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.

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