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HRC Plan makes valuable contribution

31 March 2005 Media Statement

HRC Plan makes valuable contribution

An action plan produced by the Human Rights Commission shows that New Zealand is a strong performer in the area of human rights, but challenges New Zealanders to improve conditions for all living here, Associate Justice Minister Marian Hobbs said today.

The New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights – Mana ki te Tangata presents a number of ‘outcomes’ for New Zealand to aspire to and sets out ‘priorities for action’. These priorities are targeted at all parts of New Zealand society ranging from central government, to community groups, to the HRC itself.

"The HRC Plan will make a valuable contribution to discussions on human rights in New Zealand," Marian Hobbs said. "It will help us all to debate the most effective way of growing a society where there are no barriers to each citizen achieving their full potential."

The HRC Plan notes that New Zealand meets international human rights standards in many respects, and often surpasses them. It also notes that New Zealand has most of the elements necessary for the effective promotion and fulfilment of all human rights.

"These findings are evidence of a culture of respect and dignity that characterises most New Zealanders," the minister said. "They also reflect the substantial progress this government has made over the last five years in meeting the needs of all New Zealanders."

The HRC Plan recommends to the government areas where New Zealand could do better, including in the fields of disabled people and children's rights.

"This government has been very strong on social policy and thus strong on human rights," Marian Hobbs said. "The Working for Families package and the development of the New Zealand Housing Strategy are examples of this government ensuring that the social, economic and cultural needs of New Zealanders are upheld and maintained."

The Minister said she would report to the Cabinet by the end of November on options for further government action.

ENDS

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