1 Feb 2014

UN report tells NZ to do better

2:52 pm on 1 February 2014

A United Nations Human Rights Council report says New Zealand needs to do more to combat issues such as child poverty, domestic violence and racial crimes.

It's just the second time New Zealand has been included in the report, which is issued every four years and provides recommendations on global human rights issues.

This year's document contains 155 recommendations for New Zealand, up from to 64 four years ago.

The report said women and children are victims in the most severe cases of family violence, and men are responsible for two-thirds of the deaths of all children. Maori are over-represented both as perpetrators and victims.

Green MP Jan Logie said the report shows changes to legislation, especially in the Family Court, are failing women and children. "What this report tells us is that we're slipping backwards and the Government has actually been undermining those rights through legislation and policy."

Justice Minister Judith Collins said the progress New Zealand is making in protecting women and children against violence is recognised internationally, but it is clear more work is needed.

She said the maximum penalty for breaching a protection order was last year increased from two to three years' jail, and she was asking officials to explore the use of GPS and other technology to monitor people who breach protection orders.

Ms Collins said domestic violence programmes are available when ordered through the criminal court, or when a protection order is issued by the Family Court.