The Green Party has released its disability policy, calling for 100 per cent captioning on all television programmes.
It would also increase job support funding for people with disabilities by $6.8 million, and boost the Total Mobility scheme by $3.5m.
The party’s disabilities spokeswoman, Mojo Mathers, made the announcement today.
Mathers is New Zealand’s first deaf MP. Her election triggered Parliamentary TV to be captioned from next term.
“We know that there are still significant barriers for disabled people to fully participate in our society, including access to work and popular culture,” Mathers said.
“Internationally, New Zealand lags behind on captioning. On average only 25 per cent of New Zealand TV is captioned compared to 85 per cent in Australia and 99 per cent in the United Kingdom and United States of America.”
No on-demand TV was captioned in New Zealand.
Mathers also said disabled people were under-represented in the work force and the Greens would improve their “pathways to employment” as well as to home ownership.
“In government we will work with the State Services Commission, in conjunction with the Office for Disability Issues and Disabled Persons Organisation, to identify pathways to employment and retention for disabled people.
“We will open up access to our Progressive Home Ownership package to disabled people to help them into a home of their own.”
Speaking to the New Zealand Disability Support Network awards function last night, Minister for Disability Issues Tariana Turia said the Government had placed a strong emphasis on developing a disability action plan.
“It is about having a framework to prioritise resources, to be able to say this is what we want to do, and how we want to do it,” Turia said.
The focus areas of the Government’s action plan had been to increase access, improve disability supports, promote employment and ensure personal safety.