Outgoing Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt brought a deep commitment to the dignity and mana of all people, says Te Kāhui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission.
Hunt challenged the government to be accountable for its full range of human rights and Te Tiriti promises. He also worked to highlight the obligations of businesses to advance human rights in their sphere of influence.
Hunt’s five-year term as Chief Commissioner covered unprecedented events in Aotearoa New Zealand’s history, including the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques on March 15 2019, the Covid 19 pandemic, extreme weather events, and escalating online harm.
Hunt has been a champion of human rights including the right to a decent home, which requires access to warm, dry, safe and affordable housing for everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Commission launched an inquiry and its reports called for MPs and policy makers to treat housing as a human right, saying no future generation should face a housing crisis.
He deplored governments’ failure to appoint neither a representative of tangata whenua to the Commission’s Board, nor an Indigenous Rights Commissioner, since 2017, and he consistently argued that non-Māori have nothing to fear from te Tiriti and much to gain.