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NZ human rights record healthy

NZ human rights record healthy

A new report shows that New Zealand overall has a very positive record on human rights, says Justice Minister Phil Goff.

The report, Human Rights in New Zealand Today – Nga Tika Tangata o te Motu, has been published by the Human Rights Commission and assesses the status of human rights in New Zealand.

"When measured against United Nations standards, New Zealand has one of the best human rights records in the world. We have ratified the six major UN human rights conventions, reflecting the value that New Zealanders place on fairness and security," Mr Goff said.

"We are not perfect. The report highlights areas where we are challenged to do better but none of the issues touched upon will come as a surprise to any New Zealander. "The status reports identifies where New Zealand can do better, including in the areas of child poverty and the rights of disabled people. The government already has a range of policies designed to improve the rights in both areas.

"Earlier this year we introduced legislation that gives people with disabilities, who are employed in sheltered workshops, the same employment rights as every other worker. Last year New Zealand made a significant contribution to the development of a UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities.

"The Working for Families package in this year's Budget is estimated to reduce child poverty by up to 70 per cent. By April next year 260,000 families will benefit from family support increases, significantly alleviating child poverty.

"The lowest unemployment rate since the 1980s is also assisting in this regard, while policies in education and health target areas where there is greatest need.

"The 2003 Budget increased funding to Child, Youth and Family to the tune of $111 million over three years to build the agency's capability, improve services and to ensure it worked more effectively with other agencies," Mr Goff said.

The report also addresses issues such as freedom of speech, race relations, the right to housing, and the right to work, and the impact of biotechnology.

The report does not require a formal government response but will be used to develop an action plan to be presented to the government in December.

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