In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the live captioning of the Rio Olympic Games.
I had earlier put out a call for the Minister to do just that.
What most people don’t realise is that the $200,000 needed for both the equipment and live captioning of the Olympics was underwritten and is being fundraised for by the National Foundation for the Deaf.
The National Foundation for the Deaf decided to take this unusual step because the Government refuses to regulate for captions, which meant that Deaf and Hard of Hearing Kiwis were going to miss out on yet another iconic sporting event.
We have already had the disappointment of missing out on the buzz of the Rugby World Cup in 2014 and many other events.
This is why it was so frustrating that the National Government appeared to take credit for the captioning of the Olympics last week.
You can watch John Campbell’s excellent Checkpoint interview on the issue below.
I firmly believe that it shouldn’t be up to a disability organisation to fundraise or spend its reserve funding to get captioning for a major event like the Olympics in the first place.
It’s time for the Government to take captioning seriously and to improve access to it the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who need it.
There’s still time to contribute to the National Foundation for the Deaf fund for captions for #RioOlympics
To make a small $3 donation you can pick up your cellphone and text: 4847
To make a larger donation visit: https://secure.fundraiserpro.com/donate/NFD/