Engage Aotearoa

Category Archives: Legal Issues

Information, events and news about legal issues.

Universal Periodic Review: Do New Zealanders Have Their Human Rights Upheld?

The right to health, to justice, to work, to education, to be free from discrimination: these rights belong to all of us. New Zealand has signed international agreements to uphold these rights, but how well are we actually doing?

The Universal Periodic Review is an important opportunity for individuals, NGOs and civil society organisations to share their experience and views on New Zealand’s realisation of human rights for everyone. What people and communities say can influence future developments. It isn’t just about writing reports. Communities will be consulted on what’s important for them. UPR 13/14 is an opportunity to work with other like minded groups, and to lobby the Government to make voluntary commitments and/or accept recommendations made by the working group following the UPR 13/14 process.

The Commission is offering free workshops to support civil society in UPR 13/14. In addition there will be opportunities to engage in discussions with government officials in April/May and subsequently to comment on the draft New Zealand government report. The Commission would also welcome the opportunity to discuss key issues with community groups and individuals to feed into the UPR 13/14 process.

The workshop dates and times for 2013 are:

  • Auckland          26 March (1.30 – 4.30pm) Auckland Law School
  • Wellington        4 April (1.30-4.30)
  • Christchurch      11 April (1.30-4.30)
  • Dunedin           16 April (1.30-4.30)
  • Hamilton          7 May (1.30-4.30)
  • Invercargill      9 May (Time TBC)

Please contact Michael White on michaelw@hrc.co.nz if:

  • You wish to attend one of the Commission’s workshops;
  • Would like to receive further emails about how to be involved in the UPR process;
  • If you or your organization are hosting an event where the Commission could talk about UPR 13/14; or
  • You would like the Commission to assist with facilitating co-ordinated engagement from your sector.

In the meantime for more information on UPR 13/14 and how you can get involved see: http://www.hrc.co.nz/international-human-rights-new/faqs-for-upr-1314

The Commission looks forward to working with you around UPR 13/14 to ensure the full and active engagement of civil society organisations across the country, helping to garner actual positive changes on the ground.

Changes to Immigration Requirements

In November 2012, the Government introduced a number of changes to its immigration requirements, including health screening. The effect is likely to be that some disabled people with high-cost support needs who may have been able to come to live in New Zealand now may not be able to. The list of high-cost health conditions has been expanded to include severe developmental disorders or severe cognitive impairments where significant support is required, including intellectual disability, autistic spectrum disorders (ASD), and brain injury. Applicants who do not meet immigration health requirements may be considered for a medical waiver if they meet certain criteria (for example, have a close family connection) provided they meet all other requirements for approval.

For further information go to: www.immigration.govt.nz/migrant/general/generalinformation/qanda/healthqa.htm

Mangere Community Law Centre Says “This Is Relevant to YOU”

A message from Mangere Community Law Centre:

The Family Court is under review. This IS relevant to you! The Family Court deals with a range of things that seriously affect our community, including: domestic violence, parenting, adoptions, wills and divorce. The proposed changes are significant and now is the time to speak out if you don’t agree with them – in part or full. Submissions close 13 February 2013 so don’t put it off.      

The 5 major changes that the Mangere Community Law Centre are concerned about are:

  1. Cost of $897 for mandatory dispute resolution will have to be paid for by the parties – this will be compulsory before a matter can go to Court.
  2. NO lawyers allowed unless the matter involves violence, urgency etc.
  3. Lawyer for child will rarely be appointed.
  4. Free Court counselling will be limited.
  5. No interim orders – parties won’t have a chance to trial arrangements to see if they can work.

Submissions can be in any format – even a simple letter. Click the link below to open the template from Mangere Community Law Centre that you can use to get started and get your thoughts heard!

Family Court Review Submission Template from Mangere Community Law Centre

You can also check out these websites for more information: http://childrenneedavoice.com/ and http://www.familylaw.org.nz/

You can read the Bill at: http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Legislation/Bills/5/4/2/00DBHOH_BILL11914_1-Family-Court-Proceedings-Reform-Bill.htm 


Train The Trainers Workshop on Reporting Crime 16 Feb 2013

Asian Council on Reporting Crime (ACRC), in conjunction with Independent Living Service, is holding a workshop about reporting crime.  This is a great opportunity for community leaders to learn what’s in calling 111 and how to share their knowledge with their own network.

  • Date: 16 February (Saturday) 2013
  • Time: 10am – 12:30pm
  • Place: Independent Living Service (formerly Disability Resource Centre Auckland), 14 Erson Ave, Royal Oak, Auckland

*Admission Free (Tea included)

Target participants: Community leaders

Contact Zhengxiu Xie on 09-6250312 or

Rosa Chow on acrcnz@gmail.com

to register by 9 February 2013

Submissions called on Family Court reform legislation

Submissions have been called on the Government’s Family Court reform legislation, due 13 February 2013. The Family Court Proceedings Reform Bill is being considered by the Justice and Electoral Committee.

The information below may assist in writing submissions.

Link to NZFV Clearinghouse: http://www.nzfvc.org.nz/?q=node/834

YouthLaw Moves in with Youthline in Papatoetoe

YouthLaw has a new home! YouthLaw has moved  to YouthLine’s Papatoetoe Youth Development Centre – The Station! If you are a young person needing to talk to a free lawyer, give YouthLaw a call!

YouthLaw is a community law centre helping children and young people (under 25s) across Aotearoa.  They provide free legal information, legal advice, education and, where capacity allows, representation services to young people who otherwise can’t access legal assistance.

Through their 0800 UTHLAW phone line lawyers support and advise young people in a number of legal areas.  For example where they feel unsafe (at home or at school), face being kicked out of school, or are being treated unfairly at work.   In coordination with organisations who work with young people, they also run legal education sessions and in the last year have run these sessions for over 6,000 children, young people and those who work with them.  They also work on a number of law reform projects to ensure the law treats young people fairly and that young people’s views and opinions are heard when important decisions are being made that may affect them.

Youthlaw have moved to the Papatoetoe Youth Development Centre to collaborate more closely with other youth services, such as YouthLine, and are looking forward to developing closer relationships with these organisations as they respond to the challenges that 2013 will bring.

Health & Disability Advocacy Workshops 2013 – Everywhere

The Health & Disability Advocacy Service understand that many providers work in isolation, or perhaps in small practices. Currently, they are trying to reach such providers. If you, your colleagues and consumers of your service would like to book free training sessions in 2013, please let The Health & Disability Advocacy Service know. The workshops focus on the role of Advocates and the Code of Rights. The sessions take approximately one hour. They can also deliver education that concentrates on a specific right in the Code of Rights, for example, a workshop about effective communication with consumers. There are Advocates all around Auckland and New Zealand, so they can come to you.
Book a Training in 2013!

Gemma Claire
Health & Disability Advocate
Nationwide Health & Disability Advocacy Service
T: 09 441 9001/ 0800 555 050
E: gclaire@hdc.org.nz
W: http://advocacy.hdc.org.nz/

Dispute Resolution Services Online and Nationwide

Dispute Resolution Services Limited (DRSL) is a specialist dispute resolution Crown Entity company. It provides services and systems to solve disputes between organisations and the people they come into contact with.

DRSL operates throughout New Zealand, and across a range of industry sectors. It is the primary dispute resolution service for settling disputes between consumers and the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), and it operates independent dispute resolution schemes for phone and internet providers and for mortgage, finance and insurance companies or advisers and many other types of financial service providers.

DRSL also provides dispute resolution services to other industry sectors, including in employment, health and disability, real estate and environmental areas.

The Telecommunication Dispute Resolution service (TDR) was established as an independent dispute scheme for consumers. The majority of phone and internet providers are members of the scheme, so that TDR covers approximately 98% of the residential and small-to-medium market. The scheme was established in 2007, and has received thousands of calls since it was launched.  (Contact Freephone 0508 98 98 98). A typical complaint is about unexpected phone charges.

DRSL also operates the Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) scheme. FDR was established as part of the regulations introduced to the financial industry by the Government in 2010, which were designed to encourage consumer confidence in the industry and improve the practices of financial service providers and advisers.

DRSL set up and operates FDR, which is the Government’s scheme for consumers who have a dispute with mortgage, finance and insurance companies or advisers that are FDR Scheme Members.  (Contact Freephone 0508 337 337).  A typical complaint is about unexpected finance charges or actions by a finance company Recent research suggests minority groups are under-represented as complainants.  People who speak languages other than English, or are not confident readers, are less likely to use specialised complaint handling services.

To help overcome this issue DRSL and other specialised complaint handling organisations have developed resources for teaching the language of complaint to these groups. The resources are available free online.  Anyone can download the information from www.complaintline.org.nz or www.fdr.org.nz or www.tdr.org.nz

You can also contact DRSL on:

Auckland: 09 915 8200

Wellington: 04 918 4900

Christchurch: 03 962 9000

Law Change to Acknowledge Economic Abuse

‘Economic abuse’ to be put on par with domestic violence

Women’s Refuge says a law change to put economic abuse – such as excessive control over the purse strings – on a par with violent abuse will help to counter the view that only physical abuse amounts to domestic violence.

“Economic abuse” will be included in the definition of domestic violence in major reforms to the Family Court which went before Parliament last week.

Examples of economic abuse include restricting access to money, extorting or spending someone else’s money, or preventing someone from working.

Link to The NZ Herald: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10851760