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Final proposals to amend the New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006

06 July 2023.

The New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006 aims to promote and maintain the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), but despite the Act, the use of NZSL is declining which represents a significant threat to Deaf people’s identity and wellbeing.

To support the promotion, maintenance, and acquisition of NZSL, this paper seeks Cabinet’s agreement to amend the New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006 so that:

  • the existing NZSL Board becomes a statutory Ministerial advisory group
  • the functions of the NZSL statutory Ministerial advisory group, its role in monitoring the actions of government agencies to support the purpose of the Act, and the principles to guide appointments are included in an amended Act
  • it includes specific references to support Turi Māori identity and leadership.

NZSL Video

Summary of Cabinet paper

Full Cabinet paper


Executive Summary: 02:04:28
Background: 08:40:41
Uplifting the mana and status of NZSL to improve outcomes for Deaf people: 19:09:07
Non-legislative approaches to strengthen Deaf leadership were considered: 34:52:16
Financial Implications: 38:23:05
Consultation: 42:06:04
Recommendations: 46:23:41
Appendix 1: 52:17:11
Appendix 2: 01:03:02:27

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