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Parties Applauded For Captioning Closing Addresses

29th July 2002

Deaf Lobbyist Applauds Political Parties For Captioning Closing Addresses

Deaf Lobbyist Kim Robinson applauds the nine out of ten political parties for captioning their closing addresses. This is a huge improvement on the access to information to allow Deaf and Hearing-impaired voters to have access to information to make an informed decision. The biggest disappointment was NZ First whom made an executive decision not to caption their addresses with the public money allocated to them by the Electoral Commission.

NZ First is supposed to be a party that ‘believes in a country that recognises the right of every New Zealander to equality of opportunity. In many cases, the key handicap to full participation in society by people with disabilities is not the disability itself. Environmental barriers, ill- informed attitudes and inadequate support services all unfairly limit this significant group of New Zealanders from achieving their full potential’ as stated on its website.

If Deaf and Hearing-impaired people could not fairly have access to NZ Firsts addresses, then it goes to show this party has been playing on its policies while setting double standards and mis- informing New Zealanders of its true intentions.

Elections are supposed to be a time where voters can have access and participate in making an informed decision. Hours of live debates made it impossible for programmes to be captioned as this is catered for under the Broadcasting Act. Captioning New Zealand only receives $1.5 million per year to caption around 100 hours per week out of around 1000 hours of public free- to-air time. $15 million per year will be need to fill in this huge gap for over 200,000 Hearing- impaired and Deaf viewers in New Zealand.

Mr Robinson believes it is necessary to take action against NZ First for its discriminatory actions during elections and to define the use of ‘public money’ under the Election Boardcasting Act.

Contact: Kim Robinson

Fax 09 832 61112

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