NZSL Fund - Questions and Answers

The NZSL Fund invests in projects that develop and enhance the abilities, access, and rights of the core NZSL community.

Common Questions about the NZSL Fund

 What is the NZSL Fund?

In May 2014 Cabinet agreed to the establishment of a New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Board and Fund, and agreed five initial priorities for the promotion and maintenance of NZSL:

  • Include New Zealand Sign Language in education
  • Promote New Zealand Sign Language in the home
  • Provide access to information and services in New Zealand Sign Language
  • Provide access for Deaf Māori
  • Develop interpreter standards.

Amongst other responsibilities, the NZSL Board is responsible for oversight of the NZSL Fund, and making recommendations on the allocation of funds from it to promote and maintain NZSL.

In Budget 2014 $1.5 million per year (ongoing) was made available for the NZSL Board and Fund. Of this, $250,000 annually is for the establishment and on-going costs of the Board (including secretariat support from ODI) and the remaining $1.25 million will be allocated from the Fund to support initiatives that promote and maintain NZSL.

There have been two rounds of funding:

Round 1: 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015

Round 2: 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016 

The Policies and Criteria (approved annually by the Minister for Disability Issues) for the NZSL Fund provide clarity on the aims of the fund, and the factors and processes to be used by the Board when making recommendations on its allocation.

Download -NZSL Fund policies and criteria - Round 3

How does the Board manage potential or actual conflicts of interest in carrying out its duties?

The Board has adequate processes in place to manage potential, perceived and actual conflicts of interest. These management processes are set out in its Terms of Reference and are in accordance with the guidelines published by the State Services Commission and the Office of the Auditor General.

Processes to manage conflicts of interest include maintaining a detailed register of members’ interests, and discussing it as the first agenda item for each meeting. Board rules also prevent the member from voting on the matter.

Prior to discussion on each application, the Chair checked the Conflicts Register and announced those who had declared a conflict of interest. The Chair then asked for any further conflicts of interest to be announced, and added to the register if any. Board members with a conflict of interest were removed from participating in the discussion for that application. They were also not able to answer any questions and could not vote. Where the Chair has a conflict of interest the board collectively select another board member to facilitate the discussion on that topic.

What process was used to decide which projects were given grants from the NZSL Fund for Round 1?

Applications were reviewed and ranked by the New Zealand Sign Language Board against the Polices and Criteria for the fund. The Board’s recommendations on projects to be funded were then provided to the Office for Disability Issues. These recommendations were reviewed and accepted.

The Board and the Office for Disability Issues believe the fourteen projects to be funded were well aligned with the five priorities for NZSL, and are a good start to increasing the vitality of the language.

Why was there only $900,000 available for Round 1?

In March 2015, Deaf Aotearoa received $350,000 from the NZSL Fund to support NZSL Week 2015. This decision was made before the establishment of the NZSL Board as Deaf Aotearoa needed a degree of certainty when planning events and activities for NZSL Week 2015. This support left $900,000 available for disbursement in the financial year ending 30 June 2015.

What process was used to decide which projects were given grants for Round 2?

The NZSL Board met on 21 March 2016 to discuss and prioritise the 46 eligible applications received for the NZSL Fund. Applications were evaluated by the NZSL Board based on the information provided in the application any further information provided by the Office for Disability Issues, and through the assessment process. Applications were reviewed and ranked against the Policies and Criteria for the NZSL Fund. Decisions on the success of an application were reached by consensus of the NZSL Board.

The NZSL Board recommended funding 24 projects in full or part, with a projected total expenditure of $751,114 from an available pool of $751,114.

The NZSL Board’s recommendations on projects to be funded were then provided to the Office for Disability Issues. These recommendations were reviewed and accepted.

The NZSL Board and the Office for Disability Issues believe the 24 projects to be funded are well aligned with the priorities for the second round and are a good start to increasing the vitality of the language.

Why was there only $751,114 available from the NZSL Fund for Round 2?

From the $1.25 million allocation for NZSL Fund in 2015/16, $751,511 was available for funding community projects.

The remainder of the allocation was used to fund three initiatives:

  • Two-year funding was granted to Victoria University of Wellington’s ‘LearnNZSL: E-learning Resources for NZSL Learners’ project, with $158,886 committed for the 2015-2016 funding year.
  • In March 2016, Deaf Aotearoa received $295,000 from the NZSL Fund to support NZSL Week 2016. The NZSL Board recognised that NZSL Week provides valuable promotion of NZSL and is in line with the NZSL Board’s Terms of Reference vision of NZSL being a strong, vibrant language, recognised and embraced by New Zealand society. This proposal was considered outside the second round of the NZSL Fund as Deaf Aotearoa needs a degree of certainty when planning events and activities for NZSL Week 2016.
  • $45,000 was also allocated to the Office for Disability Issues for external commissioning of work on the three-year NZSL Board Action Plan.

When is the next funding round, and how much will be available?

There will be another funding round late in 2016. If you want to be notified when information about this round becomes available, please email your name and contact details to NZ_Sign_Language@msd.govt.nz

Two-year funding was granted to the Ministry of Education’s NZSL Proficiency Instrument (NZSL SLPI) – Adult Assessment project, with $77,366.96 committed from the 2016-2017 funding.

More questions?

We will be updating this list regularly. If there anything you’d like to see covered in these questions and answers, or have further questions, please contact the Office for Disability Issues at NZ_Sign_Language@msd.govt.nz

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