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National Party Spokesperson for Disability Issues Nicky Wagner has congratulated all those involved in the outstanding Special Olympics 2017 as the games draw to a close in Wellington today.

“The athletes involved have all shown great courage, strength and perseverance and are an inspiration to us all,” Ms Wagner says.

“These games are about competing to the best of your ability but also about fun, friendships and team spirit. They also provide a feeling of belonging to the athletes and volunteers, and ultimately help improve their quality of life.

“With one in four New Zealanders having some form of disability it is important that we support and encourage the families, friends, and communities that are affected by disabilities and ensure that they are included, visible and valued.

“We also celebrate the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3. This day seeks to increase awareness of the benefits of integrating people with disabilities into every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

“We know that when barriers are removed and people with disabilities are able to participate fully in their communities then everyone benefits.

“The theme of this year’s day is ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all’. This theme is a reflection of positive but gradual changes for disabled New Zealanders in accessibility, employment and education and the need to do more.”

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