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Human Rights Law

Gay New Zealand

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