Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee
1. The Committee considered the fourth periodic report of New Zealand
(CCPR/C/NZL/2001/4 and HRI/CORE/1/Add.33) at its 2015th and 2016th meetings,
held on 9 and 10 July 2001 (see CCPR/C/SR.2015 to 2016) and adopted
the following concluding observations at its 2026th meeting (CCPR/C/SR.
2026 ), on 17 July 2002.
2. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for its
excellent report, which contains detailed information on the law and
practice relating to the implementation of the Covenant and is in accordance
with the Committee's guidelines. However, it regrets the delay since
the last report was submitted.
3. The Committee notes with appreciation that the report contains useful
information on developments since consideration of the third periodic
report as well as responses to the concerns expressed by the Committee
in its concluding observations on the previous report. The Committee
also welcomes the written responses given to the Committee's written
list of questions.
B. Positive aspects
4. The Committee welcomes the examination by the New Zealand Human Rights
Commission of all New Zealand Acts, Regulations, government polices
and administrative practices with a view to determining their consistency
with the anti-discrimination provisions of the Human Rights Act, known
as Consistency 2000. It further welcomes the audit process undertaken
by the Government to identify and resolve the inconsistencies between
the Human Rights Act and legislation, regulations, governments polices
and practices, known as Compliance 2001.
5. The Committee notes with satisfaction that the New Zealand courts
take account and are aware of the obligations undertaken by the State
party under the Covenant and of the Committee's General Comments in
the determination of cases heard by them.
6. The Committee welcomes the enactment of:
a) The Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Paid Parental leave)
Amendment Act 2002,
b) The Human Rights Amendment Act 2001,
c) The Employment Relations Act 2000 and
d) The Domestic Violence Act 1995.
7. The Committee welcomes the further progress made in the protection
and promotion of the rights of Maori under the Covenant, in particular,
the amendments introduced by the Maori Reserved Land Amendment Act which
came into force in 1998. In this respect the Committee notes with satisfaction
that the Act provides for compensation to be paid to lessors for delay
in implementing more frequent rent reviews and for fair annual rents,
as well as providing compensation payable to the lessee, largely non-Maori,
under certain circumstances. This approach of providing compensation
from public funds helps to avoid tensions that might otherwise hamper
the recognition of indigenous land and resource rights.
C. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations
8. Article 2, paragraph 2, of the Covenant requires States parties to
take such legislative or other measures which may be necessary to give
effect to the rights recognized in the Covenant. In this regard the
Committee regrets that certain rights guaranteed under the Covenant
are not reflected in the Bill of Rights, and that it has no higher status
than ordinary legislation. The Committee notes with concern that it
is possible, under the terms of the Bill of Rights, to enact legislation
incompatible with its provisions and regrets that this appears to have
been done in a few cases, thus depriving victims of any remedy under
The State party should take appropriate measures to implement all the
Covenant rights in domestic law and to ensure that every victim of a
violation of Covenant rights has a remedy in accordance with article
2 of the Covenant.
9. The Committee regrets that the State party does not consider it necessary
to include in the prohibited grounds of discrimination all the grounds
contemplated in the Covenant, in particular, language as a prohibited
ground of discrimination, although in New Zealand language has been
interpreted as an aspect of race.
The State party should revise its domestic law in order to bring it
into full consistency with the provisions of articles 2 and 26 of the
10. With regard to the possible impact of the punishment of preventive
detention upon article 15 rights in conjunction with other articles
of the Covenant, the Committee has received a written answer from the
State party after the close of the dialogue. However, the Committee
still has some concerns and looks forward to pursuing its dialogue with
the State party further on this issue.
The State party should deal fully with this issue in its next periodic
report and should inform the Committee of any relevant further developments.
11. The Committee recognises that the security requirements relating
to the events of 11 September 2001 have given rise to New Zealand's
efforts in taking legislative and other measures to implement Security
Council resolution 1373. The Committee, however, expresses its concern
that the impact of such measures or changes in policy on New Zealand's
obligations under the Covenant may not have been fully considered. The
Committee is concerned at possible negative effects of new legislation
and practices on asylum-seekers, including by removing the "immigration
risk offshore" and in the absence of monitoring measures by New Zealand
with regard to the expulsion of those suspected of terrorism to their
countries of origin, which, despite representations that their human
rights would be respected, could pose risks to the personal safety and
lives of the persons expelled (articles 6 and 7 of the Covenant).
The State party is under an obligation to ensure that measures taken
to implement security Coincil resoultion 1373 are fully in conformity
with the Covenant. The State party is requested to ensure that the definition
of terrorism is not a source of abuse and is in conformity with the
Covenant. In addition, the State party should maintain its constant
practice of observance of the principle of non-refoulement.
12. The Committee is concerned at information that New Zealand permanent
residents and, under certain conditions, even some New Zealand citizens
need a return visa to re-enter New Zealand, as this may raise issues
under article 12, paragraph 4, of the Covenant.
The State party should review its legislation to ensure compliance with
article 12, paragraph 4, of the Covenant.
13. The Committee notes with concern that the management of one prison
and prison escort services have been contracted to a private company.
While welcoming the information that the State party has decided that
all prisons will be publicly managed after the expiry of the current
contract in July 2005 and that the contractors are expected to respect
the United Nations Minimum Standards for the Treatment of Prisoners,
it nevertheless remains concerned whether the practice of privatisation
in an area concerning important rights of protection of persons deprived
of their liberty by the State in practice meets effectively the obligations
of the State party under the Covenant and its own accountability for
any violations. The Committee further notes that there does not appear
to be any effective day to day monitoring mechanisms to ensure that
prisoners are treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent
dignity of the human person and further benefit from treatment, the
essential aim of which is directed to their reformation and social rehabilitation.
The State party should ensure that all persons deprived of their liberty
are not deprived of the various rights guaranteed under article 10 of
14. While recognising the positive measures taken by the State party
with regard to Maori, including the implementation of their land and
resources rights, the Committee continues to be concerned that they
remain a disadvantaged group in New Zealand society in the enjoyment
of their Covenant rights in all areas of their everyday life.
The State party should continue to reinforce its efforts to ensure the
full enjoyment of the Covenant rights by the Maori people.
15. The State party should finalize its review of its reservations relating
to article 10 of the Covenant with a view to withdrawing them at the
earliest possible date.
16. The State party should disseminate widely the text of its fourth
periodic report, the written replies it provided to the list of issues
drawn up by the Committee and, in particular, the present concluding
17. The Committee draws the attention of the State party to the guidelines
of the Committee on the preparation of reports (CCPR/C/66/GUI/Rev.1).
The fifth periodic report should be prepared in accordance with those
guidelines, with particular attention paid to the implementation of
rights in practice. It should indicate the measures taken to give effect
to these concluding observations. The fifth periodic report should be
submitted by 1 August 2007.