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Rare Congratulations, Human Rights Commission

Rare Congratulations, Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission's simple endorsement of freedom to discriminate in favour of non-smokers is a breath of fresh air. It's the first defence of genuine liberty I've seen from this mob, ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"Perhaps they are having a re-think - will they now support private employers who want a drug-free workplace, and stipulate for drug tests? What about schools, and members of a sports or social clubs who don't want to associate with people with a criminal record?" Mr Franks said.

"I suspect this a simple whack at smokers because smoking is not as PC as drug-taking. It's hard to believe this is the same Commission that told Parliament, on the Clean Slate Bill, that employers should be prohibited from discriminating in favour of people without criminal records.

"In a genuinely free society the government must treat all its citizens the same before the law - but everyone else is free to decide for themselves who they wish to associate with, whether to have smokers in their work places, or their bars and restaurants.

"That's why ACT voted against the Smokefree legislation - but smokers' freedom does not mean they can force those who don't like smoking to hire smokers.

"Social - non-official - discrimination is the best and most natural sanction against anti-social conduct. Laws against bad behaviour - as diverse as littering, hogging food, lying, cruelty to animals, petty dishonesty and bullying - will never work if normal social sanctions are blocked. Though it is undermined by the welfare system, every slob should run into the signal sent by trouble in finding or holding a job.

"Attorney General Margaret Wilson is re-writing her employment law now. She has control of the Human Rights Commission. She could ensure their refreshing announcement is not a flash in the pan. Next month's Employment Relations Amendment Bill should re-affirm private rights to discriminate," Mr Franks said.

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