Human Rights Act

The Human Rights Act 1993 provides greater protection for people facing unfair discrimination and yet it allows reasonable exceptions. The act came into force in 1 February 1994.

The Act includes the existing grounds of unlawful discrimination and introduces a number of new grounds.

Existing Grounds

. Sex - including pregnancy, childbirth, and sexual harrassment.
. Marital Status - meaning single, married, separated, divorced, widowed or de facto.
. Religious of Ethical Belief
. Race and Colour
. Ethnic and National Origins - including nationality and citizenship.
. Age - in employment only.

New Grounds

. Disability
. Age
. Political opinion
. Employment status
. Family status
. Sexual orientation

Note the disability grounds provides protection against discrimination on the grounds of AIDS or HIV infection.


Discrimination against a person on any of these grounds is unlawful when:

  • it happens to a person or his or her relative or associate and
  • it exists now or in the past or
  • it is suspected or assumed to exist.

  • Areas and Exceptions

    Each of these new grounds of discrimination applies to :

    . Employment.
    . Education.
    . Access to Public Places.
    . Provision of Goods and Services.
    . Housing and Accomodation.

    However, there are general and specific exceptions to the grounds in relation to each area.

    To make a complaint about discrimination contact the Human Rights Commission for assistance.

  • PO Box 6751, Wellesley St, Auckland. Phone 649-309-0874
  • PO Box 5045, Lambton Quay, Wellington. Phone 649-473-9981
  • PO Box 1578, Christchurch. Phone 643-379-2015
  • Other areas call 0508-505-808.

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    [QRD] [WORLD] [PACIFIC] Last Updated: 20 August 1995
    Mark Proffit <>