The service that allows people using New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) to phone others by using an interpreter will soon be available at weekends.
The NZSL Video Interpreting Service provides an interpreter who translates to others on the phone or in person.
"The Video Interpreting Service is the most in-demand government-funded relay service and we know user groups are keen for it to be made more available," says Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Kris Faafoi and Disability Issues Minister Carmel Sepuloni.
"It’s currently available 8am to 8pm on weekdays. From 1 July, this free service will also be available during the weekend and on public holidays. We hope that it will help improve people’s ability to connect with others and participate in their communities."
Carmel Sepuloni says the Video Interpreting Service is a vital communication channel for some NZSL users.
"The Video Interpreting Service provides a tool where those who use NZSL can communicate with friends and whanau, contact service organisations, and participate in situations where interpreting services aren’t always available such as medical appointments," she says.
"The ability to communicate with others is important for living a successful and rewarding life, and is something we all should be able to take for granted. The extended service will go some way in improving this and I look forward to seeing how the other services may be improved in the future."
The government is currently undertaking a public consultation on relay services, including the NZSL Video Interpreting Service, for people who are Deaf, deafblind, speech-impaired or hearing-impaired.
The public have until 9am, Monday 15 April to have their say on the six proposed changes to these existing services.
Further information on the relay services, proposed changes, and making a submission are available in New Zealand Sign Language and English here: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/relayconsultation