The Beehive building

Framework to accelerate progress towards accessibility in Aotearoa New Zealand: Appendices

Appendix 1: Accelerating accessibility policy framework: guiding principles

The following key principles have guided thinking on the components and criteria for a successful framework:

  1. Progressive realisation – a staged approach to development and implementation is more likely to build stakeholder buy-in, distribute costs, develop knowledge, and achieve a system that organisations can implement and comply with. It can also build on what already exists, such as the Accessibility Charter.
  2. Flexibility and future proofing – so that a new system can adapt to future change, enable innovation, and allow regulated parties to meet their obligations over time.
  3. Universality – applicable to both public and private sector, so consistent outcomes are achieved, and disabled people and others gain access to all areas of society over time.
  4. Inclusiveness and capacity-building – involvement of disabled people in all aspects of decision making, so the system is robust and follows best practice requirements.
  5. Transparency, consistency and equity – so there are predictable and consistent outcomes for regulated parties, regardless of location, over time. This includes consistency with Treaty of Waitangi principles. I expect that improvements in accessibility will also support self-determination for Māori disabled (tāngata whaikaha).
  6. Ease of use – a new system needs to be user friendly: easy to navigate and understand. It should enable and encourage good accessibility behaviour.

Appendix 2: Provisions of the new legislative framework to accelerate accessibility

  1. A policy work programme to accelerate accessibility, including provisions that enable the creation of Ministerial-appointed advisory councils to consider existing settings, and institutional arrangements to support a new accessibility system (see Appendix 3).
    Advisory councils would make recommendations on accelerating accessibility within domains of accessibility (e.g. transport or the built environment). Recommendations could be either to develop new standards within domains, or review existing laws. These groups would have representation from disabled people (including disabled young people); Māori; industry; and other subject matter experts. The Better Rules-Better Outcomes sprint approach [18] could be used to test the development of proposals, through the pilot of a small subject area within a domain e.g. standards for accessible buses within a transport domain
  2. Standard development within domains of accessibility - my preferred approach is to specify a few domains in legislation at the outset (in line with CRPD domains [19]), with flexibility to designate and prioritise further domains as progress is made. A progressive approach to the development of standards is essential to a workable accessibility framework.
    Further work is needed to determine the most appropriate approach to setting and implementing standards, however, international evidence suggests that setting standards within domains, using a flexible approach, has the advantages of:
    1. setting minimum requirements for accessibility that must be met
    2. giving tangible effect to an accessibility system, so organisations and individuals are clear on their obligations and what they can expect
    3. supporting system-wide change
    4. avoiding domains (and associated standards) being "fixed", so standards can evolve
    5. enabling obligated parties to adopt efficient or innovative ways of meeting requirements [20]
  3. Creation of regulatory systems for areas of accessibility where none exist, including compliance and enforcement measures, e.g. website standards
  4. Reporting and monitoring, to measure progress of the system and identify where change is needed
  5. Compliance and enforcement, to ensure compliance with the legislation.

The legislative framework will sit alongside awareness raising, education and training: i.e. providing consistent accessibility training, education and advice across accessibility areas, so individuals and organisations are aware of their rights and responsibilities, and have the tools and knowledge to implement accessibility measures and meet any obligations.

Appendix 3: Institutional and administrative arrangements under a new legislative framework for accessibility

The range of functions and powers that will be required under a new system are:

  1. coordination and leadership across the system at national and local levels to drive change and consistency in the accessibility system
  2. provision of consistent information, education, training and advice for individuals and organisations, to help them understand their rights and obligations and provide tangible and practical ways to achieve accessibility measures
  3. standard development and setting – either the review of existing or creation of new standards
  4. reporting and monitoring to measure progress toward accessibility and how well the overall system is working
  5. compliance and enforcement mechanisms (including appropriate complaints mechanisms) to ensure compliance with the legislation and standards.

Further work on institutional arrangements will include:

  1. how each of the functions and powers will operate, and components of these, e.g. what the reporting vehicles should be and how often they should report; governance and decision making powers; compliance and enforcement powers
  2. consultation to gauge the level of interest and capacity of existing agencies to carry out accessibility functions
  3. understanding the implications of extending the mandate of existing agencies, or the transfer of functions to a new entity (or entities)
  4. gaps in capability and the nature and scale of resources required to carry out the functions and powers
  5. legislative implications e.g. where functions and powers need to sit to be given effect to (e.g. primary or secondary legislation, Cabinet mandated)
  6. costs and financial implications
  7. interim and transition arrangements.


  1. This approach involves using a multidisciplinary team working together to develop policies and rules. The team would contain experts in policy, legal, business rules, drafting and service design. It can be carried out within baselines. ^
  2. CRPD domains of accessibility cover: the physical environment, transportation; information and communications; public services and facilities. ^
  3. Evidence in Australia suggests that domains such as transport and the built environment lend themselves well to prescription and measurements, whereas other areas such as employment and education require a more procedural and outcomes-based approach. ^
The Beehive building
Print this page.