Appendix 1: Consultation and research methods
Ngā tikanga kokiri rangahau

1. Introduction — Timatatanga

This report is the first comprehensive assessment of human rights undertaken in New Zealand. It is the result of a year-long programme of intensive work to examine the status of human rights in New Zealand. Information was gathered around the key questions: Where do we do well in New Zealand in terms of human rights? Where do we need to do better? What are the key areas needing improvement?

The Human Rights Commission led this work. Almost all Commission staff were involved in one way or another, from contributing to planning, to facilitating consultations, researching literature, and drafting chapters of this report. The Commission’s work was informed by the expertise of specialist groups (a national advisory council, sector advisory groups and a government liaison committee) as well as almost 5,000 individuals, groups and agencies from around the country.

Data collected in the early planning stages by a research company also contributed to the Commission’s work. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used to gather data on peoples’ views and ideas about human rights. These informed communications planning and the development of a framework for this report. It was decided that a framework of human rights issues rather than population-based sectors would be used, with the exception of two population groups (children and disabled people) that demanded separate attention. These groups appear in their own chapters of the report, as well as throughout the other issues-based chapters. While there are many other groups with unique human rights issues, these appear within the remaining chapters.

In addition to a review of existing research and literature, a wide variety of participatory and research methods were used to gather information specifically for this report and the Action Plan. Facilitated consultation meetings, a survey and submission process were used to gather peoples’ views and experiences on a wide range of human rights. More specific projects were initiated to collect data on rights relating to employment, education, freedom of expression, detention, and children and young people.

This multi-faceted approach was informed by the experience of other countries in developing action plans for human rights. It was designed to work most effectively with the diverse range of subject matter and sectors involved, for which no single method could be effective.

This chapter provides an overview of the participant groups and of each method used. More detail is available on the Human Rights Commission website at

2. Advisory groups — Roopu tohutohu


National Advisory Council

The National Advisory Council (NAC) is a group of people broadly representative of the private and community sectors, New Zealand’s geographical spread and ethnic diversity. Members of the NAC have been appointed to lend their expertise to the development of the NZAPHR rather than to represent particular groups. A full list of NAC members appears in Appendix 2 of this report.

The NAC is chaired by Rosslyn Noonan, Chief Human Rights Commissioner. The NAC meets at key points in the project, and work and communication is maintained between meetings.

The role of the NAC is to:

In all of the ways listed above, the NAC has contributed significantly to the development of this report.

The NAC is also tasked with recommending strategies to enhance the promotion and protection of human rights in New Zealand, and making recommendations for the implementation, monitoring and review of the Action Plan. These aspects of the role of the NAC are most relevant to the work that follows this report.

There are three special advisors on the NAC from the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, the Mental Health Commission and the Maori Language Commission. The special advisors provide expert advice to assist the NAC to identify and discuss issues and develop recommendations.

The chair of the Government Liaison Committee (GLC) also attends meetings of the NAC in order to provide a liaison between the two groups, to assist the NAC and to advise on relevant work being done in the public sector.

Government Liaison Committee


The Government Liaison Committee (GLC) is an inter-departmental committee made up of officials from the following Government departments:

Other Government agencies that do not appear as members of the GLC have also contributed in various ways to the development of this report. These include, for example, both the Ministry of Youth Affairs and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs.

The GLC has been established to co-operate with the Human Rights Commission on the development of the New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights. Its role is:

The GLC meets every six weeks. The chair of the GLC (Margaret Dugdale of the Ministry of Justice) also attends meetings of the NAC in order to enable good liaison and communications between the two groups.

The GLC has contributed to the development of this report through the provision of advice, information, and feedback on draft chapters. It has also considered specific issues such as the establishment and government agency involvement on the NAC and Sector Advisory Groups, and the implications of applying a human rights-based analysis to the development of government policy.

Sector Advisory Groups


Three Sector Advisory Groups (Children’s Rights, Disability, and Race Relations) were established to work with the Commission and the National Advisory Council to address issues in specific sectors.

The Sector Advisory Groups have contributed to the development of the Status Report by:

A small number of officials from government departments were invited to attend the groups to provide liaison with their agencies. Officials do not determine the content of the Action Plan or make commitments on behalf of government.

A list of the members of each Sector Advisory Group appears in Appendix 2 of this report.

Children’s Rights Sector Advisory Group

The Children's Rights Sector Advisory Group comprises nine adults and nine children and young people. The group is chaired by Dr Cindy Kiro, the Children’s Commissioner.

Disability Sector Advisory Group


The Disability Sector Advisory Group comprises people with experience of living with a wide range of disabilities, including physical, visual, hearing, intellectual, and experience of mental illness. The group is chaired by Robyn Hunt, Human Rights Commissioner.

Race Relations Sector Advisory Group

The Race Relations Sector Advisory Group comprises people who are Pakeha, Maori, Pacific, Asian, and African. The group is chaired by Joris de Bres, the Race Relations Commissioner.

3. Research projects — Tikanga rangahau

Focus group research


In March 2003, UMR Research conducted qualitative research on behalf of the Human Rights Commission (UMR Research, 2003a). This aimed to identify key human rights issues to be covered by the New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights (NZAPHR) and to inform the development of a communications strategy for the project.

Information was gathered through six creativity focus groups regarding views and opinions about human rights. The six groups consisted of nine people selected on the basis of being creative and receptive to new ideas. The groups are described as follows:

Respondents were set tasks, such as creating collages and communication strategies. They worked in small breakout groups using a variety of materials and were encouraged to be innovative. The effectiveness of the ideas were then tested and discussed with the wider group.

Quantitative survey


The Commission engaged UMR Research to collect data on New Zealanders’ awareness and level of interest in human rights issues, the importance of specific human rights for New Zealanders, and the performance of New Zealand in protecting specific human rights in New Zealand.

To this end, in April 2003 UMR Research conducted a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 750 New Zealanders 18 years and over (UMR Research, 2003b). A Maori sub-sample (79 people) was also selected.

Respondents were asked questions and given a list of responses to select from. General questions were asked about their level of human rights knowledge, interest in human rights, and New Zealand’s overall performance in protecting human rights. Respondents were asked to rank a list of human rights in order of importance and rate New Zealand’s performance on each. More specific questions were asked in relation to children’s rights, knowledge of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

As this research provided benchmark information, for the purposes of comparison there are plans to repeat it at the conclusion of the project to develop the NZAPHR.