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Blind People Want Change From Their Banks

Media Release From The Association Of Blind Citizens Of New Zealand

Blind New Zealanders say banks can and should do more to make banking services accessible to people with no or low vision.

President of the Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand, Jonathan Mosen says New Zealand is lagging behind a number of countries in taking steps to ensure that banking services are accessible to all.

"Many people think New Zealand's doing a great job because they see Braille on the keys of a number of ATM machines. What people don't often stop and think about, is how does a blind person know what's on the screen. Without that information, the Braille is next to useless," says Jonathan Mosen.

"Technologies such as talking ATM'S are now widely in use overseas, giving blind customers independent and reliable access to banking transactions. And that's just one example. Quality telephone and Internet banking facilities, chequebooks and other banking material in clear legible print, and EFTPOS machines with buttons that can easily be felt, all allow us to exercise our financial responsibilities in a dignified, safe and private manner," Mr Mosen continued.

The Association of Blind Citizens is calling on the Bankers' Association to work with the blind community on drafting a set of accessibility standards with which all banks must comply.

"In terms of New Zealand's Human Rights Act, services mustn't discriminate if it is reasonable for the service provider to take steps to alleviate that discrimination. We are firmly of the view that technology has now reached the point where the provision of truly accessible banking services would not impose unreasonable costs on the banking industry, and therefore want to work with banks to bring about the necessary changes," Jonathan Mosen concluded.


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