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Individual rights & freedoms

Taking action: What you can do if you’re discriminated against

Going to the Human Rights Commission

How do I complain to the Human Rights Commission?

Contact the Commission to tell them about your complaint (see: “Where to go for more support” below for their contact details). You can also fill in an online complaint form on their website. The Commission may ask you to put your complaint in writing if the dispute is complicated or long-term, or if putting it in writing would help to resolve the dispute.

How will the Human Rights Commission deal with my complaint?

Human Rights Act 1993, ss 77, 85–87

The Commission will first try to help you resolve the problem yourself. If that doesn’t work, the Commission has a team of mediators who are available to help resolve disputes. A mediator is an impartial person who doesn’t act for either side in a dispute, but who tries instead to help the parties talk through the issues and come to an agreed settlement.

The mediator from the Commission will try to resolve the problem informally and, if that’s not successful, through mediation between you and the other person or organisation. Mediation is free and confidential. Anything that either side says during mediation can’t be used later on – for example, if the dispute goes to the Human Rights Review Tribunal. Both sides are strongly encouraged not to talk publicly about the mediation process.

Do I need a lawyer for the mediation process?

No, but you can have one if you wish.

What are some of the possible outcomes of mediation?

Human Rights Act 1993, s 83

A possible outcome of mediation may be that the other person will:

  • apologise to you
  • promise not to repeat the discrimination
  • attend an education programme
  • pay you money as compensation.

What if the Commission’s help doesn’t resolve the dispute?

Human Rights Act 1993, ss 84, 92B

If your complaint can’t be resolved with the Commission’s help, you can take it to the Office of Human Rights Proceedings or you can go to the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

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Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Te Kāhui Tika Tangata/Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission website provides information about human rights in Aotearoa and outlines how you can make a complaint to the Commission.

Website: www.tikatangata.org.nz or www.hrc.co.nz
Email: infoline@hrc.co.nz
Phone:  0800 496 877 (0800 4 YOUR RIGHTS)

To make a complaint online, download a complaint form or find out more about the complaints process: www.tikatangata.org.nz/resources-and-support/make-a-complaint

Human Rights Review Tribunal

This website provides information about the tribunal and the hearing process and contains the relevant application forms.

Website: www.justice.govt.nz/tribunals/human-rights

Make a claim to the Human Rights Review Tribunal: www.justice.govt.nz/tribunals/human-rights/make-a-claim

The Office of Human Rights Proceedings

The Office of Human Rights Proceedings can provide free legal representation to people wanting to bring unlawful discrimination proceedings in the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

Website: www.tikatangata.org.nz/about-us/office-of-human-rights-proceedings
Email: ohrp@ohrp.org.nz
Phone: 09 375 8623

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