will be an interesting and perhaps provocative discussion at times, but we think it is critically important at this time.

If you can’t be with us in person, our entire proceedings will be streamed courtesy of Jonathan Mosen and Mushroom FM Extra. You can find the links to listen at the following site

You can also check out our programme to see what is happening and when.

Submission – More Effective Social Services Issues Paper

Submitted: Saturday, May 9, 2015
Categories: General Blindness and disability, Submissions

Have a read of Blind Citizens NZ’s December 2014 response to the Productivity Commission’s More Effective Social Services Issues’ Paper…

Board Meeting Summary-March 2015

Submitted: Saturday, March 7, 2015
Categories: Board, General Blindness and disability

For an overview of some of the more significant outcomes of the Board’s March 2015 meeting, check out the attached meeting summary…


Disabled need their own ministry

Submitted: Saturday, April 7, 2001
Categories: General Blindness and disability, Media releases

Media release calling on the Government to establish a ministry to promote and advocate for people with disabilities in the development of public policy.


Submission to “Making a World of Difference” – the New Zealand Disability Strategy Discussion Document

Submitted: Saturday, September 30, 2000
Categories: General Blindness and disability, General blindness and disability, Submissions