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Statement Regarding Commissioner Meng Foon

Te Kāhui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission is responding this afternoon to media reports published today in relation to Kaihautū Whakawhanaungatanga-ā-iwi Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon.

The reports state that Foon has made family donations to political parties during his time as Commissioner, and these raise questions in terms of his perceived neutrality.

It is stated that one of these donations was in support of Labour MP for East Coast, Kiritapu Allan. The reports indicate that the donations occurred two years before Allan was appointed as Minister of Justice. Commissioner Foon has commented that his family is known to support leaders locally, from across the political spectrum.

Prior to joining the Commission, Foon served multiple terms as Gisborne mayor, a local community to which he has demonstrated a deep commitment and in which he holds a unique position.

The appointment of a person to the role of a Human Rights Commissioner after having held previous public roles always requires careful management. While the Commission does not make such appointments, it takes the issue of neutrality extremely seriously.

The media reports will be carefully assessed and no further public comment is planned at this stage.

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