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Greens call on Govt to can HRC funding freeze

Sun 21 Apr 2013 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Jan Logie The Green Party is urging the Government to reverse its decision to freeze funding for the Human Rights Commission, which is proposing cutting 15 per cent of its staff. The Public Service Association says the Commission has been battling a shortfall of funds and has been told by the government that there will be no additional baseline funding until 2020. It has presented staff with a proposal which would see more than 10 full-time jobs cut along with a number of part-time and fixed term positions. Greens’ rainbow issues spokeswoman Jan Logie says New Zealand has very few checks on the power of Government and minimal tools to fight discrimination. She says by the response to the marriage equality bill and widespread public concern about the appointment of Susan Devoy we know human rights are important to New Zealanders. “We still have more legislative work to do to ensure trans people are fully recognised under our laws and we still have a lot of work to do to eliminate discrimination in our schools, workplaces and public institutions. Legislation alone doesn't protect anyone,” Logie says. The MP says the Privacy Commission has indicated it doesn’t have the resources to investigate all the major breaches and will have to change the way it responds to complaints, all while the government is increasing its workload. She says the Government is also putting through legislation at the moment that was in response to the Green Party call for the establishment of a disability commissioner, but which worryingly enables a reduction in the number of commissioners. “Good human rights legislation and organisations protect us all and are vital to holding us together as a society,” Logie says. “In a time of growing inequality and significant law reform we need to be strengthening these mechanisms not weakening them.”    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Sunday, 21st April 2013 - 3:49pm

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