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Alternate formats - all-of-government process

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) is responsible for coordinating all-of-government’s management of alternate formats – Easy Read, New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), Large Print, Braille and Audio. MSD also coordinates advice for creating accessible information.

We partner with 3 Disabled People's Organisations (DPOs) who provide the government with advice about alternate formats. The DPOs are:

  • Deaf Aotearoa
  • Association of Blind Citizens
  • People First.

MSD provides a centralised service to help you provide your agency’s content in alternate formats. This supports you to provide the right information, at the right time, in the right way to the disability community.

When to use alternate formats

Alternate formats should be provided when information:

  • is for disabled people
  • affects access to rights or responsibilities
  • affects decisions and/or payments
  • is confidential, personal, or legal
  • is consultation or surveys
  • has been requested in an alternate format.


All documents should be born accessible (be created so they are accessible) and meet clear print guidelines. But even accessible documents may not meet the information needs of everyone.

This service provides information in the 5 alternate formats used by print disabled communities:

  • New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL)
  • Large Print
  • Braille
  • Audio
  • Easy Read.

The term “alternate” means these formats are a different way of providing information to specific communities.

We do not use “alternative” as it could imply a choice. Alternate formats are not a choice or a nice-to-have. For many people they are the only option to access information.