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Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner

Friday December 7 2001 Media Statement

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner

A position of Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner is to be established within the new Human Rights Commission.

The new Commission is established by the Human Rights Amendment Bill now before parliament. It results from a merger of the old Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Race Relations Conciliator.

The new Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner will be a member of the Human Rights Commission and work in a similar way to the Race Relations Commissioner: The EEO Commissioner will:

- co-ordinate and promote EEO initiatives and work alongside the Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Race Relations Commissioner and Commissioners as a whole;
- lead discussions of the HRC in matters relating to EEO;
- provide advice and leadership on matters relating to EEO arising from activities undertaken by the HRC in the performance of its general human rights functions; and
- liaise with and complement other EEO organisations such as the successful EEO Trust, which has involved hundreds of employers in EEO activities.

The idea of a Commissioner was proposed by the Ministerial Advisory Group on EEO, set up earlier in the year to advise on ways of empowering people to overcome disadvantage in the labour market. The idea was supported by a number of submissions on the Human Rights Amendment Bill.

“Equal Employment Opportunities are essential to access talent and overcome the disadvantage experienced by groups and communities which face discrimination. It means giving everyone and every group a fair go in employment. The right to be treated on your merits, and not according to stereotypes or prejudice is a basic human right,” said Margaret Wilson.

“The work of the EEO Trust has shown the many business benefits that can be realised by employers promoting EEO. Great progress has been made in recent years; but we can’t become complacent. By working together in partnership we can do more to recognise and realise the potential of all people. This will help New Zealand become a magnet nation for talent – both home grown and from around the world”.

ENDS


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