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Gordon Strongly Supports New Voice/Text Service

2 May 2002
Gordon Strongly Supports New Voice/Text Service For Hearing And Speech Impaired

The Alliance spokesperson on Disability Issues, Liz Gordon, is welcoming news that the Labour-Alliance Government is setting up a voice/text relay service to improve access to telecommunications services for hearing-impaired and speech impaired New Zealanders.

"At last! 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.

"With the voice/text service, 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," said Dr Gordon.

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. This is a great day for the Deaf community in New Zealand," Dr Gordon said.

Ends

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