Equity and the Law

The State Sector Act 1989 includes ‘good employer provisions’ which require the University to provide:

  • an equal employment opportunities programme;
  • impartial selection of suitably qualified persons for appointment;
  • recognition of:

(i) The aims and aspirations of the Māori people;

(ii) The employment requirements of the Māori people;

(iii) The need for greater involvement of the Māori people in the Education service;

  • opportunities for the enhancement of the abilities of individual employees;
  • recognition of the aims and aspirations, and the cultural differences, of ethnic or minority groups;
  • recognition of the employment requirements of women; and
  • recognition of the employment requirements of persons with disabilities.

 

The Education Act 1990

In 1990, the New Zealand Government required that all tertiary education institutions should act to improve access to and participation by a wide range of New Zealanders. Under section 181 of the Education Act 1990, it states that it is the duty of the Council of an institution, in the performance of its functions and the exercise of its powers:

“… (b) To acknowledge the principles of Treaty of Waitangi;
(c) To encourage the greatest possible participation by the communities served by the institution so as to maximise the educational potential of all members of those communities with particular emphasis on those groups in those communities that are under-represented among the students of the institution…”

Under section 220 of the Education Act 1990, it states that the Council of each university is required to include in its annual report to the Minister:

“…(a) A summary of its equal employment opportunities programme for the year to which the report relates;
(b) An account of the extent to which the Council was able, during the year to which the report relates, to meet the equal employment opportunities programme for that year;
(c) An account of the extent to which the Council has eliminated unnecessary barriers to the progress of students;
(d) An account of the extent to which the Council has avoided the creation of unnecessary barriers to the progress of students; and
(e) An account of the extent to which the Council has developed programmes to attract students from groups in the community:

(i) Under-represented in the institution’s student body; or
(ii) Disadvantaged in terms of their ability to attend the institution ...”

Under this statute, the University and its Faculties are legally obliged to encourage, and build up, enrolments by the disabled, by Māori, by Pacific Islanders, by those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and by women in areas where they are under-represented, and to monitor and report on their progress.