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Individual rights & freedoms

Jobs, shops, flats and other areas of life where discrimination is illegal


Discrimination by private businesses, companies and individuals on any of the illegal grounds like race and sexual orientation is illegal only if it happens in one of the key areas of public life specifically covered by the anti-discrimination laws. In this section, we summarise those key areas of life, which include employment and renting a home.

Discrimination by government bodies and officials on any of the illegal grounds is also illegal when you’re dealing with them and their services: see below, “Government bodies, public services, and schools”.

To find out about other areas of public life that are covered by the anti-discrimination laws but not discussed in this chapter (like getting trade or professional qualifications), you can go to the Human Rights Commission website (see “Where to go for more support” at the end of this chapter), or read the Human Rights Act 1993.

In general, the anti-discrimination laws don’t cover interactions between people in their private relationships – for example, if your friends start to treat you badly because of a ground that’s illegal in public life, like your sexual orientation.

Next Section | Jobs and employment

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Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide initial free legal advice and information.

Human Rights Commission


Human Rights Commission InfoLine

Phone: 0800 496 877 (0800 4 YOUR RIGHTS)
Email: infoline@hrc.co.nz
Text enquiries: 0210 236 4253

A free phone and email information service that you can use for enquiries about your rights or to make a complaint under the Human Rights Act 1993.


You can access pamphlets and fact sheets online or order hard copies from:
Phone: 0800 496 877
Email: resources@hrc.co.nz

Race Relations Commissioner


Phone: 0800 496 877

This section of the Human Rights Commission focuses specifically on ensuring people are not treated unfairly because of their race, ethnicity, skin colour or country of origin.

Human Rights Review Tribunal


This website provides information about the Tribunal and the hearing process and it also has forms, guides and information about fees.

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