Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Deaf Community struggle to vote...

The deaf community is feeling left out of the electioneering process.

Often left without a New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) translator at political party events, Deaf Action New Zealand (DANZ) has to organise its own event so deaf voters in Auckland can participate. DANZ's meet the candidate event will be held at the Auckland Deaf Society in Balmoral on July 22, and live steamed on Facebook for others to access.   

It will be attended by six political parties, including Maori Party's Cinnamon Whitlock who's standing in the Kelston electorate. 

But DANZ has to find $600 to pay two NZSL translators for the event.

* Concern over access to sign language interpreters after 64-hour wait.

* Mojo Mathers officially selected as Green candidate for Rangitata ​DANZ chairperson Kim Robinson, a former Massey and Te Atatu Peninsula resident, said there weren't many options for the deaf and hard of hearing community to access NZSL election information.

Since 2007, Robinson and his team have been pushing for government to set up an accessible election fund for the deaf community and disability groups. "Any voter or candidate shouldn't be restricted by communication barriers that are created by financial means," Robinson said.

He said most electioneering events don't have interpreters and it was "very hard" for the deaf community to be fully informed before they voted. "Captioned content and NZSL accessible content can make a huge vote difference."

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