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


UN Report Raises a Broad Range of Issues

Human Rights Commission

Media Release

19 August 2007



UN Report Raises a Broad Range of Issues for Discussion

The report of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination raises a broad range of issues for discussion, says Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.

Although initial media focus has been primarily on the references to the Foreshore and Seabed Act, the Waitangi Tribunal and Treaty Settlements, there are 23 substantive issues specifically relating to New Zealand, of which seven are matters which the Committee particularly welcomes.  These include the adoption of the New Zealand Settlement Strategy and Action Plan for migrants and refugees, the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme, the reduction in social and economic disparities for Maori and Pacific people, especially in relation to employment and education, the improved status of the Maori language and increased funding for human rights.

There are four issues on which the Committee wants a progress report in twelve months time. These relate to the Private Member’s Bill currently before a Parliamentary Select Committee proposing the deletion of references to the Treaty in legislation (which the Committee notes the Government has said it will not support), the inclusion of references to the Treaty in the school curriculum (which the Committee notes the Government is currently considering)  unrestricted access for “undocumented” children to education (which the Committee notes the Government is addressing in part), and a renewal of dialogue on the foreshore and seabed legislation.

The Committee has welcomed the steps being taken to address the disproportionate representation of Maori and Pacific people in the criminal justice system, but calls for further efforts as a high priority.  The Committee would also like to see an assessment of the use of the provision in the Sentencing Act (Section 27) to take into account offenders’ community and cultural background in sentencing.

The Committee calls on the Police to collect data on complaints, prosecutions and sentences for racially motivated crime, and recommends proactive measures to increase the knowledge and use of complaints procedures concerning racial discrimination, particularly for the most vulnerable groups.

While noting that there are few instances of detention of asylum seekers in correctional facilities, the Committee wants to see this practice cease altogether.

The Committee encourages further consideration of how human rights are protected by the Bill of Rights Act, the powers and funding of the Waitangi Tribunal, the Treaty settlement process, and the status of the Treaty in legislation. These are all important matters which merit further public discussion, although there will be divergent views as to the most appropriate solutions in the New Zealand context.  The Committee welcomes the progress that has been made in historical Treaty settlements but seeks an assurance that the cut-off date for lodgment of claims in 2008 will not unfairly bar legitimate claims.

The Committee also seeks more detailed information on measures taken by the Government to implement the New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights.  This reinforces the decision recently taken by the Government to instruct Government Department Chief Executives to consider how they can implement relevant priorities in the Action Plan in their annual planning process.

Mr de Bres said the Human Rights Commission welcomed the UN report, which provides a good basis for further discussion of important race relations and human rights issues.  Members of Parliament from the major parties have been invited to include comment on the report when they address the New Zealand Diversity Forum in Auckland on Tuesday 28 August on their parties’ priorities for race relations.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Rapid Antigen Testing

National Party leader Christopher Luxon is being allowed to get away with murder. Luxon is not being challenged over his repeated assertions that the rest of the world has enjoyed ready access to rapid antigen tests (aka RATS) for a year, so why aren’t we? In fact, the reality across the Tasman for the past month has seen a colossal shambles unfold over (a) the availability and (b) the affordability of these tests. RATS have become a case of panic buying on steroids. Amid reports of price gouging, stock-piling, socially inequitable access and empty shelves...


The Treasury: Financial Statements Of The Government Of NZ For The 5 Months Ended 30 November 2021
Interim Financial Statements of the Government of New Zealand for the 5 months ended 30 November 2021... More>>


Government: Announces Three Phase Public Health Response To Omicron
The Government has announced a three phase Omicron plan that aims to slow down and limit the spread of an outbreak, Associate Minister of Health, Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. “Through the course of managing Omicron, we will be taking a phased approach. As case numbers grow both testing and isolation approaches will change in response... More>>

Save The Children: Thousands Join Call To Retain New Zealand’s Children’s Commissioner

More than 6000 Kiwis have joined Save the Children New Zealand’s call to retain the vital role of Children’s Commissioner, as the Government considers a new bill proposing major changes to the office, including the removal of a named Children’s Commissioner... More>>

TradeMe: New Zealand Rents Climb $40 Per Week In One Year

New Zealand’s national median rent climbed $40 a week in 2021 to reach $560 in December, according to Trade Me’s latest Rental Price Index. Trade Me Property Sales Director Gavin Lloyd said last month’s national median weekly rent showed an 8 per cent annual increase... More>>

Transparency International: New Zealand Retains Top Ranking In Annual Corruption Perceptions Index
New Zealand is once again ranked least corrupt in the world by Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index. This year New Zealand’s score of 88 out of 100 is unchanged resulting in it being first equal with Denmark and Finland... More>>

TradeMe: Property Prices Increase By A Record 25% In One Year
In December, the national average asking price jumped by a quarter year on year, to reach a new high of $956,150, according to the latest Trade Me Property Price Index. Trade Me Property Sales Director Gavin Lloyd said last month’s national average asking price increase was the largest on record... More>>




InfoPages News Channels