Article Index

 

2 Introduction

Participation on the political process is a human right in New Zealand. The fundamental level of participation is exercising the right to vote. To vote meaningfully, the participants need access to information about the political parties, their policies and the candidates. In the year 2014, a key source of that information will be via the internet, from the parties’ websites.

The latest survey on disability in New Zealand (The New Zealand Disability Survey 2013 – Statistics New Zealand – published June 2014) finds that 24% of New Zealanders have one or more disability. The bulk of that 24% will be adults eligible to vote as the incidence of disability increases with age. People with disabilities want to participate in the electoral process as much as anyone else. However, the websites can present barriers to people with different types of impairments. These barriers can be minimised by using particular techniques in the design, build and content preparation of the websites.

This report is a brief assessment of the accessibility of the websites of the main political parties. It is not a thorough assessment but an indicative analysis. It is an assessment of a number of factors that impact strongly on disabled users’ ability to access and navigate through the political parties’ websites. 

The purpose of the report is:

  • to understand whether or not political parties have considered web accessibility in the development of their websites
  • identify barriers that could potentially be removed in time for all voters to be able to easily access the website information
  • to raise awareness that communication to the public needs to be designed and managed so it is easily accessible by everyone.