July 16, 2018
Little tries to take politics out of human rights picks
Justice Minister Andrew Little has set up an independent panel to recommend replacements for the chief Human Rights Commissioner, Race Relations Commissioner and Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner.
The Human Rights Commissioner is down to one member, and a review of its organisational culture prompted by claims of sexual harassment found divisions between staff, managers and commissioners and a lack of cooperation and communication between commissioners.
Mr Little says there has been an encouraging response from a broad cross-section of the community to advertisements for new commissioners.
The panel is chaired by former Ministry for Pacific Peoples chief executive Pauline Winter of Te Atiawa and Taranaki, former Race Relations Conciliator Sir John Clarke of Ngāti Porou and Ngāpuhi; and Social Services Commission deputy commissioner Al Morrison.
Mr Little says it's important New Zealand has an independent and effective Human Rights Commission and honours its international commitments on human rights.
He plans to engage in cross-party consultation before making a recommendation of new commissioners to the Governor-General to ensure the appointments are non-partisan and apolitical.
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