Press Release – Red Tape Campaign
The launch of Red Tape Campaign www.redtapenz.org.nz on Tuesday, 6 March will demonstrate the barriers Deaf New Zealanders encounter each day.The launch of Red Tape Campaign www.redtapenz.org.nz
The Red Tape Campaign encourages people who are Deaf or Hearing Impaired to share their stories on Facebook and Twitter.
These stories will then be presented to the government, along with solutions that will enable the over 400,000 New Zealanders with various hearing losses to fully participate in all aspects of daily life.
Red Tape campaign organiser Kim Robinson says the government and New Zealanders affected by deafness or hearing loss must work together to ensure effective change.
“On February 14th, the nation and world witnessed the stoush in Parliament over who should fund the technology and resources that will enable Deaf MP Mojo Mathers effectively do her job,” says Kim.
“The speaker of the House told Mojo that she had to cover these costs within her own budget. Whereas the upgrade of the sound system to enable other MPs to hear what was being said, was not funded from their personal budgets.”
Recently on March 1st, the United Nations Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay, called for “removal of barriers that prevent the participation of persons with disabilities in political life and public affairs”
“Mojo’s situation shows exactly what happens daily to Deaf people requiring access to communication and information to enable full participation within society,” says Kim.
This ranges from having 24/7 subtitle access to all public free to air TV channels and private channels, greater and more access to sign language interpreters with affordable and accessible resources.
“John Key has his online videos captioned regularly. This is a prime example of accessibility that many New Zealanders can now use to follow his speeches,” says Kim.
One suggestion Kim makes is the establishment of a Language Commission that would cover New Zealand’s official languages, NZSL and Maori.
“This would bring all parties under one roof to develop resources together, as NZSL does extend to Maori language as well especially for Maori Deaf who are dependant on tri-lingual NZSL Interpreters for accessibility,” he says.
“Also, in light of government department cutbacks, a Language Commission model would make smart and effective use of current resources.”
Kim believes that it is important to ensure that both official languages are given more recognition, which would allow these language groups to be accurately resourced to ensure improved access to employment, health, education, social, economic development opportunities.
“The continued lack of resources for these two official language groups hinder each from moving ahead. Let’s change that around and make this country a world leader.”