In 2017, Deaf Action filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission over the lack of NZSL access to TV1 ‘items of national interest’ – General Election debates, News, Civil Defence news.

The negotiations have been obstructed by third parties trying to prevent this means of access from happening.

As a result, a case filed with the Office of Human Rights Proceedings is due to be heard by the Human Rights Tribunal early 2021.

Media Statement

27th May 2021

Deaf Action Aotearoa Incorporated (Deaf Action) takes TVNZ to Human Rights Review Tribunal for NZSL interpretation.

Deaf Action was encouraged to see TVNZ provide NZSL interpretation of an interview between John Campbell and Dr Huhana Hickey PhD on Breakfast TV this morning. During the interview, John Campbell said to Dr Hickey “You need an advocate, you need to be valued, you need to not be treated as a cost, because you have the same right to dignity and participation as everyone else” with which Dr Hickey agreed. He went on to ask what Dr Hickey would see as the top priorities from the government, from a disability perspective. Deaf Action agrees with the sentiment of Mr Campbell’s comments, which is why it is taking TVNZ to the Human Rights Review Tribunal in an attempt to secure further NZSL interpretation of essential news and information for the D/deaf community.

Kim Robinson MNZM, Chairperson of Deaf Action says that ‘Access to the news in NZ Sign Language is a human right, many Deaf people have been calling for this since 2011 We hope to see much more of this in TVNZ’s programming’.

As matters stand, Deaf Action considers that the D/deaf community miss out on critical information being broadcast by TVNZ. It asks that news broadcasts, election debates, and critical press conferences and emergency broadcasts be broadcast with NZSL interpretation, to ensure that the New Zealanders who use NZSL are not left behind. Deaf Action’s advocacy on this issue has been ongoing since 2017, when Deaf Action initially complained to the Human Rights Commission. It is now represented by the Office of Human Rights Proceedings in bringing a claim to the Human Rights Review Tribunal. That process is ongoing.

Deaf Action is an incorporated society. Its mission is to advance the human rights of D/deaf/Hard of Hearing people in Aotearoa New Zealand. Deaf Action NZ advocates and lobbies together with Deaf New Zealanders to uphold their human rights to government, public and private institutions, and service providers, disability service providers locally, nationally and internationally.

Deaf Action NZ ‘objective’ is to ensure services Deaf people use are accessible and accountable.