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Comment on the Telecommunication Act Review from the Captioning Working Group

September 15, 2015

The NZ Captioning Working Group (CWG) welcome the Telecommunication Act Review announced recently by the Communications Minister Hon Amy Adams (who also has portfolio responsibility for Broadcasting including captioning).
The Ministers release states "New Zealanders have embraced streaming video on demand which is just the start of what the next generation of broadband can deliver".

Hon Amy Adams also says that the review will focus on the regulatory regime to support growth, investment and innovation in this area. The CWG believe that accessibility is another important dimension that must be factored into the review from the outset.

The distinctions between broadcasting & telecommunications and how New Zealanders use content is rapidly blurring. Many New Zealanders who require access to ensure they are not marginalised and their disability needs are accommodated need captioning access as they cannot access verbal content provided by streaming video on demand services.

No NZ TV On Demand provider supplies captioning or audio description including TVNZ, Sky, Lightbox (Spark owned) and Media Works.

Provision of accessible services such as captioning and audio-describing on traditional TV are also well below par.

We applaud the upcoming review of the regulatory framework, and urge the Minister to ensure accessibility needs are factored into the review from the outset, and legislation is introduced to require captioning in revisions of the Broadcasting & Telecommunication Act and subsequent legislation.

For further information contact:

Louise Carroll
CEO The National Foundation for the Deaf Inc & CWG Chair
Telephone: 027 076 6990