Digital accessibility can mean the difference between gaining access to groceries during the Covid-19 lockdown or not.

Blind Low Vision NZ is proud to be one of 20 organisations supporting the five point plan to improve digital accessibility introduced by InternetNZ.

The plan aims to assist the Government by setting out the priority areas where Government can best direct its efforts and investments. It identifies five areas of consideration:

  1. Affordable connectivity.
  2. Getting devices to people who can’t afford them.
  3. Wrap around support for the newly connected.
  4. Digital skills for displaced workers and our small businesses.
  5. Longer term Internet resilience.

Our Policy and Advocacy team have been working to influence the final plan on behalf of people with disabilities.

“Blind Low Vison NZ is talking with InternetNZ about taking a two-pronged approach to improve the accessibility of websites and mobile apps,” says General Manager of Policy and Advocacy Dianne Rodgers.

Blind Low Vision NZ is also a member of the Access Alliance striving for access legislation to be introduced in New Zealand.

“Best practice digital accessibility standards and guidance are currently either optional, or not implemented across Government, business and other organisations. Just over a quarter of New Zealand’s population has a disability or some form of access need. The government needs to pass accessibility legislation.”

Dianne says this will make digital accessibility standards mandatory making it much easier for people with disabilities, or those with an access need, to do the things they need and want to do in life.

“Funding for a series of short courses nationwide are needed to teach businesses how to improve their digital accessibility. Support is also needed to grow local New Zealand owned and operated services to help local businesses make their websites more accessible for people who have access needs, such as using assistive technology.”

Go to InternetNZ’s website to read the plan in full.