Closed Captions now available for NZ parliamentary broadcasts

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Thursday, 11 August 2016 13:47pm

An estimated one in nine New Zealanders use captions when watching TV. Up until recently, live broadcasts of Parliament weren’t captioned, meaning that a significant number of people were unable to observe their elected representatives at work. But following a campaign begun in 2011, all that is in the past. 

Image of NZ Green Party MP, Mojo Mathers, observing parliament on TV

From 9 August 2016, live closed captioning is available on live Parliament TV (PTV) broadcasts of all proceedings in the House of Representatives. They’re also available for PTV on Freeview, Sky, Vodafone, and Igloo (NZ’s pay TV service).

Initial trials were not successful, leaving the project hanging for some time. But subsequent trials with a different provider paid off, with the style of live captions implemented providing 98 per cent accuracy and minimal delay, according to New Zealand’s first Deaf MP, the Greens’ Mojo Mathers. Ms Mather was involved in trials of the closed captions and says she is thrilled that she will finally be able to follow debates in the house from her office.

This latest development comes after digital accessibility has become a hot topic in New Zealand, with a Parliamentary inquiry into mandatory captioning soon to report. 

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