Reflections on Saturday – the Election 2014 might be done, but Annabel’s campaign goes on. “She wanted to see who won the election and whether her dream of 100% captioning in NZ would come true.”

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Annabel watched the TVNZ OneNews Election special Vote 2014 on Saturday night. All of it – from 7pm till midnight!

She wanted to see who won the election and whether her dream of 100% captioning in NZ would come true. (How do you explain that she would still have had to wait for several years even if the Green Party had won?).

Her Dad wanted to watch Decision14 on TV3 but without captions that wasn’t possible. (No other election programming, live streaming or on demand service had election coverage with captions).

Why would an 8 year old want to watch the election coverage? She wanted to see who was going to have an influence on her life as a young New Zealander, who just happens to be Deaf. She cares.

She followed the campaign quite closely from a child’s point of view. When the TV3 Leaders debate had no captions recently she asked me if Mr Key and Mr Cunliffe always wear the same tie! She can tell you what the National, Labour and Green Party all think about captioning. She’s written to the Prime Minister, she’s been to see her local Labour MP Annette King, and she’s met Green MP Mojo Mathers. All are back in the Beehive following the election.

It’s a shame I can’t bottle her enthusiasm and share it with the almost 1 million New Zealanders that didn’t vote.

You see, for kids, every day matters. Every programme she can’t watch, every video clip at school she can’t understand, every announcement made in public that doesn’t inform her and so on, excludes her just that little bit more. She thinks the TV people are lazy because they don’t put captions on everything. She says “there are lots of deaf people like me mummy, why leave us out?” Inclusion matters.

As I tucked her into bed late on Saturday night when the votes were all counted, she said with great resolve, “well Mummy, I will just need to write more letters to Mr Key. Shall we make him a movie this time with captions?”

Today marks the beginning of International Week of the Deaf. The President of the World Federation of the Deaf and the President of the International Federation of Hard of Hearing have supported the call for more captioning in New Zealand. In Geneva last week the NZ Government were asked what steps they are taking to improve captioning access by the United Nations.

Thanks to Able for captioning on Saturday night, and to the campaigners that have worked so hard to ensure that the access was provided.

The election 2014 in New Zealand may well be done. The call for captions is not. Annabel and the CaptionitNZ campaign keep going. We need words.

Helen MacKay
Proud mum to Annabel (8), Alexandra (6)
Volunteer Ambassador New Zealand Captioning Working Group

PS Annabel thought this live caption blooper was funny. I struggled to explain what a freak breakfast rather than a free breakfast in Te Tai Tokerau was!

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