July Tūrangawaewae Newsletter

July Tūrangawaewae Newsletter

July 31, 2019

Kia ora koutou!

Welcome to the latest Human Rights Commission newsletter Tūrangawaewae – a summary of recent developments on the New Zealand human rights landscape, and the work the Commission is doing for a better, fairer New Zealand.

In this issue, we look at the announcement of our new Race Relations Commissioner, our new sexual harassment guide, two of our Commissioners visiting Ihumātao, the conclusion of the Universal Periodic Review process and more.


Photo of Paul Hunt

New guide for making a complaint about sexual harassment released

An updated guide with new information on making a complaint about sexual harassment has just been released. The guide provides information on how the Commission's complaint process works, how an employer should deal with sexual harassment complaints, the mediation process for dealing with a complaint, the process if you've been accused of sexual harassment and where other support is available. Read more here.

Photo of Meng Foon

Commission welcomes new Race Relations Commissioner

Outgoing Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon has been appointed the Race Relations Commissioner, and will take up his new position in late-August. The appointment was announced by Justice Minister Andrew Little earlier this month. Mr Foon joins the Commission after 18 years as Mayor of Gisborne. He is fluent in te reo Māori, Seyip, Cantonese and English, and is learning Mandarin. Read more here.

Photo of Ihumātao maunga

Human Rights Commissioners visit Ihumātao

Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt and Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo visited Ihumātao on Friday 26 July. “We are here to respectfully look, listen and learn,” Mr Hunt said. "The Human Rights Commission acknowledges the mamae felt by many and the historic injustices that have led to the protest at Ihumātao,” he said. Read more here.

Photo of Paula Tesoriero

Changes to Funded Family Care are positive but more needed — Disability Rights Commissioner

Changes to Funded Family Care have been welcomed by Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero. But she believes more work is needed on improving the needs assessment system and increasing funding across disability support services. Ms Tesoriero says the changes announced this month to the Funded Family Care payment policy and lifting the prohibition on making complaints are positive. "I think this is a really significant set of decisions." However, Ms Tesoriero says more work still needs to also be done on the onerous process of needs assessment. Read more here.

United Nations Indigenous Experts release report on New Zealand

The United Nations (UN) has released its advice to support New Zealand’s implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Advisory Note was produced by a UN expert body on Indigenous Peoples’ rights, known as the EMRIP, to help New Zealand develop an action plan to implement the UN Declaration. The advice follows a visit to New Zealand by the UN experts in April, when they met with various organisations, experts and Government, and attended community hui in Auckland and Wellington. Read more here.

Photo of a wharf

"Climate change is a human rights issue" — Human Rights Commission

In our submission on the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill we argued that climate change poses considerable human rights challenges for New Zealand and globally. Our submission addresses the unique human rights challenges of climate change, why the Zero Carbon Bill needs to pay particular attention to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and New Zealand's obligations under the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Peoples and other considerations. Read more here.

Photo of Paul Hunt

New Zealand needs to address serious economic and social human rights issues

The government’s adoption of 160 United Nations (UN) human rights recommendations highlights the need to face up to the serious economic and social human rights issues, Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt says. Mr Hunt was commenting on the government’s adoption this month of 160 of the 194 recommendations that were made as part of the UN Human Rights Council review into New Zealand’s human rights record under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which takes place every five years. Read more here.

Ablism cartoon

Cartoon challenges “ableist” attitudes towards disabled young people

A new cartoon shows the sorts of discrimination and attitudes that young disabled New Zealanders can face in their daily lives. From 2016 to 2018, researchers from Massey University’s SHORE & Whariki Research Centre worked with 35 young people with a range of disabilities and their whānau, and learnt first-hand about their everyday lives. They found that the biggest barriers to living a good life were discrimination and ableist attitudes. Read more here.

Armed held out through prison bars

Annual report on Monitoring Places of Detention released

The latest annual report from organisations who monitor places where people are deprived of their liberty, has been tabled in Parliament, outlining persistent issues faced by people in detention. The 2017/18 report identifies the need for continued focus on the over-representation of Māori, the use of detention facilities for those awaiting assessment by mental health professionals, and the detention of children and young people in facilities that are not designed to meet their needs. Read more here.

Photo of Karanina Sumeo looking straight into the camera

Why New Zealand needs pay transparency

"Are all New Zealanders in the same role or job, getting paid the same"? That was the question posed in a speech to the Council of Trade Unions by Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo. In the speech she called for fairness at all stages of work – applying for a job, equal pay, fair working conditions, and equality of opportunity for training and promotion, and for work to go into promoting pay transparency. Read more here.

Photo of Paul Hunt

Hui on disability rights

Disability rights hui were held around the country along with an online survey to inform a report to the Government and the United Nations on the status of disability rights. The hui were hosted by members of the Independent Monitoring Mechanism (IMM): the Human Rights Commission, Disabled Peoples Organisations’ Coalition and the Ombudsman. Read more here.

Person holding a Disability Pride sign

Disability Pride Week is back for 2019!

Disabled people want to live in an Aotearoa New Zealand where they can be proud. But currently, disabled people are too commonly portrayed narrowly as inspirational or pitiable in media representations, though the visibility of disabled journalists and writers is increasing. For the last three years now, Disability Pride Week, from Monday 16 September till Sunday 22 Sept, has been a vehicle to shift those conversations. Read more here.