Sign language made permanent for all Parliament's Question Time broadcasts

New Zealand Sign Language has been made a permanent fixture of Question Time broadcasts.

Parliament has committed to providing a sign language interpreter for every Question Time, as well as all Post-Cabinet press conferences - the Prime Minister's weekly press conference after she meets with her Cabinet ministers.

In previous years, an interpreter has been provided during Sign Language Week, with closed captions available on Question Time broadcasts the rest of the year.

Closed captioning will continue to be provided by an Australian captioning service, alongside the interpreter.

Question Time is the chance for Members of Parliament (MPs) to ask Ministers questions. It's typically the rowdiest, fastest-moving part of a sitting day. It usually starts at 2pm, lasting for an hour.

For Opposition MPs, Question Time means testing and challenging the Government. For Members of the governing parties, it usually means lobbing a soft-ball question to a Minister.

"This is a significant move toward ensuring the deaf community has an opportunity to engage with political proceedings in their own language," Carmel Sepuloni said.

"A huge number of issues are raised and challenged during oral question time in the House. Having NZSL interpreters available will make a big difference to deaf people wanting to know what political views are being expressed."

Credit for the initiative goes to Clerk of the House David Wilson, with support from Speaker Trevor Mallard.

Mr Mallard told Newshub New Zealand Sign Language "is an official language, the use of which Parliament is supporting as part making both the buildings and proceedings more accessible."