Telco Relay Services consultation begins

Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Clare Curran and Disability Issues Minister Carmel Sepuloni today released a consultation document on the Telecommunications Relay Service.

Telecommunications Relay Services provide a range of text and video based telecommunications services free of charge to people who are Deaf, hearing-impaired, deafblind and speech-impaired.

New Zealand has been recognised for its leadership on disability issues internationally but there’s still a long way to go before all disabled people enjoy a fully inclusive society that values them and enhances their participation,” Ms Curran says.

“We compare favourably internationally in terms of the range of relay services currently offered, and this consultation will help the service evolve so it can continue to meet the needs of its users into the future.

“No two people with a disability are the same and the Government believes disabled people should be supported to follow their dreams, make their own choices, and to lead a quality life.

“There have been significant advances in communications technologies since the service started in 2004, such as video applications, which have increased the accessibility of traditional communications tools.

“We want to hear from people who use the service and other interested stakeholders for their views on the future of relay services,” Ms Curran says.

Ms Sepuloni says relay services are critical to ensuring Kiwis who use New Zealand sign language, and people with additional communications needs, are able to connect with voice telephone users and have access to equal work and lifestyle opportunities. 

“Relay services allow users to access telecommunication services on an equal basis to other New Zealanders, and for NZSL users, the Video Interpreting Service enables them to use sign language, as their preferred language.

“This consultation is an opportunity for relay users – from the old to the young – to give their feedback on how the service is meeting their differing needs, and on how it might be improved in the future,” says Ms Sepuloni.

The Cabinet paper on the Telecommunications Relay Service has been proactively released and is at http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/technology-communications/communications/telecommunications-relay-service/ . 

You can view the announcement in NZSL at: http://www.odi.govt.nz/whats-happening/relay-services-consultation

The consultation document and a NZSL video summary of the document is available at http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/technology-communications/communications/telecommunications-relay-service/.

Submissions, which can be presented either in written form or in NZSL, are being sought by 13 April 2018.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will be holding public consultation events in March, with NZSL interpreters and captioners, to gather feedback on the consultation document.

Locations and dates will be posted on the MBIE website once they are confirmed.