Arts Access Aotearoa researches Companion Card
20 September 2010
Research by Arts Access Aotearoa into ticket pricing for arts and entertainment events throughout New Zealand shows that far too many venues are discriminating against the small proportion of disabled people who require high levels of support to attend such events.
In many cases, a disabled person who needs to be accompanied by a carer or companion is forced to pay twice the price of a non-disabled person. Some venues offer partial discounts for the companion and a few offer the equivalent of a complimentary ticket, but the pricing policies are inconsistent and the discounts not widely promoted.
New Zealand is falling behind other similar countries in the levels of support available to disabled people needing a companion or carer to enjoy arts and entertainment opportunities that non-disabled people take for granted.
In Australia, more than 37,000 disabled people have signed up to a Companion Card scheme that provides free entry to companions at 4200 arts, entertainment, cultural, sport and leisure venues across the country. The card makes it easy for disabled people to demonstrate their need for a companion, and easy for organisations to know who should have companions admitted without charge.
In the United Kingdom and Canada similar initiatives offer complimentary tickets to companions or a free volunteer escort service.
Arts Access Aotearoa is encouraging local authorities throughout New Zealand to take the initiative to ensure disabled people requiring companions to attend art and entertainment events are not discriminated against in their communities.