Friday December 7 2001 Media Statement
Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner
A position of Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner is to be established within the new Human Rights Commission.
The new Commission is established by the Human Rights Amendment Bill now before parliament. It results from a merger of
the old Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Race Relations Conciliator.
The new Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner will be a member of the Human Rights Commission and work in a
similar way to the Race Relations Commissioner: The EEO Commissioner will:
- co-ordinate and promote EEO initiatives and work alongside the Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Race Relations
Commissioner and Commissioners as a whole;
- lead discussions of the HRC in matters relating to EEO;
- provide advice and leadership on matters relating to EEO arising from activities undertaken by the HRC in the
performance of its general human rights functions; and
- liaise with and complement other EEO organisations such as the successful EEO Trust, which has involved hundreds of
employers in EEO activities.
The idea of a Commissioner was proposed by the Ministerial Advisory Group on EEO, set up earlier in the year to advise
on ways of empowering people to overcome disadvantage in the labour market. The idea was supported by a number of
submissions on the Human Rights Amendment Bill.
“Equal Employment Opportunities are essential to access talent and overcome the disadvantage experienced by groups and
communities which face discrimination. It means giving everyone and every group a fair go in employment. The right to be
treated on your merits, and not according to stereotypes or prejudice is a basic human right,” said Margaret Wilson.
“The work of the EEO Trust has shown the many business benefits that can be realised by employers promoting EEO. Great
progress has been made in recent years; but we can’t become complacent. By working together in partnership we can do
more to recognise and realise the potential of all people. This will help New Zealand become a magnet nation for talent
– both home grown and from around the world”.