Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero will be the acting head of the Human Rights Commission from today.
Ms Tesoriero has agreed to take on the leadership role short term following the decision by Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford to leave the Commission at the end of the financial year in June.
Ms Tesoriero, who was appointed in late 2017, will be acting in the role until three new Commissioners, including a new Chief Commissioner, are appointed.
Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford has been Chief Commissioner since 2011 and his term expired in 2016. He had earlier indicated his intention not to seek reappointment and has now advised that he will leave the Commission at the end of June.
Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue’s term expires in June 2018. She has indicated that she will not be seeking reappointment. However, she has ongoing national and international commitments and she has agreed to continue in her role until new Commissioners are appointed.
Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy’s term expired in March 2018. She has not sought reappointment and will leave the Commission at the end of June.
Ms Tesoriero said her focus will be on working with Chief Executive Cynthia Brophy to deliver the Commission’s workplan.
“We’ll also continue implementing the recommendations of retired Judge Coral Shaw’s report on the Commission’s internal processes and culture.
“Ultimately the new Commissioners will complete the work of implementing the review recommendations identified in retired Judge Shaw’s report. In the meantime, everyone at the Commission is committed to begin making the changes so they can be implemented as quickly and smoothly as possible,” Ms Tesoriero said.
Ms Tesoriero paid tribute to the work of the Chief Commissioner, who has decided to leave.
“David has been a strong and active advocate for human rights over a number of years. David’s legacy will be that he has made a difference to the lives of many New Zealanders.”