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Review of phone relay service for the deaf

Hon David Cunliffe Minister of Communications
Hon Ruth Dyson Minister for Disability Issues

13 February 2006

Submissions sought on review of phone relay service for the deaf

People with an interest in Deaf issues can have their say about the review of the Telecommunications Relay Service, say Communications Minister David Cunliffe and Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson.

The relay service was established by the Government in November 2004 to overcome barriers that deaf, hearing-impaired and speech-impaired New Zealanders face in using standard telephone services.

The review of the service seeks input and comment from interested people and stakeholders on a range of operational and service design issues.

"It's been one year and we're keen to ensure that the service is working as well as it can for users," says Mr Cunliffe.

The service works by using a relay assistant who serves as the "ears and voice" on phone calls between a deaf, hearing-impaired, or speech-impaired user, and the other party to the call.

There is no call surcharge for relay assistance and there is no cost to the other party when they receive a relay call.

"Early feedback indicates that the relay service has been making a significant difference to the lives of those who use it. We want to hear from the public and stakeholders about their experiences with the service," says Ms Dyson.

The Ministry of Economic Development will consider submissions before releasing a draft report for consultation. The release is expected to be in March.

The formal call for submissions and the terms of reference for the review are available on the Ministry of Economic Development website at:

http://www.med.govt.nz/pbt/telecom/trs/review/index.html

The closing date for submissions is 28 February 2006.

ENDS


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