TWENTY SECONDS ON NZ’S UPR – Economic, Social and Social Rights

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Economic, social and cultural rights and civil and political rights omitted from the NZBORA

  1. Despite recommendations from the CESCR[1] and the first UPR,[2] New Zealand has not yet formally incorporated all economic, social and cultural rights into the domestic framework. It argues that these rights are already protected by individual statutes. There are major advantages in a statement of commitment to ESC rights as on a par with civil and political rights and equally justiciable. And if these rights, as it is argued, are so well protected there can surely be no objection to their being incorporated directly into the NZ human rights framework.


  1. The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (NZBORA)[3] includes most, but not all, those civil and political rights in the ICCPR.  NZBORA should be amended to include esc rights, a right to privacy, a right to a remedy[4] and a right to a sustainable and healthy environment[5].

[1] Committee on ECSCR, “Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under articles 16 and 17 of the Covenant Concluding observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights- New Zealand ” dated 18 May 2012 on:

[2] See UN General Assembly “Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review-New Zealand”, dated 4 June 2009 on:

[3] New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

[4] See the NZ Court of Appeal in Baigent’s case – below note 10

[5] See paragraphs 87-89 of this report