If you are part of the blindness community, or if you are a blind community ally, here’s a resource to help you get issues that matter on the election agenda before the General Election on 19 September 2020.

Ask candidates these questions when you see them on the campaign trail. Our Policy and Advocacy team will also be getting in touch with ministers informing them of these issues and advocating on your behalf.

To write Our Vision, Your Future, Blind Low Vision NZ’s Strategic Plan, we asked our community what mattered most to them – we used that feedback to create this resource as well.

Get out there and make your voice heard so candidates prioritise what’s important to you.

Suggested questions you could ask:

1. Unemployment rates are roughly double for people with vision loss compared to people without disabilities. What would you do to ensure that people with vision loss have equal access to employment as everyone else?

2. People who are blind, deafblind or have low vision face challenges participating in elections and standing for office. What is your party currently doing to;

  • ensure people who are blind, deafblind or have low vision can independently vote?
  • participate in the election process?
  • ensure that political meetings, forums or information are accessible?

3. New Zealanders who are blind, deafblind or have low vision rely on assistive technology for their everyday life, education, employment etc. Compared to non-disabled people there are more people who are blind or have low vision that are not in education or employment or training.

  • What will you do to ensure that people who are blind or have low vision can access assistive technology as well as training on how to make the most of the technology?
  • How will you work to increase the actual provision of assistive technology devices to the people who need them?
  • What will you do to ensure that schools, universities and other training courses use educational technology and learning materials that are accessible to all students?

4. During the COVID-19 pandemic response, people with vision loss or a print disability were not able to access pertinent information regarding the pandemic. There was a 4-week delay in getting accessible information to people. What are you going to do to ensure that people who are blind, deafblind or have low vision can access information at the same time as everyone else?

5. Transport devices on footpaths are proving a real issue for pedestrians who are blind, deafblind or have low vision. It doesn’t have to be this way. There is a solution that can work for all parties, and that involves keeping e-scooters off footpaths.

  • How would you ensure that footpaths will be prioritised to be safe and accessible for pedestrians and that therefore transport devices like e-scooters should be used on cycle paths or the road?
  • How would you ensure that New Zealand infrastructure is accessible for all New Zealanders?

6. NZ is experiencing a housing crisis, including a shortage in rental housing. People who are blind, deafblind or have low vision often face barriers in finding affordable and appropriate housing. This is often down to negative attitudes or sometimes because they are a guide dog handler. How would you address this problem?

7. People who are blind, deafblind or have low vision often face barriers in accessing healthcare and information about their health in an accessible way. What are you going to do to ensure that people with vision loss can make informed decisions about their health, like everyone else?

8. You cannot learn new skills to live an independent life with vision loss in a few weeks. Currently, only about 40% of people who are eligible for vision rehabilitation services access it.

  • How will you ensure people have timely access to comprehensive vision rehabilitation, habilitation and low vision services?
  • What will you do to improve vocational rehabilitation services for transition-aged youth; adult job seekers; employees who acquire vision loss during their career and want to remain employed; and in the workforce?

9. Would you support introducing accessibility legislation?

10. Most people who are blind, deafblind or have low vision rely on public transport to access services and facilities, social connections and go about their day. How would you ensure that public transport is accessible for people who are blind, deafblind or have low vision?

Let us know what you think of the questions and how you got on with making your voice heard by emailing at PolicyAdvocacyTeam@blindlowvision.org.nz