This report was commissioned by the Blind Foundation to analyse the economic impact of improved access to employment for people with disabilities (PWD) in New Zealand. Two scenarios were considered:

  • Scenario 1 models the impact of increasing employment among PWD to show what might happen if the unemployment rate of PWD was equal to the national unemployment rate.
  • Scenario 2 models the impact of an increase in productivity through improved educational outcomes for people with disabilities, which will enable them to increase their income levels.

We did not consider the impact of increasing labour force participation for PWD that are not participating in the labour force. Improvements in accessibility may encourage greater labour force participation by PWD. The potential benefits of increasing the labour force participation rate are not included in our estimates. We also discuss improvements to accessibility in the context of tourism. The tourism industry has a large and growing market for accessible tourism. Accessibility improvements to the built-environment reduce the barriers to participation in work, leisure and tourism.

Finally, this report discusses the issues and approaches to determining the costs of increasing accessibility.

The report finds:

  • 14,000 more disabled people could get work if the unemployment rate for New Zealand's 1.1m people with disabilities was reduced from its 2013 census rate of 9.2 per cent to the national average of 6.1 per cent. That change alone would boost national output by $1.45b a year.
  • Output could be boosted by a further $862m a year if the average productivity of people with disabilities could be lifted by 2 per cent through raising their educational achievements to the national average.


Publication Details
Geographic Coverage