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Sign Language gains a permanent place at Parliament

Organisation: Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives

10 May 2018

It’s just become easier for more people to follow what’s happening at Parliament with the introduction of permanent New Zealand Sign Language interpretation during oral questions.

New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) is one of New Zealand’s official languages and used daily by more than 20,000 New Zealanders.

Parliament has featured NZSL interpretation during oral questions in New Zealand Sign Language Week since 2014.

That move is set to become permanent every day that the House of Representatives sits.

Clerk of the House of Representatives David Wilson is delighted to announce that sign language will continue even after New Zealand Sign Language Week finishes on Sunday.

“We want all New Zealanders to participate in Parliament and we are committed to giving people a choice about how they follow what’s happening in the House”, he says.

“Oral questions are an opportunity for members of Parliament to ask Ministers and other MPs questions in the House. This helps to make sure the Government is accountable to Parliament and the public. So offering NZSL during oral questions will help the Deaf community connect with that important process of scrutiny.

“New Zealand became the first country in the world to broadcast its proceedings of Parliament on radio in 1936 and we continue to look for new ways to make Parliament accessible to everyone.”

Closed captions, available on Parliament TV live or later on demand, also offer another way to follow what’s happening at Parliament.

The House of Representatives sits on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays during sitting weeks.

You can watch oral questions live on Parliament TV from 2pm to about 3pm each sitting day.

You can also watch oral questions and everything that happens in the House of Representatives on Parliament TV on demand on the New Zealand Parliament website.

NZSL will also be provided next week on Budget Day (17 May) for the Budget Statement presented by the Minister of Finance and speeches from party leaders.

It will also be available during each stage of the Election Access Fund Bill, which was introduced on 22 February this year.


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