On Tuesday 15 February, former Otumoetai College student Rachel Dunn and I presented the petition of Claire Dale to the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Michael Wood, in parliament in Wellington. The petition requests the enhancement of enforcement and education of mobility parking spaces on all public-use property. Consequently, the aim is to enhance the livelihoods of the one-quarter of New Zealanders with disabilities and desist the misuse of mobility parking spaces. Rachel and I had volunteered to help Claire via a contact Claire had made at Otumoetai College, as Claire saw this as an opportunity to educate and utilise our youthful perspectives. Personally, having done part-time work in a retirement village and experiencing first-hand the boundless disability issues affecting residents, I felt compelled to volunteer.
Initially, propagating the petition was decidedly difficult and at times felt onerous. Compounding this, the Delta variant lockdown and my unsurprisingly limited experience resulted in various tentative efforts. Notwithstanding, this experience has taught me to persevere - continually learning to improve on past errors - and not waver from the petition’s overall cause.
Subsequently, with endorsement from Kurt Cordice (Global Ambassadors Facilitator), I pitched the petition to the Global Ambassadors - soliciting their support. The ambassadors concurred with the cause, as they felt the petition aligned with the very values Global Ambassadors espouses: to engender a positive impact within both our local and global communities. Such support has yielded promising results, as the ambassadors had collected approximately 100 paper and online petition signatures. More importantly, however, Global Ambassadors offered their very own letter of support of the petition to the Minister of Transportation - signed by Kurt on behalf of the letter’s listed ambassadors.
The presentation of the petition on 15 February was full of zeal from attendees for the petition’s cause. Representatives from almost all major political parties, CCS Disability Action, and Wellingtonians of the disabled community had all attended in support and approbation. Our unified effort had culminated at this moment. Rachel and I presented the petition to the Minister, corroborated by letters of support from political parties, NGOs, and of course Global Ambassadors. We then moved to a discussion where the Minister heeded the voices of those with disabilities present to understand their perspective. The Minister appeared very much in support. The petition will now go through parliament’s select committees with a maximum of 2 months to make a decision.
I have relished this opportunity, and I offer my profound thanks to Claire, Rachel, Kurt and Global Ambassadors, and all others involved in making this a reality. Let us now all look forward to the fruits of the petition!