Release: Labour honours memory of Sir Robert Martin

The Labour Party is saddened to learn of the death of Sir Robert Martin, a globally renowned disability advocate who led the way for disability rights both in New Zealand and internationally.

“Sir Robert Martin spent his life advocating for the rights of disabled people and championed deinstitutionalisation,” Disability Issues spokesperson Priyanca Radhakrishnan said.

“He fought staunchly for disabled people and helped progress the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, becoming the committee’s first elected member with an intellectual disability.

“This a huge loss to the disability community both domestically and internationally and we send our aroha to his loved ones,” Priyanca Radhakrishnan said.

“I remember Sir Robert fondly during my time as Minister. He was an excellent ambassador for New Zealand on the world stage and inspired international leaders to enact change for disabled people,” Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni said.

“He was a big supporter for the establishment of Whaikaha, a standalone Ministry that served disabled people, and was globally recognised for his advocacy.

“I experienced the mana that Sir Robert brought to the world stage firsthand. I simply mentioned his name during a speech at the UN general assembly, and the room broke out in applause.

“His legacy of advocacy and hard-fought gains for the disability community will continue to live on long into the future. Arohanui to his whānau, friends and the many disabled people and organisations he worked with and for,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

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