Disabled 'have right to choose'
It is fundamental that disabled people be able to choose where they live, says the disability rights commissioner.
Paul Gibson's comments come after a Nelson Mail story last week on developers shutting out homes for disabled residents from subdivisions.
"The law, and people's sense of what's fair, both say that people with disabilities should not have to put up with discrimination.
"If disabled people cannot choose where they might want to live, then this, on the face of it, is unlawful discrimination."
Nelson Marlborough District Health Board voted last week to send a letter on the issue to the Human Rights Commission.
The board had sought to build a new six-bed home in Stoke or Richmond. However, at three preferred subdivisions either the property developers refused to sell or had covenants on sections stopping the land being used for institutional residential purposes.
A statement from the HRC said it was unable to comment about the specifics,but was likely to accept a complaint on the issue and offer to attempt to resolve it.
However, there was a general issue that has seen restrictive covenants used to prevent the provision of affordable housing and social housing, it said.
Section 53 of the Human Rights Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone accessing land or accommodation because of their disability or employment status, but covenants could be phrased in ways which have that effect without directly discriminating.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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