- Key Focus Areas
- Enquiries & Complaints
- Human Rights
- The Treaty
- Disabled People
- Race Relations
- International & UN
- Office of Human Rights Proceedings
- What can I complain about?
- Resolving Discrimination and Harassment guide
- Areas of public life
- Government or Public Sector Activities
- Access by the public to places, vehicles and facilities
- Industrial and professional associations, qualifying bodies and vocational training bodies
- Provision of goods and services
- Provision of land, housing and other accommodation
- Discriminatory Laws
- Accommodating disability and religious beliefs
- Accommodation, property, landlords and human rights
- ACC and age discrimination
- Bullying, harassment and/or violence at school
- Caring for disabled adult family members
- Clubs and the Human Rights Act
- English language only in the workplace
- Funeral arrangements
- Human Rights and Redundancy
- Job application questions
- Maori Party and the Human Rights Act
- Moko: your rights
- New Zealands official languages
- Positive actions to achieve equality
- Prisoners’ rights
- Racially offensive comments
- Reviewing decisions
- The School Ball
- Smoking and human rights
- Wearing cultural, religious or national items
- What do I do?
- What happens?
- Further links
Enquiries & Complaints Guide
Positive actions to achieve equality
Why can some groups be treated differently in some situations?
Different treatment may be necessary to enable a particular group of people to achieve equality with others.
Both the Human Rights Act and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act recognise that to overcome discrimination positive actions may be needed to enable particular groups to achieve equal outcomes with other groups in our society. These positive actions are called ‘special measures’ or ‘affirmative action’. They are not discriminatory if they assist people in certain groups to achieve equality. Any special measure must be based on information that shows that the present position is unequal.
Groups of people that may be entitled to special measures are linked by one of the grounds of unlawful discrimination in the Human Rights Act (e.g. sex, ethnicity, disability). Examples include government programmes targeted to specific ethnic groups or university entry quotas for Maori and Pacific people.
Special measures are an important tool to reduce the impact of discrimination. Such measures are intended to be temporary and should end when the inequality is eliminated.
For more information:
- the Commission’s Guidelines on Measures to Ensure Equality
- the Institute of Policy Studies publication Special Measures to Reduce Ethnic Disadvantage in New Zealand.