26 May 2020

Minister welcomes 'robust feedback' on app from sight impaired

6:43 pm on 26 May 2020

The Minister for Disabilities Carmel Sepuloni will not say if the Health Ministry has breached government guidelines with its Covid-19 contact tracing app.

No caption

Carmel Sepuloni. Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

The group Blind Low Vision New Zealand says the app is [https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/417526/covid-19-tracing-app-unusable-for-blind-and-those-with-low-vision not usable for the sight impaired.

Sepuloni said she welcomed blind citizens' "robust feedback".

She also welcomed "the willingness of the Ministry of Health to address the issue and respond constructively to the feedback provided".

Sepuloni did not respond to RNZ's question of whether officials had breached guidelines that say digital services must be accessible to everyone.

The Health Ministry said it may add functions to help the blind.

Earlier, it defended its work by saying a leader in the blind community, Jonathan Mosen, had praised the app, which he did, for its accessible screen functions.

However, the ministry omitted to tell RNZ that Mosen had also told it several times the app was unusable.

"We understand the Ministry of Health will be seeking further advice on ensuring maximum accessibility as the app and its use is further developed, including the provision of guidance to businesses on where the QR code is displayed to assist people to access the QR code," Sepuloni said.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs