The Language Assistance Services (LAS) 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 they are entitled to

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 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. This programme of work is called the Language Assistance Services Programme.

The programme comprises three separate but interconnected projects to improve the language assistance services provided in New Zealand.

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

The purpose of the procurement project is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the LAS service delivery models and purchasing arrangements.

As part of this project, a new Telephone Interpreting Service is being established to be followed by a new approach for face-to-face interpreting services in 2020.

The new high-quality telephone interpreting service will continue to connect clients to public services and information. In addition it will:

  • be open 24/7
  • offer a high number of languages
  • deliver greater innovation and meet clients' future needs
  • comply with New Zealand Government Procurement & Property (NZGPP) rules.

Moving from Language Line to new telephone interpreting services

Language Line will close on 30 September 2019, when funding finishes. New provider, Ezispeak will be offering on-demand telephone interpreting services for government agencies that are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and in over 180 languages.


MBIE will transition to Ezispeak mid-September 2019, followed by other agencies on 1 October 2019.

Language Assistance Services | Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment