Justice Minister Andrew Little today announced that he has ordered a review of the procedures and organisational culture at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, following recent concerns about the handling of allegations of sexual harassment.
“It is vital that New Zealanders have trust and confidence in the Human Rights Commission as New Zealand’s authority for dealing with complaints about sexual harassment. I am concerned by recent reported events. An independent inquiry is necessary to look at the Commission’s processes and culture.
“I have appointed retired Employment Court Judge Coral Shaw to lead the review,” says Andrew Little.
The terms of reference are:
- the systems and processes for investigating and resolving sexual harassment claims used by the Human Rights Commission, having regard to legal and other public sector standards and the fact the Commission is expected to be an exemplar in this respect; and
- whether the governance and management structures and arrangements of the Human Rights Commission adequately support the prudent handling of sexual harassment claims; and
- the organisational culture of the Human Rights Commission.
The Review will be conducted pursuant to section 132 of the Crown Entities Act 2004, which allows a responsible Minister to review the operations and performance of a Crown entity at any time.
“The reviewer will make any recommendations for change that she considers appropriate. I expect the review to be completed by the end of April. I have met with Chief Commissioner, David Rutherford, and expect the Commission will cooperate fully with the inquiry,” says Andrew Little.