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Green Party launches policy to require 100% captioning of TV

14 August 2014

Green Party launches policy to require 100% captioning of TV

The Green Party today announced that building a more accessible and inclusive society for disabled people will be a social priority for this election.

The Green Party will:
1. Amend the Broadcasting Act and Telecommunications Act to require targets for phasing in 100 percent captioning for Television New Zealand by 2017 (TV1 and TV2) and TV3 by 2020. Other broadcasters will have targets and timeframes set on a case by case basis. On demand TV will also be required to provide captions.
2. Improve employment outcomes for disabled people by increasing Job Support and Mainstream funding by $6.8 million and require the public sector to provide leadership in employing people with disabilities.
3. Support independence for disabled people by increasing access to home ownership and increasing funding for the Total Mobility scheme.

“We know that there are still significant barriers for disabled people to fully participate in our society, including access to work and popular culture,” said Green Party disability spokesperson Mojo Mathers.

“As New Zealand’s first deaf MP, I am proud to have led on disability issues in this Parliament, including my election being the trigger for Parliament TV to be captioned from next term.

“But I know that deaf and hearing impaired New Zealanders want to watch more than Parliament TV, which is why we are pushing for 100% captioning across all television.

“One in four New Zealanders have a disability and at least 380,000 have a hearing impairment or are deaf, so it is critical that we build a society that supports full inclusion of all New Zealanders.

“Internationally, New Zealand lags behind on captioning. On average only 25 percent of New Zealand TV is captioned compared to 85 percent in Australia and 99 percent in the United Kingdom and United States of America. No on demand TV is captioned in New Zealand

“Access to information, news and culture is vital to participation and for a sense of belonging.

“Captioning also benefits the wider community, including for those whom English is a second language, with 80 percent of those who use captioning not being hard of hearing or deaf.

“Other countries have legislation on captioning which is how they have reached such high levels of captioning.

“We need legislation here to ensure New Zealand moves towards 100 percent captioning and catch up with other countries like us.

“Disabled people are under-represented in the workforce with only 59 percent in the work force compared to 76 percent of non-disabled people.

“Increasing funding and extending the criteria for Job Support and Mainstream will help more disabled people get into work and ensure they are able to contribute their skills and abilities to society.

“The Green Party in government will also ensure that the state sector steps up to provide pathways to employment of disabled people.

“In government we will work with the State Services Commission, in conjunction with the Office for Disability Issues and Disabled Person's Organisations, to identify pathways to employment and retention for disabled people

“A secure stable home is essential for many disabled people, yet they have among the lowest rates of home ownership. We will open up access to our Progressive Home Ownership package to disabled people to help them into a home of their own.

“We will also increase funding to the Total Mobility scheme which provides subsides for taxis for disabled people and ensure that the scheme is nationally consistent. “.

“These measures are just the first steps towards building an environment where everyone is included,” said Ms Mathers.

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