No to Online Voting a Major Blow for Disabled People

Blind and vision impaired people value the idea of a fully confidential vote. But imagine if you could only vote by telling someone else and having them cast your vote for you. That is what it is like for blind people and many others with disabilities who cannot fill in the voting forms for ourselves.

You can read more about the benefits of on-line voting, and the opportunities this creates for our community...

Cricket authorities, sports broadcasters and funders told to lift their game

Cricket fans have been treated to some wonderful cricket during the 2015 World Cup. After all this is the time when all cricket playing nations send their top teams to compete and see which one will be the world champion. But blind cricket fans feel particularly excluded because commentaries on most of the games are not available on radio and not even online.

Read on to learn about Blind Citizens NZ's call on cricket authorities, sports broadcasters and funders to lift their game when it comes to radio coverage of cricket in New Zealand.

Submission-Inquiry into the 2013 Local Authority Elections

Blind people continue to be marginalised in local authority elections, and still cannot cast their vote independently with confidence and dignity. They are required to place their trust in family or friends, and for many, often in someone they do not know, to cast their vote for them. So when they do vote, they can only hope that their trust is not misguided, and that their directions are carried out.

Does your website shut the door in our face?

Blind Citizens NZ was honoured to have the Minister for Disability Issues, Hon Tariana Turia launch our brief "Does your website shut the door in our face?", on 21 November 2013.

More Accessible Websites

At a Parliamentary function hosted for us on 21 November by the Minister for Disability Issues, the Hon Tariana Turia, we launched our latest briefing document called “Does Your Website Shut the Door in Our Face?”. This publication draws attention to the problem of CAPTCHAs which often appear on today's websites. This compliments our other briefing documents including one on website accessibility in general, and emphasises the human rights issues that are involved particularly for websites that sell or provide goods and/or services to the public.

Review of the Panasonic TH-L55DT60Z Television Voice Guidance Features in Aotearoa New Zealand

  • Paul Brown
  • September 2013

Panasonic New Zealand loaned one of their new Viera televisions for members of Blind Citizens New Zealand Auckland branch to try out. I have had the television for a few weeks to test its functions and to write this brief review. It is great to have some new features that talk on the TV, and I do hope that this technology continues to be developed so that TV can become even more accessible in the future.

Blind people potentially blocked from buying shares in Mighty River

The Mighty River share float is now history. I followed the process with some interest. I was quite impressed with the steps Treasury had taken to make the share offer document accessible, including providing descriptions of some of the graphs and pie charts. Probably this was one rare occasion in which blind people interested in investment opportunities genuinely had equal access to the same information as sighted people.

Launching Our Brief on Accessible Websites

At a Parliamentary function hosted by the Minister for Culture and Heritage, Hon Chris Finlayson, on 11 July, we launched our "brief" on accessible websites. As blind people, we are unable to communicate and access information visually, and we may also be restricted in our ability to get out and about. The World Wide Web (with the use of adaptive technologies ) has opened many doors for us, allowing us to access the same information and carry out transactions independently in the same way as our sighted peers. It is particularly empowering to at last live in a world in which we can read our daily news, interact with others, do our shopping, pay our bills, manage our finances, apply for services and do many other things online with full independence.

Well designed websites make life better for everyone; however they can be particularly beneficial for people who are blind as we can access the same information with full independence and without being marked out as in any way different from everyone else. Some disabilities (such as deafblindness) can severely restrict a person's ability to access information and interact socially; for these people, properly designed websites can actually be life changing, providing perhaps the only means to access everyday information and communicate and interact with others.

Launching Our Brief on Accessible Telecommunications

It was July last year in fact when we launched our brief which explains what blind and vision impaired people need from the telecommunications industry. Now one year later, we attempted to promote the brief and a new brief on accessible websites by inviting telecommunications companies and other interested people to a forum which we hosted as part of this year's Wellington Seminar. Now through this post I can explain the concerns we have about telecommunications and why it is so important. In my next post I will highlight our recently published brief on accessible websites.

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