INDEPENDENT NEWS

Nats Demand Inquiry Into Human Rights Commission

Published: Tue 28 Aug 2001 02:10 PM
National's Justice Spokesperson Wayne Mapp has today sought a select committee inquiry into the operation and functioning of the Human Rights Commission and the appointment of Commissioners.
"The resignation of Ella Henry and the facts leading up to it have raised grave concerns about the ability of the Commission to be able to fairly deal with issues around race relations.
"When a Human Rights Commissioner makes racist statements and the Chief Commissioner sits on them for a month, the public will question its confidence in the Commission.
"The Government's intention for the Race Relations Conciliator's office to be subsumed by the Human Rights Commission is now a matter of serious concern.
"The manner in which Commissioners are appointed was raised in Parliament earlier this year, particularly in respect of the degree of consultation by Government with Opposition parties. Our concerns have proved to be well founded. The appointment process must be reviewed," Dr Mapp said.
Dr Mapp has written to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee Chairman, Tim Barnett, seeking an inquiry into the operation and functioning of the Commission, and appointment of Commissioners.
Dr Mapp proposed that the Terms of Reference be: the operation and function of the Human Rights Commission, particularly in relation to handling of complaints and development of education programmes; the takeover by the Human Rights Commission of the Race Relation Conciliator's office; and the appointment of Commissioners with particular reference to the process of consultation between parties represented in Parliament.
Ends

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