First ever NZSL-led consultation to amend law

Disability Issues

Disability Issues Minister Poto Williams is inviting all New Zealanders to participate in the consultation to amend the New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006.

"The 2006 Act was an important and significant step in supporting Deaf people in Aotearoa New Zealand, and it is time to build on progress we have made to best establish and promote  the taonga that is New Zealand Sign Language," said Poto Williams.

Since the NZSL Act came into law, Aotearoa has ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, established the NZSL Board and launched the NZSL Strategy 2018 – 2023.

"To reflect the Government’s commitment to strengthening the partnership between the Government and the Deaf community, we will collectively consider amending the NZSL."  

"The consultation will be an NZSL-first approach, with options for people in the Deaf community to attend in-person meetings held primarily in NZSL. These will be in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. Information on the Office for Disability Issues website will be in NZSL, and the Deaf community will have the option to share their views in NZSL, and in English.

"For many years others have spoken for Turi Māori and I am particularly interested in learning from Turi Māori and their whānau about how the NZSL Act could better reflect Te Tiriti o Waitangi and support the leadership of Turi Māori."

"This is why there will also be three in-person hui for Turi Māori and their whānau.”"

The consultation phase has begun, and closes on 11 November 2022. A Bill to amend the NZSL Act is expected to be introduced into the House in mid-2023. 

More information is available on the Office for Disability Issues website, which is part of Whaikaha – the Ministry of Disabled People.

Minister Williams has also released a video inviting the community to share their views on potential amendments to the New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006.