Progress In Implementing The NZ Disability Strategy 2005-2006
Guidelines to government
In April 2006, the New Zealand Sign Language Act became law. This legislation recognises New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) as an official language of New Zealand, gives the right to deaf people to use NZSL in legal proceedings, and provides guidelines to government agencies on consultation with the deaf community.
Section 9 of the NZSL Act 2006 states:
- A government department should, when exercising its functions and powers, be guided, so far as reasonably practicable, by the following principles:
- the Deaf community should be consulted on matters relating to NZSL (including, for example, the promotion of the use of NZSL)
- NZSL should be used in the promotion to the public of government services and in the provision of information to the public
- government services and information should be made accessible to the Deaf community through the use of appropriate means (including the use of NZSL).
- Consultation carried out by a government department under subsection (1)(a) is to be effected by the chief executive of the government department consulting, to the extent that is reasonably practicable, with the persons or organisations that the chief executive considers to be representative of the interests of the members of the Deaf community relating to NZSL.
- The purpose of the principles in subsection (1) is to promote access to government information and services for the Deaf community, but nothing in subsection (1) is to be read as conferring on the Deaf community advantages not enjoyed by other persons.