Visual news: Minister prepares a sign-language statement to trumpet announcement about help for the hearing-impaired

The Ardern government – focused on promoting wellbeing and diversity – is obviously keen to ensure the beneficiaries of its spending decisions are not left oblivious to what it is doing for them.

Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin yesterday made one of the spending announcements that inevitably trigger the Point of Order Trough Monitor (which is programmed to alert us to government spending decisions but not to make value judgements about the worthiness of  those decisions).

In this case, the announcement related to increased funding of $9.9 million over the next four years to benefit children and young people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

To ensure the target audience was informed of what has been decided, the press statement emerged from the Minister’s office in two forms.

Information from the print version has been incorporated in this post (see below).  But for those who prefer getting their news in another way …

 This press release is also available in New Zealand Sign Language here.

No doubt more communications costs are incurred by Ministers who try to reach their audiences with sign language versions of their statements.  But do you have to be able to read the print version to learn there is a sign language version?

Other spending decisions announced in recent days, as if to remind us that Shane Jones is not the only distributor of governmental largess, come from the Environment and Maori Development domains.

The Maori Development announcements – you will be cheered to learn – involves $3.75 million in assistance for Māori wardens “to prepare for the future”.  

Have we missed something that helps someone prepare in the other direction?

The monitor tells us –

18 JULY 2019 

More support to reduce the impact of plastics  

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced in Rotorua $481,134.70 of funding from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund has been allocated to Crown Research Institute Scion to put towards delivering three new waste initiatives to reduce plastic waste and help develop alternatives.

Scion will run a research project to improve knowledge of how materials such as compostable plastics, laminated materials and paper degrade in a range of New Zealand composting environments.  This will help develop a clear labelling system for compostable materials and ensure that compostable packaging is a more viable and reliable alternative. 

Scion is also being funded

” … to develop a national plastics roadmap to help shift the plastics sector to a more circular economy model.

“To reduce plastic in New Zealand, we need a better understanding of what plastic is being used domestically and where it ends up. We can then work what plastics we need and what types of plastic could be replaced with substitute materials, or recovered and reprocessed,” says Eugenie Sage.

19 JULY 2019 

New Māori Warden funding aimed for the future         

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Māori Development Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta have announced $3.75 million in assistance for Māori Wardens to prepare for the future.

The funding will be used to invest directly in to the development of a new Māori wardens self-management capability, along with increased training, recruitment and promotion.

The money in the Wellbeing Budget will also start an awards programme to recognise their work.

The initial role of the Māori Wardens has broadened and there are now over 900 Māori Warden volunteers across the nation.

19 JULY 2019

Increased support for deaf and hard-of-hearing students  

Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin announced new funding will support learning opportunities for children and young people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and enable greater use of assistive technology.

Increased funding of $9.9 million over the next four years will provide:

  • New Zealand Sign Language at school (NZSL@School) support for an additional 25 students
  • study awards to support 24 more teachers to complete specialist training as Resource Teachers of the Deaf
  • additional Advisors on Deaf Children, who will provide intensive support to young and very young deaf children and their whānau
  • three new immersion hubs, where deaf children enrolled in their local school can meet regularly with other deaf children and young people, and develop their NZSL capability, and
  • support for up to 20 babies and young children with cochlear implants each year, so they get the greatest benefit from their implant.

Deaf and hard-of-hearing children, as well as those with a wider range of learning support needs, will also benefit from a $3.9 million increase in funding for assistive technology.


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