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New Human Rights Commissioner for disability issues

Hon Simon Power
Minister of Justice

Hon Tariana Turia
Minister for Disability Issues

2 September 2011 Media Statement

New Human Rights Commissioner appointed for disability issues

Justice Minister Simon Power and Minister for Disability Issues Tariana Turia have today announced the appointment of Paul Gibson as a part-time Human Rights Commissioner responsible for disability issues.

Mr Power said Mr Gibson, who was until recently the senior disability adviser at Capital and Coast District Health Board, brings a wealth of experience and skills to the newly created role.

“Mr Gibson has been a strong advocate for disability rights. He has extensive experience in leadership roles in disability policy, management, and governance.”

Mrs Turia said the appointment is initially for 18 months and she hopes that legislation will be passed by the next Parliament to make the position a permanent full-time role.

“In late 2009 I began advocating for a dedicated Disability Commissioner in the Human Rights Commission to promote and protect the rights of disabled people.

“Having a dedicated disability commissioner will send a very clear message that disabled people have been heard by this Government and that we are putting in place promotion and monitoring mechanisms that will really make a difference.

“Independent monitoring will ensure that Government agencies concentrate on the things that really matter to disabled people.”


The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires the Government to establish a framework to promote, protect, and monitor implementation of the convention. This appointment completes the independent measures which include a protection and monitoring role for the Office of the Ombudsmen and resourcing the Convention Coalition to monitor rights of disabled people.


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