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Race Relations Office doomed

5 March 2001

The Government's announcement that Privacy Commissioner Bruce Slane will be the acting Race Relations Conciliator is the first step towards abolishing the office as a separate entity, National's Justice spokesman Wayne Mapp said today.

"It's simply not credible for Bruce Slane to do the role of the Privacy Commissioner and the Race Relations Conciliator at the same time.

"The Justice Minister is trying to do by stealth what she assured New Zealanders she wouldn't when she announced that the Race Relations Office would be subsumed into a new human rights body.

"The Privacy Commissioner's role was to remain distinct from other commissioners but the Government is already blurring the line," Dr Mapp said.

When the discussion document was released last year the review team recommended including the Office of the Commissioner for Children as well as the Race Relations Office in a new human rights body but recommended keeping the role of the Privacy Commissioner distinct.

"The Government didn't like Rajen Prasad so they've taken the opportunity to replace him with someone they do like until the office is abolished altogether.

"The Labour-Alliance Government has a habit of shooting the messenger. It is little wonder that no appointment was made before Dr Prasad's term expired.

"The Government hasn't appointed a Chief Human Rights Commissioner, they have a backlog of appointments on the Law Commission, in fact, anything that is meant to have Margaret Wilson's stamp on it is dysfunctional," Dr Mapp said.


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