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

 


Ministerial Interference May Affect Human Rights Commission

Ministerial Interference Could Affect Independence of Human Rights Commission


Proposed amendments to the Human Rights Act seriously affect the Human Rights Commission’s ability to act independently of government, Kim Workman, spokesperson for Rethinking Crime and Punishment, told the Justice and Electoral Committee yesterday.

In his oral submission on the Human rights Amendment Bill, Mr Workman told the Select Committee that internationally, human rights institutions are judged on their ability to operate freely and without government interference. “Those requirements are set out in the Paris Principles, which were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1993.”

“This proposed legislation breaches those rights, in that the Chief Commissioner can only determine the extent to which Commissioners engage in activities, and allocate work, after consultation with the Minister.”

“Such a requirement would be unremarkable in a government agency, or crown owned enterprise. But the Human Rights Commission is a different vehicle. It is an organisation which is judged nationally and internationally, on the extent to which it is able to discharge its responsibilities independent of government.”

“Its effect is not simply to allow the Minister to interfere with the Chief Commissioner’s authority, and ultimately his or her integrity. It requires the Minister to co-manage the institution, and direct its operation.”

Mr Workman said that Rethinking was concerned about the implications for the criminal justice sector. “Of the eleven pieces of legislation passed in breach of the Bill of Rights over the last three years, eight of them directly impacted on offenders and prisoners. If the responsible Minister, who is also the Minister of Justice, can direct the Human Rights Chief Commissioner away from work in the criminal justice sector, then issues such as structural discrimination in the justice sector, will go unattended.”

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On Gaza And Burning The Israeli Flag

One of the selling points in New Zealand’s campaign for a temporary seat on the Security Council is that we have a pluckily independent voice to offer on international conflicts.

This image is not entirely self-delusional. When we did occupy a temporary UN Security Council seat in the 1990s, New Zealand was forthright about the need for the international community to actively respond to the Rwanda genocide. On April 14, 1994, New Zealand, Nigeria and the Czech Republic were the only nations to call for a forceful UN intervention to halt the killings. It was a proud moment in the diplomatic record of the Bolger government.

What then, is the current National government doing with respect to the slaughter in Gaza? More>>

 

Parliament Today:

TAIC Report: Urgent Recommendations After Melling Rail Accident

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has made four urgent recommendations to KiwiRail following the accident two months ago (27 May) when a Matangi passenger train collided with a stop block at Melling Station, Lower Hutt. More>>

ALSO:

Red Tape: Local Regulations Go Under Microscope

The Government says it is accepting nearly all of the recommendations the Productivity Commission has made on ways to improve local regulations. More>>

ALSO:

Spending Questions: Claudette Hauiti To Step Aside At Election

National Party President Peter Goodfellow confirms that he has received notification from List MP Claudette Hauiti that she plans to step aside at the 20 September election. More>>

ALSO:

EPA: Board Of Inquiry Rejects Basin Flyover By Majority Of 3 To 1

The independent Board of Inquiry delegated to decide on the Basin Bridge Proposal has, by a majority decision (3 to 1), cancelled the Transport Agency’s Notice of Requirement and declined its resource consent applications for the construction, operation and maintenance of a flyover on State Highway 1 in Wellington City... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Non-Apology To Tania Billingsley

The refusal by Prime Minister John Key to issue a personal apology to Tania Billingsley has been accompanied by an array of excuses... Yesterday though, Key’s choice of words indicated that an apology was the last thing on his mind. More>>

ALSO:

Conventions: Winston Peters On The Nation

Winston Peters opens door to standing in East Coast Bays electorate, says it's an "exciting point" and he's thinking about it. "I’ve had a whole lot of people writing to me and calling up and saying ‘why don’t you have a go in East Coast Bays’." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news