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Parnell agency The Business has released a hilarious “bad lip reading video” around the RWC for the National Foundation of the deaf. “It has gone live this morning on social media and the press release will go to the government,” says The Business strategy director Ben Cochrane.

“There is a petition for people to sign which goes alongside the video.”

The New Zealand Captioning Working Group, with creative assistance from Parnell-based agency The Business,  is asking for our readers’ help to make a real difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of deaf & hard of hearing New Zealanders.

“Video is everywhere these days and accessible on many devices,” says group chairperson Louise

“Or is it? For many of us, who are deaf and hard of hearing, we need video captioning – words on the screen so we can read what you say. Without it, watching TV becomes a lip-reading challenge – which might seem funny for a minute, but not for a lifetime!

“We’d like you to do two simple things – first, sign our petition at and show your support for giving us access, then, most importantly, please share it via your social networks.

“Also, we have a petition paper version available at if you would prefer to sign and scan this back to us at

“So what is captioning? Captions are a little bit like subtitles that you see on a foreign film, but they are in the same language as spoken audio. They also include text for sound effects like door slamming or song lyrics, or simply say “silence” when there is no sound at all.

“Captions show us what other viewers can hear. Without them, TV is a series of moving pictures and guesswork. We’d like captions to be the responsibility of broadcasters. People that need them can turn them on using a button on their remote control or by choosing an option on their phone, tablet or computer.

“In New Zealand we’ve fallen a long way behind our neighbour, Australia. Their TV stations are required to broadcast with captioning. The United States has had captioning legislation for decades. United Kingdom, Canada and much of Europe also require broadcasters to caption.

“But in New Zealand, only one news programme has captioning (One News). No news is captioned on any channel between 11pm and 12 noon the following day. Some main channels cannot support live captioning and some free to air channels have no captioning whatsoever (Prime TV)

“No New Zealand On Demand or TV catch up service offers captioning (including TVNZ On Demand, 3Now, Sky Go, Lightbox).

“Netflix offers 100% captioning.

“Sadly, some excellent examples of great New Zealand content are available in America with closed captioning and not here (eg: Brokenwood Mysteries).

“Deaf & Hard of Hearing New Zealanders need to be able to watch what they want, when they want and how they want – just like everyone else. We want to be part of the conversation about the latest news, reality show, political announcement or rugby result. Captions are not a luxury, they are essential. Captions give us the full story so we can participate too.

“Our campaign is not political – building an accessible, inclusive society is essential for all New Zealanders. Please join with me and the Captioning Working Group to help us get thousands of people to sign this petition so we can create a change.

“We can’t do it without you and very much appreciate your help. Thank you for signing and sharing.”

The New Zealand Captioning Working Group is a collaboration of Deaf Aotearoa, the National Foundation for the Deaf and the Hearing Association New Zealand.

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