Green Party passes landmark law to ensure deaf and disabled voices heard equally in democracy

Chlöe Swarbrick's Members Bill to support disabled general election candidates has passed into law.

The Election Access Fund Bill establishes a fund, administered by the Electoral Commission, which may be used by any disabled candidate to cover disability-related costs of standing in a general election.

“The more New Zealanders engaged in democracy, the stronger we all are”, Green Party spokesperson on Open and Accessible Government Chlöe Swarbrick said today.

“No future political candidate with disability should have to internalise the costs of barriers placed in front of them by design and systemic neglect.

“The bill passed today seeks to, in a small way, unpick those systemic barriers. Whether we identify with it or not, all of us will find ourselves disabled at some point in our lives, by an environment or service that never considered us, by accident, or as we age.

“Mojo Mathers’ Election Access Fund Bill is a step towards a consciously more equal and empathetic playbook for how we as New Zealanders engage not just in politics, but our communities at large.

“Today our House of Representatives has solidified Green kaupapa to remove barriers to ensure more equal representation. It’s a good day for equality.”

The costs accessible in the fund could be used for:

  • NZSL interpreter support for candidate forums,
  • notetaker or transcribing costs,
  • costs of translating material into braille.

 

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