Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination, New
Zealand, A/57/18, paras. 412-434 (2002).
on the Elimination of
Sixty-first session (5-23 August 2002)
412. The Committee considered the combined twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth
periodic reports of New Zealand, which were due on 22 December 1995, 1997 and
1999, respectively, submitted as one document (CERD/C/362/Add.10), at its 1539th
and 1540th meetings (CERD/C/SR.1539 and 1540), held on 14 and 15 August 2002.
At its 1551st meeting (CERD/C/SR.1551), held on 22 August 2002, it adopted the
following concluding observations.
413. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for its detailed
report, which contains pertinent information on the law and practice relating
to the implementation of the Convention. It further welcomes the supplementary
and updated information provided to the Committee, including the detailed answers
given by the delegation to the questions posed by members of the Committee.
414. The Committee notes with appreciation that the report contains information
on developments, as well as responses to the concerns identified by the Committee
in its concluding observations on the previous report.
415. Positive aspects
416. The Committee welcomes the information that the "fiscal envelope" policy,
which limited both the total funds available for the settlement of claims with
Maori and for the settlement of all historical claims, was abandoned in 1996 in
favour of a programme of "fair and equitable" settlements. The Committee is encouraged
by the progress that has since been made on the settlement of historical Maori
grievances and claims with individual iwi (tribes), including components
of financial compensation and formal apology on behalf of the Crown.
417. The Committee welcomes acknowledgement of the disadvantaged position in society
of minorities, especially Maori, and accordingly appreciates the large number
of initiatives, programmes and projects in the areas of health, education, employment,
social welfare, housing, language and culture, and correctional services, which
are designed to address the specific needs of Maori, Pacific Island people and
persons from other groups such as refugees and ethnic minorities.
418. The Committee welcomes the examination by the New Zealand Human Rights Commission
of all domestic acts, regulations, government policies and administrative practices
with a view to assessing their consistency with the anti-discrimination provisions
of the Human Rights Act, a programme known as Consistency 2000. It further welcomes
the comprehensive audit process undertaken by the Government to identify and resolve
possible inconsistencies between the Human Rights Act and other legislation and
regulations, known as Compliance 2001.
419. The Committee notes with satisfaction the provisions of the Human Rights
Amendment Act 2001, which amalgamates the New Zealand Human Rights Commission
and the office of the Race Relations Conciliator and provides for a single complaints
system for the determination of human rights complaints as well as for the possibility
of challenging government action before the Human Rights Review Tribunal and the
420. The Committee welcomes the introduction of amendments to the electoral roll
system, in particular the Maori electoral option, which have contributed to an
appreciable increase in the representation of Maori in Parliament.
421. The Committee welcomes the State party's policies and initiatives designed
to improve the status and use of the Maori language, including the increases supply
of services in the Maori language, including in education and State broadcasting.
422. The Committee notes with satisfaction that the Sentencing Act 2002 provides,
in section 9 (1) (h), that where an offender commits an offence wholly or partly
because of hostility towards a group of persons with common characteristics such
as race or colour, this must be taken into account as an aggravating factor by
the court in the sentencing process.
423. Concerns and recommendations
424. While noting the programmes and projects initiated by the State party mentioned
above, the Committee remains concerned about the continuing disadvantages that
Maori, Pacific Island people and other ethnic communities face in the enjoyment
of social and economic rights, such as the rights to employment, housing, social
welfare and health care. The State party is invited to devote priority attention
to this issue and to continue to encourage active and effective participation
by Maori in the search for solutions such as the Maori Mental Health Strategic
Framework adopted in May 2002, with a view to further reducing these disadvantages.
425. The Committee continues to be concerned at the low representation of Maori
women in a number of key sectors and their particular vulnerability to domestic
violence. It encourages the State party to work towards reducing existing disparities
through appropriate strategies.
426. While noting the measures that have been taken by the State party to reduce
the incidence and causes of crime within the Maori and Pacific Island communities,
the Committee remains concerned at the disproportionately high representation
of Maori and Pacific Islanders in correctional facilities. The State party is
invited to ensure appropriate funding for the measures envisaged or already initiated
to address the problem.
427. The Committee takes note of the operation of sections 131 and 134 of the
Human Rights Act, according to which the institution of criminal proceedings against
those accused of incitement to racial hatred is subject to the consent of the
Attorney-General. Observing that the institution of such proceedings is rare,
the State party is invited to consider ways and means of facilitating the institution
of proceedings in this field.
428. The Committee notes that the report provides limited information on compliance
with article 4 of the Convention. It invites the State party in its next periodic
report to provide more extensive information on measures taken to comply with
this article. In particular, the Committee would appreciate additional information
concerning the proscription of racist organizations, as well as the modalities
for dealing with complaints of discrimination and the remedies granted to victims
who have well-founded complaints.
429. The Committee notes with concern that almost all asylum-seekers presenting
themselves at the border after the events of 11 September 2001 were initially
detained. While it notes that this practice by the New Zealand Immigration Service
was successfully challenged in the High Court and the practice of detaining asylum-seekers
has been suspended except for a small number of cases, it also notes that the
High Court's decision has been appealed by the Immigration Service and that the
practice may resume if the appeal is successful.
430. The Committee has noted the recent interpretation of the concepts of "affirmative
action" and "equality" by the former Complaints Review Tribunal in relation to
section 73 of the Human Rights Act, and by the High Court in relation to section
65 of the Human Rights Act. While it lacks detailed information about the two
cases referred to in the report of the State party, it considers that the State
party appears to take a narrower view of the scope of special measures than is
provided for in articles 1 and 2 of the Convention.
431. The Committee notes that there is limited information in the report on the
enjoyment of the rights mentioned in article 5 of the Convention by ethnic minorities
other than the Maori. The Committee recommends that further information be submitted
in this regard in the next periodic report.
432. The Committee notes the extensive work currently under way to review constitutional
arrangements for Tokelau. It encourages the State party to ensure that, while
giving due attention to the culture and customs of the people of Tokelau, human
rights obligations are woven appropriately into any new constitutional arrangements.
433. It is noted that the State party has not made the optional declaration provided
for in article 14 of the Convention, and the Committee recommends that the possibility
of doing so be considered.
434. The Committee recommends that the State party take into account the relevant
parts of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action when implementing the
Convention in the domestic legal order, in particular in respect of articles 2
to 7 of the Convention, and that it include in its next periodic report information
on action plans or other measures taken to implement the Durban Declaration and
Programme of Action at the national level.
435. The Committee recommends that the State party's reports be made readily available
to the public from the time of their submission and public release and that the
Committee's concluding observations on these reports be similarly publicized.
436. The Committee recommends that the State party submit jointly its fifteenth,
sixteenth and seventeenth periodic reports, due on 22 December 2005, that it be
an updating report and that it address the points raised in the present concluding