Deaf people feeling left out
The Deaf community is feeling left out of the electioneering process.
Often left without a New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) translator at political party events, Deaf Action New Zealand had to organise its own event so Deaf voters in Auckland could participate.
Deaf Action had to find $600 to pay two NZSL translators for their meet the candidate event on July 22 in Balmoral.
Deaf Action chairperson Kim Robinson said there weren’t many options for the Deaf and hard of hearing community to access NZSL election information.
Since 2007, Robinson and his team have been pushing for government to set up an accessible election fund for the Deaf community and disability groups.
‘‘Any voter or candidate shouldn’t be restricted by communication barriers that are created by financial means,’’ Robinson said.
Robinson said most electioneering events did not have interpreters and it was ‘‘very hard’’ for the Deaf community to be fully informed before they voted.
‘‘Captioned content and NZSL accessible content can make a huge vote difference.’’
An Electoral Commission spokesperson said while it published party lists and candidate names it did not provide information about candidates, parties or policies in any format.