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Blind People Want To Be Kept Posted On Promise

Media Release From The Association Of Blind Citizens Of New Zealand

Blind People Want To Be Kept Posted On Pre-Election Promise

Time is running out for the Government to keep its promise to return the postal concession for the blind to the law books.

President of the Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand, Jonathan Mosen, says that prior to the election, the then Labour and Alliance opposition parties promised to return the concession to the legal status it had for most of the last century up until 1987. Progressively, the concession became increasingly perceived by New Zealand Post as a sponsorship of the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind, rather than an equalisation scheme available to numerous blindness organisations. New Zealand Post chose to withdraw what they called their "sponsorship" in 1998, but public pressure forced an extension of that arrangement.

"The existing arrangement expires next year, and already, we're worrying about how we will receive talking books, magazines, and other important items from a range of sources," Jonathan Mosen says.

Similar arrangements, which exist as an acknowledgement of the information deprivation faced by blind people and the bulkiness of Braille, exist in many countries including the United States, Britain, Canada, Sweden, and Australia.

"The then opposition completely understood the lifeline that this concession is for many blind people, the majority of whom are elderly. At this stage we're just worried that now they're in Government, they may have forgotten us,"

The Association is calling on the Minister of State Owned Enterprises to commit to a time-frame for returning the concession to legislation.


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