New Zealand holds an inquiry into captioning

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Friday, 10 June 2016 09:05am

New Zealand’s Government Administration Committee has announced an inquiry into captioning, and is seeking submissions from the public.

Remote control being pointed at a TV with captions at the bottom of the screen

The inquiry’s terms of reference include:

  • International comparisons of captioning access
  • Issues around royalties and intellectual property
  • Public education/attitude towards captioning
  • Responsibility for the provision of captioning
  • Requirements under existing legislation and regulation in relation to advertising
  • Potential for a Captioning Watchdog

Unlike Australia, there is no legislation that requires any television programs to be captioned in New Zealand. There have nevertheless been captions on New Zealand TV for many years, and they are currently available on TV ONE, TV2, TV3, FOUR and other channels. Instead of the channels having to pay for the captioning themselves, as is usual around the world, all captioning is paid for by the government’s broadcasting funding body, NZ On Air, so the levels depend on the funding allocated to them.

In announcing the inquiry, the Hon Ruth Dyson, chairperson of the Government Administration Committee, noted the petition that was recently presented to parliament by the New Zealand Working Group on Captioning. She said, “When recently in Australia on an exchange visit, the committee heard and learnt a lot about the provision of captioning there and will be able to put this information to good use when conducting the inquiry and considering the petition.”

Online submissions can be made to the inquiry via the submissions page on the New Zealand Parliament website. The closing date for them is 28 July.   

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