Decision of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.
21 October 1998
Mr J M Stevenson
7 McCurdy Street
Dear Mr Stevenson,
Work Testing requirements under the Social Security Act
Ms Jefferies has asked me to respond to your letter of 6 July
1998. to which Mr Brereton gave an interim reply on 24 July 1998.
Following our recent telephone conversations, I confirm that the
Human Rights Commission is not able to accept a complaint
under Part II of the Human Rights Act 1993 about the matters
raised in your correspondence, notably your contention that the
work testing legislation contravenes Article 2.1 of the Forced
Labour Convention 1930.
I understand that the Government of New Zealand periodically
reports on its compliance with ILO conventions and that the
Department of Labour is responsible for drafting this report. The
recent report (for the period September 1996 to May 1998)
includes comments on ILO compliance issues from the Employers
Federation and from the Council of Trade Unions.
You may be interested to learn that the CTU submitted that "the
Government is in breach of Article 2 of the Forced Labour
Convention by forcing beneficiaries to work under the menace of
penalty". This view substantially repeats your concerns about
Nevertheless, as discussed with you, the Human Rights
Commission is interested in continuing to monitor any relevant
developments to do with work testing, pursuant to its brief under
Part I of the Human Rights Act to ensure better compliance with
international human rights standards.
I invite you to continue to correspond with the Commission on
Legal Research Officer
The Centre's view of this decision can be found here