March 2019 e-bulletin

Read an overview of the content in our latest e-bulletin. Click on the link at the bottom of the page to read the entire e-bulletin with links to cases and other news items.

National update: policy and legislation

Equal Pay Amendment Bill

This Bill was introduced as part of the celebrations of 125 years of women’s suffrage. The Bill’s main aim is to eliminate and prevent sex discrimination in female dominated jobs and make it easier for workers to make a pay equity claim using a more simple and accessible process in New Zealand’s existing bargaining framework.

Employment Relations Amendment Bill

THis Bill passed its third and final reading on 5 December 2018. It makes changes to collective bargaining and union rights in the workplace as a way of increasing fairness between employees and employers and promoting productive employment relationships.

Privacy Bill amended

This Bill implements recommendations in 2011 made by the Law Commission which considered that the legislation needed updating to address the challenges of the digital age.

Domestic Violence - Victims Protection Bill

The Bill amends a number of pieces of legislation including the Human Rights Act and the Holidays Act. It comes into force on 1 April 2019.

Court Matters Bill (Tribunal Powers and Procedures Legislation Bill)

The bill aims to establish a framework to help courts and tribunals provide what the Government describes as a more modern, customer-centred service.

Part 4A of the NZ Public Health and Disability Act

A proposal to revoke the law will shortly go before a Cabinet committee and, if approved, before Cabinet.

Protected Disclosures Act 2000

Changes to this Act are currently being considered.

Support service for victims of sexual violence

A pilot desigend to reduce the trauma trauma experienced by sexual violence survivors going through the criminal justice system has been announced. 

Mental Health Inquiry

The Inquiry reported back in November. The report He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction can be read on the Inquiry’s website.

International update

Finding of the UN Human Rights Committee

The Committee found found that New Zealand had violated its obligations under the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights when it kept two men convicted of rape in preventive detention after they had served their sentences.

Presentation to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

Jan Logie, Under-Secretary for Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues), presented the Government's most recent report.

Human Rights Committee adopt General Comment 36

In November the Human Rights Committee adopted General Comment 36 on the right to life in article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and provisionally decided that the topic of the next General Comment would be article 21 on the right to peaceful assembly.

Universal Periodic Review takes place

New Zealand’s third Universal Periodic Review took place in January 2019, A five-yearly review of our domestic human rights record.

Recent cases

Attorney-General v Arthur William Taylor [2018] NZSC 104

This case, which has been eagerly awaited by public law scholars, involved the issue of whether the High Court had the power to make a declaration that legislation is inconsistent with the provision of the NZBORA.

Smith v Attorney-General [2018] NZSC 40

A case concerning whether the wearing of a wig amounts to freedom of expression, where the Judge considered infringement of dignity to be more relevant.

Cook v Housing New Zealand Ltd [2018] NZCA 57

A case concerning the right to housing where the quality of a HNZ property was questioned.

Young v Attorney-General [2018] NZCA 307

The right to an effective remedy, following the sexual assault of a member of the New Zealand Navy.

WK v Refugee and Protection Officer [2018] NZCA 258

A case concerning the right to refuge, where WK was a Turkish national who had made a number of claims for refugee status in New Zealand.

Singh v Chief Executive Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment [2018] NZHC 673

Mr Singh sought judicial review of a Deportation Order arguing that he had been unable to challenge the decision as he was undergoing compulsory mental health treatment.

Te Whatu v Department of Corrections [2017] NZHC 3233

The right to freedom of association is an issue in this case where a Non-Association Direction was made.

Genge v Chief Executive, Department of Corrections [2018] NZHC 1447

The right to rehabilitation is at question in Mr Genge's refusal to engage in group treatment.