Can’t read fine print
ALL BILL PIKE wants is the chance to have his say.
The Mt Albert resident is partially blind and relies on his guide dog Noble to get around.
While reading is a struggle, Mr Pike still actively keeps up with Auckland City Council meetings and decisions.
So he was upset to discover there were no large text copies of the draft annual plan available to him at a council presentation last month.
Large text copies are only available on prior request.
Mr Pike says he feels excluded by the decision.
“You try to take an interest and these things impede you,” he says.
“I feel put down by this and I just get so frustrated.”
Mr Pike says he has always been able to get a large text copy of the draft annual plan summary at meetings in previous years.
But when he attended a community board and public presentation of the plan last month, he was told there were none available.
He says it is very difficult for him to cope with reading small text.
“I’ve got some sight but I struggle to see even with a six times magnifier,” he says.
“I fear there might have been budget cuts and I want to have my say.”
Eden Albert councillor Cathy Casey attended the meeting with Mr Pike and was upset to see there were no large text copies available.
She says the council isnot catering for elderly and vision-impaired people as well as it should be.
“We have to provide for our stakeholders and that includes culture, ethnicity, age and disability,” she says.
“Bill got dressed down and completely written off by them.”
Dr Casey says she was told by the council to give Mr Pike a CD ROM to play at his local library explaining the draft annual plan.
She says that’s not good enough.
“This man relies on a guide dog and it is not easy for him to get to his local library at all,” she says.
“To say I was not happy is an understatement.”
Dr Casey says the council used to provide large text copies of the draft annual plan until last year but stopped this year because there was not a large uptake.
“It’s just this line by line accounting, it’s not like they need to produce 200 of them.
“We need to give anyone who has impaired sight the chance to read it,” Dr Casey says.
Council finance general manager Andrew McKenzie says copies of the large text draft annual plan summary have always been provided on request.
The council did not respond to further questions from the Auckland City Harbour News.
Submissions for the draft annual plan close on May 20. For more information visit www.aucklandcity. govt.nz or phone 379-2020 to get a large text copy.
Shut out: Mt Albert resident Bill Pike is partially blind and was upset to find there were no large text copies at a council presentation of the draft annual plan last month.