22 Nov 2016

Man criticised over disability launches political party

11:31 am on 22 November 2016
Joshua Perry said he would not be intimidated by Mr Vandervis' comments.

Joshua Perry has launched Enabling NZ Photo: Supplied: Dunedin City Council

A Dunedin man who caused a stir when he ran for city council is starting a political party that aims to improve funding for people with disabilities.

Joshua Perry, who has cerebral palsy, was told by a fellow council candidate before the recent local body elections that he was brave for standing, because people would find it difficult to understand him.

Dunedin's highest-polling councillor, and recent mayoral candidate, Lee Vandervis, told RNZ before the election that because Mr Perry was wheelchair-bound, and needed help holding a microphone, he would be unable to do the job of a councillor.

Mr Perry responded by issuing a wheelchair race challenge to all mayoral candidates, through the Dunedin CBD, although Mr Vandervis did not participate.

In the October elections, Mr Perry missed out on a council seat.

Today he announced he was launching a new party, Enabling NZ.

He would campaign for more individualised disability funding, improved housing, transport and education systems, as well as stronger business and foreign relations.

Although Mr Perry's new party did not currently have any other members, he welcomed any support, he said.

"I'm hoping for a real change, and for this party to provide a third main option for government alongside Labour-Greens and National."

He would be willing to work with any party that won next year's general election, he said.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs