Deaf voters feel 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 (DANZ) has to organise its own event so deaf voters can participate.
DANZ’s meet the candidate event will be held at the Auckland Deaf Society in Balmoral on July 22, and live steamed on Facebook.
It will be attended by six political parties.
But DANZ has to find $600 to pay two NZSL translators for the event.
DANZ chairperson Kim Robinson, a former Massey and Te Atatu Peninsula resident, 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.
The Electoral Commission said it doesn’t provide information about candidates, parties or policies in any format.
‘‘It is up to the parties and candidates to provide that information to voters,’’ a commission spokesperson said.