Dunedin Disability Community To Host ‘My Vote Counts’ General Election Forum

Press Release – Disabled Persons Assembly

Dunedin general election candidates will take part in a My Votes Count forum event on 29 September organised by the Dunedin and Districts Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) alongside Disability Information Service, People First, Blind Citizens New Zealand Otago Network and Otago Deaf Society.

“Our parliamentary representatives have an important part to play in supporting disabled people to live good lives in their communities. The decisions that governments make have the ability to either create, perpetuate or remove barriers to disabled people’s participation,” says DPA Dunedin Kaituitui (Community Networker) Chris Ford.

“For example, central government has the responsibility for funding disability support services, inclusive education, accessible housing, health care, part of the public transport budget and are responsible for making the laws and policies which uphold our human rights.”

“That’s why our prospective parliamentarians need to know about the views of disabled people and their allies and support networks about these and other issues which impact on us. For that reason, it’s important that disabled people and their support networks should have the ability to question candidates standing for parliament about their views on disability issues,” states Mr Ford.

Candidates from the Act, Labour, National, New Zealand First and TOP parties have accepted invitations to speak on the night and will come from the Dunedin and Taieri electorates as well as the Green Party representative who will be joining the forum online from Auckland.

The meeting will be chaired by local disability community identity, John Marrable, from the Disability Information Service.

Representatives from the Dunedin office of the Electoral Commission will also be present to take enrolments and provide any information to disabled people about voting arrangements during the election period.

If there any changes to Covid-19 alert levels the forum will be moved online with sufficient public notice given and a Zoom link sent out.

The venue, date and time for the forums are:

Where: Blind and Low Vision NZ Rooms, 458 Hillside Road, South Dunedin

Time: 6pm-8.30pm

Tea, coffee and biscuits to follow

New Zealand Sign Language interpreters will be present

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