The Commission recently held three public consultations to discuss issues that are likely to have an impact on New Zealand’s human rights record, which is set to be reviewed by UN Committees next year.
In 2017, New Zealand's human rights record will be reviewed by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
The well-attended public consultations discussed issues relating to mental health, poverty and housing, and education in New Zealand and were used to identify priority areas for action ahead of New Zealand's 2017 ICESCR and CERD reviews.
Issues that arose from consultations included:
- Inadequate and restrictive funding
- Family/whanau involvment
- Navigating the mental health system
- Alternative interventions
- Data collection
- Staff capacity and development
Poverty & Housing
- Lack of adequate housing
- Security of tenure for renters
- High proportion of benefits/income spent on rent
- Accessible housing for people with disabilities
- Affect of the free market on the housing market
- The Living wage
- Sustainable development goal(s) to reduce poverty
Attendees at each of the events were also made familiar with upcoming opportunities to engage on these issues through UN reporting processes and learn why they should, and how they can, participate in these international reporting mechanisms.
The issues and themes raised will inform the Commission’s independent engagement with UN human rights committees and will also inform ongoing work domestically.
The Commission is keen to continue to engage with participants on these issues and now looking at how they can be replicated across other parts of the country.