Deaf vot­ers feel left out

East and Bays Courier - - OUT & ABOUT - TORIKA TOKALAU-CHANDRA

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.

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