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New Zealand bill to stop bias of those with service animals up for debate

Young blind man with stick and guide dog walking

A Member’s bill to end discrimination of people who use service animals in Aotearoa is up for parliamentary debate.

The Bill was inherited by Ricardo Menéndez March from former Green Party MP and Disability spokesperson Mojo Mathers.

The Human Rights (Disability Assist Dogs Non-Discrimination) Amendment Bill explicitly states that a person cannot be a denied a service – such as a home or transport – simply because they have a disability assist dog.

“I am so proud to inherit this bill from Mojo Mathers and to continue her legacy work for a more inclusive Aotearoa. This is the second bill of hers that has been pulled after her time in Parliament – it is clear she is our good luck charm.

“Disability assist dogs play such an important and diverse role in New Zealand. They can alert deaf people to fire alarms, they can pre-empt and warn against seizures, and they can assist people with PTSD or Alzheimer’s.

“Disability assist dogs fill so many roles and come in many shapes and sizes. They are here to help us and should not be used as an excuse for a disabled person not to get a home or board a bus.

“No one in this country should have their rental application turned down purely because they have an assist dog that makes their life easier and more fulfilling.

“We have long way to go to ensure fully inclusive, accessible Aotearoa, where people who have disabilities can live free from discrimination.

“The law should unequivocally support New Zealanders living with disability – I hope to receive full support for this Bill across the Parliament as it makes its way into law.”

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