Sign language interpreters will no longer be used during parliamentary question time because it is putting pressure on other services the small pool of interpreters offer deaf people, such as going to the doctor or school.

New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) interpretation for oral questions, which are held in Parliament for about an hour, three days a week, was introduced in May as an extension of an NZSL Week initiative.

Clerk of the House of Representatives David Wilson said a decision had been made jointly with Deaf Aotearoa to stop the service in response to concerns that resources were being stretched.

"The pool of interpreters is very small and we've been told that having interpreters at Parliament every day that the House sits is putting a lot of pressure on the services they offer in other areas like at the doctor, in schools or when getting legal advice," Wilson said.


"We've listened to those concerns and responded by returning to offering NZSL at Parliament for significant events."

Planning was under way to provide NZSL access to information on the role and workings of Parliament and how deaf people could engage with the business of Parliament.

Parliament would continue to offer sign language interpretation for significant events such as during oral questions during New Zealand Sign Language Week, the Budget
Statement presented by the Minister of Finance on Budget day, and speeches from party leaders.

"We know some people in the deaf community really liked the NZSL interpretation for oral questions so it's a careful balancing act," Wilson said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern uses an interpreter for her post-Cabinet press conference on Mondays. That usually takes about 30-40 minutes.

A spokeswoman said interpreters would continue to be used for that press conference.

New Zealand Sign Language is one of the country's official languages and used by more than 20,000 people.