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Minister Turia welcomes Sign Language Inquiry Report

Hon Tariana Turia

Minister for Disability Issues

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Media Release

Minister Turia welcomes Sign Language Inquiry Report

Minister for Disability Issues, Tariana Turia launched the Human Rights Commission Sign Language Inquiry Report at Parliament today stating that both the Government and the community can do more to ensure that NZ Sign Language as an official language is given much more significance.

A New Era in the Right to Sign - He Houhanga Rongo te Tika Ki Te Reo Turi’ has a number of key recommendations for the education sector, for young people and regarding access to information as well as promotion and maintenance of New Zealand Sign Language.

“I commend the leadership taken by the Human Rights Commission and its involvement of the hearing impaired community throughout the inquiry. A new era in the right to sign is a fitting title marking the next phase of development for government agencies and wider society,” says Mrs Turia.

“But it is not just for government to take action. Each of us, in our daily lives, can embrace New Zealand Sign Language. It is an interesting and vital part of our diverse nation.”

“Everyone, at all levels, is responsible for changing their attitudes and behaviours, systems and policies, so that New Zealanders who live with hearing impairments can freely go about their lives without unnecessary limitations in their way.”

“This has been the enduring message of the New Zealand Disability Strategy, the Disabilities Convention, and of course what disabled people and families tell me. This inquiry provides a path forward to improve the inclusiveness of our society so that those with hearing impairments can have greater opportunities in life, on a more equal basis with their peers.”

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) will be forming a New Zealand Sign Language experts’ advisory group to work together with government agencies over the next six months. They are tasked with coming up with a work programme and priorities to promote and maintain New Zealand Sign Language in the longer term, and to provide advice on longer term mechanisms to advance the work programme.


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