The Green Party is calling on all political parties to commit to stronger representation for disabled people at every level of politics.
It follows the launch today of We Want More, a campaign to increase the representation of disabled communities.
“Having been through an election and life as an MP with multiple sclerosis, I know first-hand how difficult it can be for others within our diverse disabilities communities to feel included and able to access support to go through that process,” says the Green Party’s electoral reform spokesperson, Golriz Ghahraman.
“To achieve fair representation of all communities, disabled voices need to be heard at all levels of political life. Change is needed across the political spectrum, from more accessible elections through to supporting disabled people to get out on the campaign trail, to stronger representation in Parliament and local government, to supporting more us into leadership roles within parties.
“If Parliament was truly reflective of the people it represents, at least one fifth of MPs would be disabled. However, only four MPs elected in Aotearoa history have publicly identified as disabled - and three of these have been, or are, Green. Disabled people have been forced into the shadows of politics for too long and it is time for change.
“The fight for better representation of disabled people is about fairness – but it is also about what sort of society we want. Disabled people’s perspectives and solutions are vital for better solutions in every policy area, from housing, to transport, to healthcare, we need disabilities representation at the decision making table.
“The Green Party will continue to do all it can to uphold disability rights and strive for full accessibility and inclusion,” says Golriz Ghahraman.
The Green Party’s spokesperson for disabled people, Jan Logie added:
“The Green Party has a long history of supporting disabled people to access and participate in politics.
“For nearly 20 years, the Inclusive Greens - a network of party members, led by and for everyone within the Green Party who self-identifies as disabled or Deaf - has fought for full accessibility and inclusion. Their leadership led to a change in party rules earlier this year that will ensure disabled people are better represented in our final list ranking for general elections.
“It was a Green Party member’s bill - first drafted by Mojo Mathers, and adopted by Chlöe Swarbrick - that created the Election Access Fund Bill to cover disability-related costs of standing in a general election.
“Every other political party is a long way behind on the journey to better representation, which even the Greens are still on. Now is the perfect time for us all to commit to making our parties and our politics more accessible and more representative,” says Jan Logie.