The Human Rights Commission (HRC) says it accepts all the recommendations Judge Coral Shaw has made, and is already actioning some of the changes she suggests.
Judge Shaw’s recommendations are in a report commissioned by Justice Minister Andrew Little in February. This followed publicity about an intern’s sexual harassment complaint against a manager’s actions at an HRC after-hours party.
Chief Commissioner David Rutherford said the report was confronting to read. “I take responsibility for the concerns Judge Shaw has raised about the Commission.
“We apologise to all those who have been affected by what has happened, particularly the complainant, “Mr Rutherford said.
The report acknowledges that the Human Rights Commission has continued to function and deliver quality work for New Zealanders, he said.
“The Commissioners are committed to working together to implement the recommendations, and to ensure that this continues to happen.”
“Internally we have started efforts to improve workplace culture, and we will take further steps identified by Judge Shaw to improve the working environment.
“We are going to work with staff, the PSA and other experts to ensure that we address the recommendations in an inclusive way, particularly to those relating to our internal complaints process.”
Mr Rutherford noted that Judge Shaw had identified that baseline funding has not increased since 2007 and that to meet resulting demands on the budget, the size of the organisation has had to shrink.
“We know our staff are passionate about what they do and believe in the values of the HRC. We do too.”