Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the NZME. News Service office in Wellington.

To The Boss of New Zealand

If a company isn't doing something right you write to the boss right?

That's exactly what profoundly deaf 7-year-old Annabel Mackay did after becoming fed up with not being able to watch whatever she wanted to because of a lack of captioning on television shows.

She wrote a letter to Prime Minister John Key about the problem.

It started with "To the Boss of NZ" and went on to tell Mr Key that all television programmes, movies and DVDs should be captioned.

Mr Key's office was not able to say today whether the letter had been received.

Annabel said she wanted Mr Key to speak with the industry about the problem.

"I want Mr Key to tell all the movie and TV people they're lazy and that they should put words on," she said today.

Annabel lost her hearing due to a neuromuscular condition when she was 4, which means she remembers what sound was like.

She said that without captioning, she could not understand the programmes and got bored.

It was a problem for all deaf people, Annabelle said.

She mostly watched programmes on Sky TV's Disney Junior, which were captioned, but her mother Helen said she was getting a little old for that channel now.

If all programmes were captioned, Annabel said that would give her the freedom to watch whatever she wanted.

"If there is a programme on that I don't understand, then I go to my bedroom and feel left out."

Last week, she challenged her classmates to go turn the sound down on their televisions to experience what she goes through.

Now as a school project, they were all going to write letters to Mr Key as well, requesting captions be added to all shows.

Getting the message

* Around 700,000 New Zealanders have a hearing impairment.
* Deaf Aotearoa NZ, the National Foundation for the Deaf and the Hearing Association want TV broadcasts to carry more captions for the hearing impaired.
* They say only 20 per cent of free-to-air "public broadcasting" TV has captions.


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