Mayoral candidates Phil Goff and John Tamihere clash over Human Rights case

6:48 am on 3 September 2019

Auckland mayor Phil Goff and 2019 contender John Tamihere are at odds over whether a Human Rights case against Auckland Council has been thrown out.

Mayoral candidates Phil Goff, left, and John Tamihere

Phil Goff and John Tamihere Photo: RNZ / Supplied

Ngai Tai Waipareira Housing Limited made a complaint to the Human Rights Commission against the council and its development arm Panuku saying its cap on the amount of social housing allowed in new residential developments discriminated against Māori, Pasifika, older people, single parents and people on benefits.

Mr Tamihere is the chief executive of Waipareira Trust which is a half owner of Ngai Tai Waipareira Housing.

He ran for mayor on the back of his beef with Panuku.

At last night's mayoral debate, Mr Goff said the Human Rights Commission had thrown out the complaint - but Mr Tamihere disagreed.

Mr Goff's office later released a letter from the Commission saying it had received a complaint but would not be taking it any further.

The letter said Ngai Tai Waipareira Housing had told the Commission the case was unsuitable for mediation and wanted to instead proceed directly to the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

"Therefore, the Commission will close the file and not take any further action on this complaint," it said.

Mr Tamihere countered by releasing an opinion from his legal team that said the closing of the file was simply procedural.

Ngai Tai Waipareira Housing would still be pursuing the complaint to the Human Rights Review Tribunal, Mr Tamihere said.

The Tribunal would not accept any complaints unless they had first been made to the Commission.

Mr Tamihere's lawyers said the Commission was simply a gatekeeper which was letting them through so they could continue to the Tribunal.