You’ve still got time to sign Citizens Advice Bureau NZ‘s campaign to address digital exclusion before it is presented to Parliament on 7 July.
It has already gathered more than 5,000 signatures calling for the Government to address digital exclusion and leave no-one behind. Citizen’s Advice Bureau will continue to collect signatures/supporters right up to the delivery date. You can sign the petition online or you can print and sign the paper form and send it through to: CAB National Office, Level 4, 93 Boulcott St, Wellington 6011, PO Box 24249, Manners St, Wellington 6142.
The campaign asks the NZ House of Representatives to ensure that public services are accessible to all and recognise that digital services will not be the right response for every person or every situation.
- Leave no-one behind: Ensure that steps are taken to address digital exclusion and that no-one is left behind or left out because they can’t or don’t wish to engage online.
- Public services accessible to all: Implement accessibility and inclusion standards for the delivery of public services that include offline channels as part of the proactive design of government service delivery.
- CAB compensated for cost-shifting: Ensure that the Citizens Advice Bureau is properly funded to meet the demands and cost-shifting that has resulted from government services going online.
Why is this important?
Have you or someone you know ever tried to fill out a government form online? How about doing that on your phone? And uploading documents to it? What if your internet connection was limited? Or English wasn’t your first language? Or you were vision impaired? Or didn’t have a credit card?
What if you needed help to understand, and what you really wanted was someone to talk to? Consider the frustration this causes you and what it looks like when you’re made further vulnerable as you stare into the digital divide.
Citizens Advice Bureau believes that the digital-only or digital-first approach being embraced by government agencies is excluding some of Aotearoa’s most vulnerable people and communities. It wants to see people’s needs put at the centre of public services and are asking our representatives in Parliament, to pledge to ensuring this is the case.
Interacting with government services is often about accessing rights and entitlements and it’s important that there aren’t any barriers in the way. Digital services are not the right response for all people or in all circumstances. There needs to be genuine choice for people about how they can interact – whether online, face-to-face, through others or by phone. It is critical that as a country we don’t allow the digital transformation of public services to further entrench disadvantage and vulnerability.
On Wednesday 7 July at 1pm, Citizens Advice Bureau (alongside other advocates) will gather at Parliament to present the petition to the Minister of Digital Economy and Communications, Hon Dr David Clark, asking for our elected representatives to take action.