Your rights

When do you have a right to NZSL interpreting services?

Deaf people have a right to NZSL interpreting services in some situations. These situations are provide in the further information table below.

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Futher information


Health and disability services and information

GP appointments, hospital appointments, counselling and midwife appointments, etc.

The ‘Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights’ states that a consumer has the right to communication, right to be fully informed and right to informed consent. For many Deaf people whose first or preferred language is NZSL these rights are realised by the provision of a fully qualified NZSL interpreter.

Health and Disability Commissioner – Your Rights NZSL video.

Courts and Police settings

The NZSL Act 2006 provides the right to use NZSL in courts, whether the deaf person is a defendant, prosecutor, lawyer, witness or jury member. You can watch a NZSL summary of the NZSL Act here.

The NZ Bill of Rights provides the right to an interpreter where a defendant is deaf.

Police interviews and some Police settings are required to provide interpreting services.

The Humans rights Act 1993

The Human Rights Act 1993 provides the right to reasonable accommodation in the provision of goods and services. Reasonable accommodation can include providing NZSL interpreting services.

Human Rights Commission – NZSL videos.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is an international human rights instrument of the United Nations. It protects the rights and promotes equality of disabled people. The CRPD mentions sign language in five different articles. These articles are: Article 2 – Definition; Article 9 – Accessibility; Article 21 – Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information; Article 24 – Education; Article 30 – Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport.

The New Zealand Government has signed up to the UN CRPD.

Learn more about the CRPD in New Zealand.

Learn more about the CRPD and the World Federation of the Deaf.