The Language Assistance Services Programme

Language assistance services include interpreting and translation services that ensure people with limited or no English language skills can access public services and information.

Improving language assistance services

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Department of Internal Affairs are working with other central government agencies to improve access to public services and information for clients with limited English through a cross-government programme of work called the Language Assistance Services Programme.

This multi-year programme will establish a new, comprehensive service-delivery model to provide higher quality, more consistent and better-coordinated language assistance services across New Zealand’s public sector.

The programme comprises 3 separate but interconnected projects to improve the language assistance services provided in New Zealand. We are introducing:

  • a cross-government policy and service guidelines on language assistance services
  • a new standards and certification framework for language practitioners working in the public sector, and
  • new procurement models to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of how we deliver language assistance services.

LAS Programme information sheet PDF 394KB

LAS Programme implementation diagram PDF 204KB

Summary report on the use of interpreters and other language assistance in New Zealand PDF 112KB

The procurement project

As part of this project, a new telephone interpreting service has been established to replace the former Language Line telephone interpreting service which closed on 30 September 2019.

The new telephone interpreting service helps clients with limited English communicate with government agencies by providing telephone interpreters of over 180 languages who are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The new service is provided by Ezispeak.

The next phase of this project will develop a new procurement approach for face-to-face interpreting services across the public sector.

Information about the new telephone interpreting service is available on the MBIE and Ezispeak websites.

Language Assistance Services | MBIE