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 www.hrc.co.nz/actionplan.
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
The role of the NAC is to:
- assist the Commission to engage widespread participation in the process to develop
- review information collected and analysed by the Commission on the current status
of human rights in New Zealand
- consider recommendations of the Sector Advisory Groups
- make recommendations to the Commission identifying the areas in which New Zealand
could improve its human rights performance.
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:
- Ministry of Justice
- Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
- State Services Commission
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- Ministry of Health
- Ministry of Education
- Ministry of Social Development
- Department of Labour
- Te Puni Kokiri
- Ministry of Women’s Affairs
- Office of Ethnic Affairs.
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
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:
- to inform key agencies and Ministers about the development of the Action Plan,
while maintaining an appropriate degree of independence for the project
- to facilitate public sector input to the development of the Action Plan through
communications and coordination
- to provide advice to the Human Rights Commission on issues affecting the public
- to ensure appropriate points of public sector engagement in the detailed development
of work are identified and actioned.
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
- assisting the Commission to engage in widespread participation by a diverse range
- reviewing and providing feedback on collected data and literature reviews
- providing information on the status of human rights in their areas of expertise.
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
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
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
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
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
- Two comprising members of the general public aged 18-30 years, of mixed gender
- two comprising members of the general public aged 30-45 years, of mixed gender
- one comprising members of the general public, of mixed age and gender
- one comprising Maori members of mixed age and gender.
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.
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