February 15, 2022
Lack of indigenous commissioner “embarrasing”
The Chief Human Rights Commissioner says the appointment of an indigenous rights commissioner is long overdue.
Paul Hunt says the position has been vacant since before he took up his role in 2019, and he’s been told that’s for cost reasons.
He says that’s unacceptable, and it should be funded in the next Budget.
“It’s really embarrassing internationally that New Zealand’s national human rights institution does not have on its board a single tangata whenua. It’s really embarrassing we don’t have an indigenous rights commissioner. Even Australia has a commissioner for indigenous peoples’ rights,” Professor Hunt says.
He says an indigenous commissioner would be able to help the commission and the Government think through how to honour and operationalise Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and they could also take some of the load off Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon.