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Discriminatory Racing Rules Should Be Removed

20/09/01

Discriminatory Racing Rules Should Be Removed

Discriminatory provisions are contained in the Rules of Racing and should be removed before the Racing Bill is enacted the Human Rights Commission advised the Government Administration Select Committee today.

Chief Human Rights Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan expressed the Commission’s concerns about a recent High Court decision, which allowed New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing to discriminate against a woman because she was married to a man who had a conviction for assaulting her.

“Thoroughbred Racing has a legitimate concern about banned people using others as a front to continue racing horses, however a rule that discriminates on the grounds of family status and automatically bans spouses is not the way to deal with this, “said Ms.Noonan.

“The days when people could be assumed to be the puppets of their partners are long gone and the Rules of Racing should be required to respect this and also the fundamental human rights that are contained in the Human Rights Act”.

The Commission’s submission to the Select Committee focused on the issues which this case brought up: In the Racing Bill, the Rules of Racing are granted the status of regulations. Under section 151 (1) of the Human Rights Act not only legislation but also regulations are currently exempt from New Zealand human rights law.

“It is important that instruments that have the status of regulations, such as the Rules of Racing, comply with basic human rights standards because until they do people will continue to be unfairly discriminated against and will suffer damage, “said Ms.Noonan.

Ms Noonan told the select committee that the Commission had already received another complaint about the racing rule that discriminates on the grounds of family status. That complaint was on hold until there was a Court of Appeal decision in the first case.

However, the Commission agreed that the racing codes should have the power to make Rules, as the Bill provides, subject to a requirement that such Rules not conflict with any other Act or the general law of New Zealand.


Released by the Human Rights Commission. For further details call Miriam Bell, Human Rights Commission Communications Officer on 025 313 239 or 09 375 8627.

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