Functions and powers of Commission

Heading: substituted, on 1 January 2002, by section 5 of the Human Rights Amendment Act 2001 (2001 No 96).

5 Functions of Commission

(1)

The primary functions of the Commission are—

(a)

to advocate and promote respect for, and an understanding and appreciation of, human rights in New Zealand society; and

(b)

to encourage the maintenance and development of harmonious relations between individuals and among the diverse groups in New Zealand society; and

(c)

to promote racial equality and cultural diversity; and

(d)

to promote equal employment opportunities (including pay equity); and

(e)

to promote and protect the full and equal enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities.

(2)

The Commission has, in order to carry out its primary functions under subsection (1), the following functions:

(a)

to be an advocate for human rights and to promote and protect, by education and publicity, respect for, and observance of, human rights:

(b)

to encourage and co-ordinate programmes and activities in the field of human rights:

(c)

to make public statements in relation to any matter that may affect or infringe human rights (whether or not those human rights are affirmed in New Zealand domestic human rights law or international human rights law), including statements commenting on the position of the Government in relation to that matter:

(ca)

to make public statements promoting an understanding of, and compliance with, this Act or the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (for example, statements promoting understanding of measures to ensure equality, of indirect discrimination, or of institutions and procedures under this Act for dealing with complaints of unlawful discrimination):

(d)

to promote by research, education, and discussion a better understanding of the human rights dimensions of the Treaty of Waitangi and their relationship with domestic and international human rights law:

(e)

to prepare and publish, as the Commission considers appropriate, guidelines and voluntary codes of practice for the avoidance of acts or practices that may be inconsistent with, or contrary to, this Act:

(f)

to receive and invite representations from members of the public on any matter affecting human rights:

(g)

to consult and co-operate with other persons and bodies concerned with the protection of human rights:

(h)

to inquire generally into any matter, including any enactment or law, or any practice, or any procedure, whether governmental or non-governmental, if it appears to the Commission that the matter involves, or may involve, the infringement of human rights:

(i)

to appear in or bring proceedings, in accordance with section 6 or section 92B or section 92E or section 92H or section 97:

(j)

to apply to a court or tribunal, under rules of court or regulations specifying the tribunal’s procedure, to be appointed as intervener or as counsel assisting the court or tribunal, or to take part in proceedings before the court or tribunal in another way permitted by those rules or regulations, if, in the Commission’s opinion, taking part in the proceedings in that way will facilitate the performance of its functions stated in paragraph (a):

(k)

to report to the Prime Minister on—

(i)

any matter affecting human rights, including the desirability of legislative, administrative, or other action to give better protection to human rights and to ensure better compliance with standards laid down in international instruments on human rights:

(ii)

the desirability of New Zealand becoming bound by any international instrument on human rights:

(iii)
[Repealed]

(ka)

to report to either or both of the Prime Minister and the Minister responsible on any existing or proposed legislation (including subordinate legislation), administrative provision, or policy of the Government that the Commission considers may affect human rights:

(kb)

to promote the development of new international instruments on human rights:

(kc)

to promote and monitor compliance by New Zealand with, and the reporting by New Zealand on, the implementation of international instruments on human rights ratified by New Zealand:

(l)

to make public statements in relation to any group of persons in, or who may be coming to, New Zealand who are or may be subject to hostility, or who have been or may be brought into contempt, on the basis that that group consists of persons against whom discrimination is unlawful under this Act:

(m)

to develop a national plan of action, in consultation with interested parties, for the promotion and protection of human rights in New Zealand:

(n)

to exercise the following functions in relation to equal employment opportunities:

(i)

to evaluate, through the use of benchmarks developed by the Commission, the roles that legislation, guidelines, and voluntary codes of practice play in facilitating and promoting best practice in equal employment opportunities:

(ii)

to lead the development of guidelines and voluntary codes of practice to facilitate and promote best practice in equal employment opportunities (including codes that identify related rights and obligations in legislation) in accordance with paragraph (e):

(iii)

to monitor and analyse progress in improving equal employment opportunities in New Zealand and to report to the Minister on the results of that monitoring and analysis:

(iv)

to liaise with, and complement the work of, any trust or body that has as one of its purposes the promotion of equal employment opportunities:

(o)

to exercise or perform any other functions, powers, and duties conferred or imposed on it by or under this Act or any other enactment.

(3)

The Commission may, in the public interest or in the interests of a person, department, or organisation, publish reports relating generally to the exercise of its functions under this Act or to a particular inquiry by it under this Act, whether or not the matters to be dealt with in a report of that kind have been the subject of a report to the Minister or the Prime Minister.

Compare: 1977 No 49 ss 5(1), (3), (5), 6(1), (2), 28A, 78(1); 1977 No 49 ss 78(1), 86

Section 5: substituted, on 1 January 2002, by section 5 of the Human Rights Amendment Act 2001 (2001 No 96).

Section 5 heading: amended, on 25 January 2005, by section 200 of the Crown Entities Act 2004 (2004 No 115).

Section 5(1)(b): amended, on 15 June 2016, by section 6(1) of the Human Rights Amendment Act 2016 (2016 No 28).

Section 5(1)(c): inserted, on 15 June 2016, by section 6(2) of the Human Rights Amendment Act 2016 (2016 No 28).

Section 5(1)(d): inserted, on 15 June 2016, by section 6(2) of the Human Rights Amendment Act 2016 (2016 No 28).

Section 5(1)(e): inserted, on 15 June 2016, by section 6(2) of the Human Rights Amendment Act 2016 (2016 No 28).

Section 5(2)(c): replaced, on 15 June 2016, by section 6(3) of the Human Rights Amendment Act 2016 (2016 No 28).

Section 5(2)(ca): inserted, on 15 June 2016, by section 6(3) of the Human Rights Amendment Act 2016 (2016 No 28).

Section 5(2)(k)(iii): repealed, on 15 June 2016, by section 6(4) of the Human Rights Amendment Act 2016 (2016 No 28).

Section 5(2)(ka): inserted, on 15 June 2016, by section 6(5) of the Human Rights Amendment Act 2016 (2016 No 28).

Section 5(2)(kb): inserted, on 15 June 2016, by section 6(5) of the Human Rights Amendment Act 2016 (2016 No 28).

Section 5(2)(kc): inserted, on 15 June 2016, by section 6(5) of the Human Rights Amendment Act 2016 (2016 No 28).

Section 5(2)(n): inserted, on 15 June 2016, by section 6(6) of the Human Rights Amendment Act 2016 (2016 No 28).