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Speaker’s Decision for Deaf MP “Shocking”

DPA (New Zealand) Incorporated

For Immediate Release
15 February 2012

Speaker’s Decision for Deaf MP “Shocking”

Yesterday’s decision by Parliament’s speaker Lockwood Smith not to fund electronic note taking services needed by new MP Mojo Mathers is telling and discriminatory says DPA President Beverley Grammer. In fact it directly breaches our international obligations.

“Article 29 of the UN disability convention [Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities-CRPD] upholds the rights of disabled people to stand for elections, hold office and carry out all the functions of government at all levels, using assistive and new technologies. It’s one of the civil and political rights that the government is obliged to put into practice now, not at some future date. So deciding not to providing this essential technology to one of parliament’s MPs, is a not acceptable.”

“We would have expected government to show it’s stated commitment to the CRPD and to the earlier NZ Disability strategy more adequately” says acting CEO Wendi Wicks.

It shows a lack of awareness of the barriers disabled people face in our everyday lives and the impact it has on taking part in everyday activities.

DPA calls on the government to respond swiftly and remedy this unhelpful decision. Our elected representatives should be given the tools to do the job they’ve been elected to do, notes Beverley Grammer.


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