Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

New Human Rights Law Welcomed

30/12/01

New Human Rights Law Welcomed

Chief Human Rights Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan and Race Relations Conciliator Gregory Fortuin have welcomed the passing into law of the Human Rights Amendment Act this week.

“The new law strengthens human rights in New Zealand by making Government itself more accountable, streamlining the handling of disputes and amalgamating the two offices of human rights and race relations” said Ms Noonan.

“These changes can only allow us to improve on our capacity to promote and protect human rights in New Zealand”.

Ms Noonan added that the two primary functions now specified in the Act provide the new Commission with a clear focus with which to address systemic human rights issues. These functions are to:

- Advocate and promote respect for, and an understanding and appreciation of, human rights in New Zealand society.

- Encourage the maintenance and development of harmonious relations between individuals and among the diverse groups in New Zealand society.

Mr Fortuin said that fears that the work of the Race Relations Office would disappear are unfounded.

“Merging the two organisations recognises that discrimination takes many forms and it is not always simple to separate out race from religion for example; New Zealanders no longer have to make such distinctions when pursuing concerns about both human rights and race relations.

The new Commission will include a race relations team, which will be led by the Race Relations Commissioner, underlining the new organisations continuing commitment to race and ethnic relations.

Ms Noonan emphasized that, while the new Commission will focus on systemic issues rather than individual complaints, the interests of individuals and small groups will not be overlooked.

“The new legislation is intended to strengthen human rights protections for all New Zealanders and, now that the changes required by the legislation have been finalised, the new Commission will be working hard to provide services - such as a revamped disputes resolution service - to achieve its new goals”.

Besides joining up the two existing organisations and introducing a new system for handling complaints, the Act also:

- Establishes an Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner who will be a member of the Human Rights Commission and provide leadership on EEO issues in a similar way to the Race Relations Commissioner.

- Disestablishes the role of the Proceedings Commissioner and creates a separate Office for Human Rights Proceedings to pursue litigation when the Commission’s efforts at mediation have not succeeded.

- Replaces the Complaints Review Tribunal with a Human Rights Tribunal which is empowered to make a Declaration of Inconsistency when it finds Government laws and regulations that discriminate. The Tribunal can not overturn the will of Parliament but a Declaration of Inconsistency must be reported to Parliament by the responsible Minister along with advice on what the executive’s response will be.

- Gives the new Commission responsibility for the development of a National Plan of Action for human rights in New Zealand.

- Empowers the new Commission to promote by research, education, and discussion a better understanding of the human rights dimensions of the Treaty of Waitangi and their relationship with domestic and international human rights law.

Ms Noonan and Mr Fortuin said that Commissioners and staff of both the Commission and the Race Relations Office are looking forward to working on the changes contained in the Bill.

“We are all excited about getting on with the job of fulfilling the challenging directives set out for us in the new Act - developing a robust human rights culture and promoting harmonious diversity which will benefit everyone in this country.”

For further details call Miriam Bell, Human Rights Commission Communications Officer on 09 375 8627.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Ellen Rykers on The Dig: Community Conservation – The Solution To The Biodiversity Crisis?

There are backyard trapping networks doing their bit for Predator Free 2050, farmers planting native trees along their waterways, and iwi protecting whenua rāhui. There are 62 biodiversity sanctuaries across 56,000 hectares, with around two-thirds of them community-led. There are citizen scientists counting birds in their backyards and landowners conserving habitat in 3,500 Queen Elizabeth II National Trust covenants.

It’s increasingly clear that a government agency alone cannot combat the biodiversity crisis successfully. These grass-roots initiatives are a growing resource in the conservation toolbox. More>>

Closing This Weekend! Have Your Say On The Issues For NZ's New Biodiversity Strategy

Scoop and PEP invite you to help decide how we should protect and restore our biodiversity over the next 50 years using Scoop’s online engagement platform, HiveMind. HAVE YOUR SAY HERE>>

Biodiversity HiveMind Preliminary Progress Report
Open data report summarising preliminary findings of the Biodiversity HiveMind. Read Progress Report Here>>

 

PM In Japan: Jacinda Ardern’s Remarks Following Abe Summit

Today we discussed a wide range of topics. Broadly the themes were: a deeper, high-value trade and investment relationship, greater cooperation in the Pacific; and strengthening our security partnership. More>>

ALSO:

Replacing All But Chair: Twyford Appoints Five NZTA Board Members

Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced the appointment of five new members to the NZ Transport Agency Board... There remain two vacancies on the NZTA Board which will be filled in due course. More>>

ALSO:

Climate Change: Adaptation And Risk Assessment Framework Released

“We are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate such as coastal inundation and increasingly frequent and severe droughts, floods, fires and storms. This framework is an acknowledgement that we must start adapting”, James Shaw said today. More>>

ALSO:

Ihumātao: Mana Whenua Reach Decision On Land

Māori King Tūheitia says mana whenua have finally reached consensus over what to do with Ihumātao - they want it back. More>>

ALSO:

PM To Japan, New York: Ardern To Meet Trump During UN Trip

“I’m looking forward to discussing a wide range of international and regional issues with President Trump, including our cooperation in the Pacific and the trade relationship between our countries." More>>

PM's Post-Cab: "A Way Forward"

At Monday's post-cabinet press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a number of actions in response to the Labour Party's mishandling of sexual assault complaints. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Allegations Of Left Wing Media Bias

“Left wing bias” accusations date back at least to the mid 1990s... The charge of left wing bias was ridiculous then, and is ridiculous now. More>>

Next Wave Of Reforms: Gun Registration And Licensing Changes Announced

“The Bill includes a register to track firearms and new offences and penalties that can be applied extraterritorially for illegal manufacture, trafficking, and for falsifying, removing, or altering markings – which are a new requirement under the Firearms Protocol.” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels