NZ needs to work on human rights

Last updated 14:51 01/02/2014

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The United Nations has issued New Zealand with 155 recommendations to improve its human rights record.

Last week the Government presented New Zealand's report to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

All member countries are required to undergo a review of their human rights performance every four and a half years.

The recommendations, released this morning, related to issues such as domestic violence, child poverty, and racism.

Justice Minister Judith Collins, who presented the report on behalf of the Government, said she welcomed the recommendations.

"Many countries acknowledge the progress New Zealand is making in protecting women and children against violence and recommend New Zealand to continue its efforts in these areas," she said.

She admitted the rate of family violence in New Zealand was "unacceptable".

To combat this, last year the Government increased the maximum penalty for breaching a protection order from two years' imprisonment to three, and expanded the definition of domestic violence to include economic and financial abuse, she said.

"I have also asked officials to explore the use of GPS and other technology to monitor people who breach protection orders to better protect victims of domestic violence."

The Green Party said the report was "embarrassing".

"The international community's message is clear. New Zealand has lost ground when it comes to the protection of our women and children, and we must make improvements," human rights spokeswoman Jan Logie said.

The number of recommendations was up from 64 at the last review in 2009.

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