Waata Houia will definitely be voting on election day. He’s got the information he needs to make his choices, is confident about how to take part – and he has an intellectual disability.
He’s engaged, articulate and passionate about the right of the disabled to vote, and he’s one of the presenters of a new DVD resource aimed at helping people with intellectual disability take part in this year’s General Election and Referendum on the Voting System.
Get Ready and Vote, produced by the Electoral Commission, is being launched this week, and has already received significant support from IHC.
“People with intellectual disability are just as interested in the election as everyone else,” says Caroline Barnes, IHC’s National Manager Self Advocacy. “Get Ready and Vote is a valuable learning tool to be used in partnership with people with intellectual disability and their service providers to understand more about the election process. IHC is thrilled to be launching it.”
The new DVD resource follows a group of friends as they learn about New Zealand’s government, find out where to get the information they need to make their choices, and experience enrolling and voting.
“Having a say on election day is the right of all New Zealanders,” says Chief Electoral Officer Robert Peden. “On November 26, not only will New Zealand be voting for the politicians and political parties who will lead the country, we’ll also be voting on the system we use to choose those politicians, so getting informed is more important than ever. This is especially important for those with intellectual disabilities. Our goal is to make sure that everyone gets the information they need, in the way that best works for them.”
After this week’s launch, the new resource is being widely distributed to service providers and advocacy groups nationwide. Copies are also available through the Electoral Commission www.elections.org.nz.