Accessibility issues need addressing
A Waikato wheelchair user is hopeful more help will be offered to disabled people under the new coalition government.
A Cambridge man, who wanted to be known as Aaron Moore, said his living cost was 340 per cent more than his annual income, and he had tried for years to get extra assistance.
‘‘Under current regulations, the max amount we get doesn’t even cover the rent, food, utilities and medical bills,’’ he said.
His latest wheelchair cushion cost $1500, the backrest covers were more than $200, and replacement bearings were $350.
‘‘Some people don’t have the right hand motions to use a normal set of cutlery, and one set consisting of a knife, fork and spoon cost me $120 plus GST,’’ he said.
He had receipts to back up his purchases, and quotes from several different companies in attempts to get the price down.
Power bills were also higher than able-bodied people, as showers took longer and there was more washing to do.
He also had to hire people for tasks people took for granted, such as cleaning the windows, mowing the lawns, gardening and washing his car.
‘‘Unless there is a change in legislation and the welfare reforms then nothing is going to change,’’ said Moore.
‘‘The issues relating to disability is by far New Zealand’s biggest social issue.
‘‘Although disabled people are supposed to have rights and the same access as non-disabled people, nothing is further from the truth.
‘‘The access is appalling, there is little support for most of what we require and for most even their basic needs are not adequately addressed or covered.’’
He said even when he went to vote in this years general election, the ramp to the Cambridge Town Hall was ‘‘wheelchair accessible with assistance’’.
‘‘If it’s not accessible without assistance then it’s not accessible.’’
Taupo MP Louise Upston, speaking before the Labour-NZ First coalition announcement, said there was support available for people with learning, intellectual or physical disabilities, under incentives put in place by
Life in a wheelchair
the former National Government.
She said the Ministry of Health funds Need Assessment Services Co-ordination services worked with disabled children and adults to identify their needs and match them with appropriate services.
Upston said it was agreed, the system did not work well for everybody and in February a wide transformation of disability support services was announced.
‘‘Budget 2017 invested an extra $205.4 million over four years to maintain and improve disability support services.’’
Upston said the sector was to receive an extra $52.3m in 2017/18, taking its total funding to $1.2 billion for the year.
The general costs for wheelchair users are too high, and legislation needs to change in order to help them, says a Cambridge man.