Youth MPs debate extending accessibility standards to private sector

NZ Government related websites are required to be accessible to people with disabilities – under a proposed Youth Parliament bill these same high standards would soon be applied to the private sector.

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What is this bill about?

The Accessible Web Pages and Apps Bill aims to improve accessibility of digital technology, including the internet, social media and applications (apps) for people with disabilities.

Statistics New Zealand figures indicate that 1.1m people identify themselves as having some degree of disability. The New Zealand Government Web Accessibility Standard ensures that people with disabilities can access services and use government department information.

Read the results of the 2013 Disability Survey by Statistics New Zealand   

What does the bill do?

If passed, the accessibility bill aims to increase accessibility to digital technology by:

  • extending the reach of the existing Web Accessibility Standard by making it apply to the wider public sector, local government and to the non-government sector where reasonable.

  • enabling a compliance, procurement and implementation regime

  • establishing general ‘future-proofing’ powers to make regulations to allow for updating of accessibility standards, or to respond to changing technology.

Who might this bill affect?

  • Public sector organisations

  • Private sector (non-government organisations)

  • Businesses

  • Technology sector

  • People with disabilities

What happens next?

  • If passed, the accessibility bill could see opportunities created to cater to a growing global market for accessible products and services.
  • The bill would contribute to meeting New Zealand’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  • If passed all public and private sector organisations will need to meet the standards by 2021. There will also be potential compliance costs for agencies and businesses to consider.

Youth MPs will debate whether the bill should become law during Youth Parliament on Wednesday 20 July. We’ll keep you up to date with what they say and how they vote.

Is this Government policy?

No.

The mock bill was approved for debate at Youth Parliament by the Youth Parliament 2016 Cabinet Strategy Committee on the recommendation of the Minister for Youth, Hon Nikki Kaye.  Her Cabinet paper is headed “NOT GOVERNMENT POLICY”.