Government announces the panel to recruit new Human Rights Commissioners

  • Hon Andrew Little

Justice Minister Andrew Little today announced the process for the appointment of a new Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Race Relations Commissioner and Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner.

“I am committed to ensuring that the process for these appointments is open and transparent and I have established a panel to advise me on the selection of the new commissioners,” Andrew Little said.

“This panel will run its own completely independent process, and make recommendations directly to me. The panel brings a diverse range of backgrounds to this key role.”

The panel members are:

Chair: Pauline Winter QSO (Te Atiawa/Taranaki): Pauline is an experienced Chief Executive in the private, public and not for profit sectors specialising in organisational change, capability building, market development and specialised solutions for business challenges. She is a former Chief Executive of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples and Director of Pasifika Advancement at AUT University. She has governance experience across a broad range of businesses and sectors with experience in transport safety, local and central government, risk management, regulatory environment, legal aid reforms, fund management and investments.

Sir John Clarke CNZM (Ngāti Porou and Ngāpuhi): Chair of the Māori Heritage Council since 2013 and the mid-1990s. John has played a role in almost 30 completed Treaty settlements around New Zealand.  He continues to advance relationships between Māori their community, and the Crown. Former chief executive of the Ministry of Māori Affairs and Race Relations Conciliator.

Al Morrison: An experienced public servant, currently Deputy Commissioner, System Performance Group at the State Services Commission. Former Chief Executive of the Department of Conservation and a former journalist.

“The positions for the commissioners were publicly advertised and I also wrote to all parliamentary parties asking them to use their networks to encourage expressions of interest from suitable candidates.  There has been an encouraging response from a broad cross-section of the community.

“I expect the panel to report to me with their recommendations in August 2018.

“The new commissioners will be appointed according to objective criteria to ensure the Commission has the balance of skills it needs to carry out its functions properly, including Commissioners with practical governance experience.

“I also plan to engage in cross-party consultation before making a recommendation of new commissioners to the Governor-General to ensure that the appointments are non-partisan and apolitical.

“It is important that New Zealand has an independent and effective Human Rights Commission and honours our international commitments on human rights.”

“New Zealand is a strong supporter of the United Nations’ Principles Relating to the Status of National Institutions (The Paris Principles). They set standards of independence, integrity and effectiveness for institutions such as the Human Rights Commission. The Paris Principles require a transparent selection and appointment process.

“Following the recommendations from Judge Coral Shaw (retired) in her recent report, and the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions in 2016, Ministry of Justice officials will develop options for formalising the appointments process in line with the Paris Principles,” Andrew Little said.