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Gordon Welcomes Human Rights Commission Finding

Gordon Welcomes Human Rights Commission Finding And Government Response.

15 April 2002

The Alliance spokesperson on Disability Issues, Liz Gordon, is welcoming news that the Government is looking at setting up a voice/text relay service in order that hearing-impaired and speech impaired New Zealanders can at last have real access to telecommunications services.

“Such a relay service has been a key demand of the Deaf community for a number of years.

“The lack of access to a telephone can create real barriers for those people who are deaf. Without a relay service many in the Deaf community have to depend on hearing people in order to call an ambulance, order a pizza, answer a classified ad or make an appointment with their doctor.

“If a voice/text service becomes a reality, it will be great to know that people who are deaf will soon be able to access an adequate level of telecommunications services.

”I would especially like to congratulate the Minister for Disability Issues, Ruth Dyson, for her continued advocacy for such a service.

“With many marketing dollars being spent by telecommunications companies encouraging New Zealanders to ‘keep in touch’ it must be far from the case that telephones are obsolete. Advice from the Human Rights Commission now confirms that failure to provide a voice/text relay service is a case of discrimination under the Human Rights Act.”

Liz Gordon said that she strongly supported a relay service as it fits in with Alliance goals of ensuring that people with disabilities are able to participate fully in their communities.

A voice/text relay service is a good example of how the barriers facing those with disabilities can be broken down with progressive policies. It will be a great day for the Deaf community in New Zealand when such a service becomes a reality,” Liz Gordon said.

Ends

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