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UN examines NZ performance on racial discrimination

UN Committee examines New Zealand government's performance on racial discrimination

Peace Movement Aotearoa

14 August 2017

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the independent body of human rights experts which monitors state party compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), will examine New Zealand's performance on 15 and 16 August, during its 93rd session in Geneva.

The Committee will hold two three-hour interactive dialogue sessions with government representatives on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, which will be webcast live - details of how you can watch the two sessions, as well as links to background information, an outline of the process, updates and information on the 93rd session, are included below.

When considering the government's performance, in addition to New Zealand's written report and the interactive dialogues, the Committee will take into account parallel reports from Peace Movement Aotearoa, the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, Action for Children & Youth Aotearoa, Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL), Multicultural New Zealand, and a combined NGO report from STIR: Stop Institutional Racism, Te Runanga o Aotearoa, New Zealand Nurses Organisation, Auckland University of Technology, Pukenga Consultancy Ltd, Tamaki Tiriti Workers, Health Promotion Forum, Awa Associates, Waka Oranga and the New Zealand Public Health Association.

Issues raised in the Peace Movement Aotearoa and other NGO reports include:

- the denial of the right of self-determination for hapu and iwi, the constitutional framework and the Treaty of Waitangi, the Waitangi Tribunal WAI 1040 report 'The Declaration and the Treaty / He Whakaputanga me te Tiriti', and the Matike Mai Aotearoa report;

- the government's failure to meet the minimum standard of free, prior and informed consent in relation to Maori land, territories and resources, with examples such as the New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Bill, Ihumatao and the Special Housing Area in Mangere, the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, deep-sea oil seismic exploration and drilling, and the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011;

- concerns around the care and protection of Maori children, including the proposal to deprioritise placing Maori children in state care with whanau, hapu or iwi (Oranga Tamariki Bill), the treatment of Maori children in state care, and access to education, health services and a minimum standard of living for Maori and Pasifika children;

- institutional racism and structural discrimination in the administration of justice, employment, and the health system; and

- the National Action Plan on human rights, migrant workers and international students, and support for community organisations promoting cultural diversity and migrant settlement.

The government delegation to CERD - which comprises officials from the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Social Development, Corrections, Police, Ministry of Education, Te Puni Kokiri, Office of Ethnic Communities, and diplomatic representatives from the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the UN - will be led by the Deputy Chief Executive, Policy, Ministry of Justice.

The Committee's Concluding Observations on New Zealand's performance will be released after the 93rd session concludes on 25 August.

When and where you can watch the session

The dialogue between Committee members and the government delegation will be webcast live at 3pm, Tuesday, 15 August (NZ time: 1am, Wednesday, 16 August) and 10am, Wednesday, 16 August (NZ time: 8pm, Wednesday, 16 August) on UN Web TV at http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/human-rights-treaty-bodies/committee-on-the-elimination-of-racial-discrimination

Where you can get more information

- Background information and an outline of the process - including information on the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), New Zealand and ICERD, the government's report to CERD, the List of Themes CERD sent to the government, NGO parallel reports to CERD, what CERD has said about New Zealand government, and useful links - is available at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/cerd93.htm

- Updates and information on the 93rd session - when and where you can watch the session, the government delegation, who said what in Geneva, and media coverage - is available at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/cerd93-sess.htm

- New Zealand and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination index page, http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/cerd.htm


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Election Day Results

2017 General Election - Preliminary Count

National won 46% of the vote with Labour on 35.8%.

NZ First won 7.5%, with the Greens on 5.8%.

ACT held on to Epsom, but failed to get more MPs.

The Maori Party were wiped out of Parliament.

There are still special votes to be counted, but clearly National is in the box seat to form the next Government.

The Greens can not contemplate a deal with National.

So, Winston Peters will have to make a choice and could back National or a combined Labour/Green coalition.

The most likely result is National and NZ First will reach some sort of deal to form the next government.

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