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The Human Rights Act 1993 is an Act of the Parliament of New Zealand that deals with discrimination. It was a consolidation and amendment of the Race Relations Act 1971 and the Human Rights Commission Act 1977. It came into force on 1 February 1994. The Act governs the work of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.

Human Rights Act 1993
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New Zealand Parliament
An Act to consolidate and amend the Race Relations Act 1971 and the Human Rights Commission Act 1977 and to provide better protection of human rights in New Zealand in general accordance with United Nations Covenants or Conventions on Human Rights
Royal assent10 August 1993
Commenced1 February 1994
Administered byMinistry of Justice
Related legislation
New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990
Status: Current legislation

The act outlawed discrimination on a wide variety of grounds, including:[1]

  1. Sex (including pregnancy and childbirth)
  2. Marital status
  3. Religious belief
  4. Ethical belief
  5. Colour
  6. Race
  7. Ethnic or national origins
  8. Disability
  9. Age
  10. Political opinion
  11. Employment status
  12. Family status
  13. Sexual orientation

There are a significant number of caveats, including "genuine occupational qualification," "domestic employment in a private household," "to preserve reasonable standards of privacy," "national security" and "organised religion."

The act does not explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity, and the Human Rights Commission, supported by the government's legal office, has always accepted complaints of discrimination based on gender identity on the ground of sex. However, the decision to interpret the prohibition of discrimination based on sex to also cover discrimination based on gender identity is easily reversed.[2] But an important dimension of the exercise undertaken by the Commission in New Zealand was toward the empowerment of trans people, referencing the Yogyakarta Principles. In effect the Commission was responding to one of the Yogyakarta Principles' Additional Recommendations to national human rights institutions that integrate the promotion of human rights of persons of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities into their work.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Human Rights Act 1993, s 21
  2. ^ Activist's Guide to the Yogyakarta Principles, p. 112 in Yogyakarta Principles in Action
  3. ^ Activist's Guide to the Yogyakarta Principles, p. 115

External linksEdit