Cyclist to champion disability rights

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Paula Tesoriero

World record-breaking Paralympian cyclist Paula Tesoriero is to be New Zealand’s new Disability Rights Commissioner.

Tesoriero, who won gold and broke the women’s 500 metre record at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, is also a lawyer.

She is currently a member of the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation and a member of the Artificial Limb Board.

Paula Tesoriero receives the Order of Merit

The Disability Rights Commissioner is a special officer of the Human Rights Commission, created in 2011.

Tesoriero will take over from the current commissioner, Paul Gibson, at the end of July.

She is currently works for the Statistics Department, and has been the general manager of the Higher Courts with the Ministry of Justice, as well as holding a range of other roles.



Home is cold and damp for many of our disabled, study shows

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IF YOU’RE disabled, you’re more likely to live in a house that’s cold and damp, new research shows.

And if you’re Maori, Pacific or Asian and disabled, the chances of you living in substandard housing are even higher.

Research published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal uses the New Zealand Government’s 2013 Disability census to examine the housing situation of people with disabilities.

It finds that 16 per cent of the able-bodied population live in houses that are difficult to keep warm, compared to 25 per cent of the disabled population.

The situation is worse for disabled Maori, Pasefika and Asian New Zealanders, with 36 per cent, 37 per cent and 33 per cent respectively living in inadequate housing, compared to 22 per cent of disabled Europeans.

The researchers, Jacqueline McIntosh and Adele Leah from Victoria University in Wellington, say the study has implications for the way in which housing is provided for the country’s ageing population.

“The population is ageing and the incidence of persons with a disability in New Zealand is increasing,” they say in the report.

“This study indicates that large numbers of the disabled population in New Zealand are living in the most deprived areas, in rental housing that is damp and difficult to keep warm. It would appear that the poorest and most vulnerable are living in the worst conditions.”

They say that research into the impact of inadequate housing on health is needed urgently.

The study defines disability as an impairment which has a long-term (six months or longer) limiting effect on a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities.

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