The Green Party called today for New Zealand’s elections and political system to be made more accessible for people in disability communities.
“Elections should be accessible to all New Zealanders. We all have the right to participate equally in our political system,” Green Party disability spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said.
The Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei and Green Party disability spokesperson Catherine Delahunty launched a package of solutions for making elections more accessible at the Auckland Deaf Society’s premises today.
“To help make elections more accessible, we have worked with disability communities to come up with ideas for how our system can be improved.”
Ms Delahunty said information needed to be in accessible formats such as New Zealand Sign Language, braille, and audio.
“Polling places can to be easy to get to and get into. We need to ensure as many people can vote as possible,” said Ms Delahunty.
“Parliament itself can be more inclusive. One in five New Zealanders experience disability but that is not reflected in the House of Representatives.
“Guaranteeing the right to independent voting is also important. We can ensure everyone can put their tick on their ballot paper themselves.
Mrs Turei said the Green Party had used subtitling and signers to make some of their resources more accessible but that there was still more that could be done.
“We need to start moving towards a political system that is truly accessible for all,” Mrs Turei said.
“At number 14 on the Green Party’s list, Mojo Mathers may become New Zealand’s first MP who is a member of the deaf community.
“Having Mojo as an MP will require Parliament and the Green Party to make some changes.
“This will be a positive change that brings much more awareness and action for the one-in-five New Zealanders who have a disability and who want to be involved in our political system.”
For more information about the Green’s plan: www.greens.org.nz/accessibleelections