TVNZ Refuse To Incorporate NZSL Interpreters Into Future Live Debates

New Zealand’s deaf community have every right to be outraged after TVNZ decline to use NZSL interpreters in future live debates. 

The ironic aspect to all of this is that TVNZ CEO Ken Kenrick said that the broadcaster acknowledges and respects that sign language is recognised as the third official language of New Zealand. And yet, this is not enough to change his stance on the matter, nor is it enough for the broadcaster to find a way to incorporate an interpreter in future televised debates prior to the election.

Instead, TVNZ say that captioning is sufficient, and this will be the status quo on election night.

Broadcaster Refuse To Incorporate NZSL Interpreters Into Future Live Debates

It is just another example of New Zealand’s less fortunate having their basic human rights overlooked, regardless of how TVNZ want to frame their response. TVNZ should have thought of how they would accommodate an interpreter months in advanced, and consulted the deaf community on what the best course of action would be.

Prior to the debates, over 800 people signed a petition sent to TVNZ requesting that sign language be used in the televised debates. This came after TVNZ confirmed they wouldn’t consider having interpreters at the leaders debates.

“Logistical Reasons”

Kenrick cited “logistical reasons” for not being able to accomodate an interpreter in TVNZ’s live news productions.

Live TV debates are highly dynamic. They are quick fire exchanges, split second shifts between close-ups and wide shots of the participants and people talk over one another. We are not set up to introduce sign language interpreters into an already complex broadcast environment.

It continues a sorry trend for disability issues during this election. At National’s campaign launch, Special Education was overlooked, and at Monday’s #MyVoiceMatters candidates debate, no party managed to convince on any of their policies.

Affordable rugby alternatives for Sky TV are not so cheap

Sky Television will allow for standalone season pass options, but it comes with a hefty catch.


A “season pass” to Super Rugby, or the NRL if you would prefer, will cost $299.00.

A monthly fee of $70 is available, or weekly for $29.

Access to the content will be through a website called Fan Pass which is powered by Sky Sport.

Although this option of standalone season passes is what consumers fed up with Sky TV’s high prices have been asking for, the fee for a single season of Super Rugby is surprisingly high.

Add in that this content is online only, it requires high speed internet and reasonably stable connections which in many areas are few in far between, consumers should be still a little skeptical about leaving the monthly $100 for their MySky HDi boxes just yet.

The new service rolls out next week.

Sky TV yet to secure RWC 2015 rights

The Rugby World Cup is less than a year away, and Sky TV are yet to secure the broadcast rights.


Back in 2011 Sky Sport was the host broadcaster of the Rugby World Cup.

This was not a surprise because the tournament was held in New Zealand and Sky TV is New Zealand’s primary sports broadcaster through its ever growing Sky Sports channel lineup. Free to air television stations got their share of the rights also, including live coverage of 16 games and delayed for the rest while Sky Sport broadcasted each game of the 2011 RWC live.

But New Zealand’s big pay TV provider has long been the home for most big sports on New Zealand television.

Much has been made about Sky’s future as the big dog of the sports broadcasting scene in New Zealand after in the last year both the English Premier League and the PGA Tour rights to internet TV company Coliseum Sports.

Much has been speculated about the possibility of Sky offering season passes for certain sports.

For example, if a subscriber only wanted to watch the All Blacks for a season, this would be available for a one off season pass fee.

When asked directly by Tony Veitch on Radio Sport this weekend, admitted they were still in negotiation over the rights to next years Rugby World Cup.

With the tournament being held in England, it would be safe to assume that the host broadcaster would be the likes of Sky Sports UK so the chances of Sky Sport here in New Zealand securing the rights to all the games while closing out all coverage rights to free to air channels like TVNZ and TV3 are rather slim one would think.

Back in 2007 Sky TV completely missed out on all the RWC coverage and free to air channel TV3 secured all the rights.

Could this be a similar theme in 2015? Surely not.

With the amount of revenue Sky Television make per year from its large subscriber base securing the rights to RWC 2015 shouldn’t be an issue in terms of competition with other TV bidders in New Zealand.