Many public buildings are still being built without proper access for those with disabilities, a disability advocate says.
The newly-created Access Alliance - comprised of disability service providers and advocates - said there were too many obstacles for the 1.1 million New Zealanders with physical and mental disabilities.
Alliance spokesperson Vivian Naylor gave the example of the Spark building on central Auckland's Victoria Street West.
It had included an "accessible entrance", but there was no stop-off point for cars, nor for specialised disability vehicles, and the entrance was on an incline, she said.
Those with limited mobility were faced with sweeping staircases at the primary entrance, and the only routes to other levels required opening five heavy doors.
Ms Naylor, who specialised in barrier free design, said building features like this were common, despite simple solutions.
"It would have been so easy to have a nice glass lift here, to have brought us down from this level down to that one that links up with the entry that was deemed the accessible one."
It would have blended in with the architecture, but the developer did not want to spend the money on it, she said.
CCS Disability Action has joined up with seven organisations to form the new Access Alliance advocacy group, which is pushing for new laws to make buildings easier to use.
The proposed legislation would enforce minimum standards of accessibility.
Blind Foundation access adviser Chris Orr, who is blind himself, said the current standards were not compulsory, but it would be good for business if they were.
"The only way it will work is if people have to do it, because they find every excuse not to do it - it could be a heritage building, it could be too expensive, 'Blind people don't come here', 'People in wheelchairs don't come here'. The reason is, they can't use the building, but if we could use it then we could go."
Statistics New Zealand figures show that three-quarters of working-age disabled people who were unemployed would like to work.
But not all employers were accommodating, Disabled Persons Assembly NZ spokesperson Esther Woodbury said.
"For some people who just want to apply for a job they are qualified for, or have the experience for, they can't even necessarily apply for it online because the application process is inaccessible.
"Some people might go to a job interview and find that they actually can't get into the building or the place they'll be working doesn't have an accessible bathroom."
One in four New Zealanders has a disability and nearly every one will be temporarily disabled during their life, Be Accessible chair Minnie Baragwanath said.
"The education and bringing society with you is absolutely critical and I really believe that."
"I think if we can bring people's hearts and minds then we'll be onto a real winner, it will have an enormous positive impact for the future of New Zealand's society and economy because great access benefits everyone.
The Alliance will meet with political parties and businesses in the lead up to the general election to discuss their recommendations.