So, what exactly (other than equality) will Wayne Mapp be attempting to "eradicate"? On National Radio yesterday and this morning he indicated that the Human Rights Commission would be his first target. His reason? Purportedly, the HRC has both an advocacy and prosecution role, "combining judge and jury into one organisation". Unfortunately for Mapp, this simply isn't true.
The Human Rights Commission was established by the Human Rights Commission Act 1977 - a law passed by the Muldoon government - to advocate for human rights. Since the beginning it has also had powers to investigate and mediate complaints, and initiate proceedings in the courts and before the Human Rights Review (formerly Equal Opportunities) Tribunal. It is this latter body, rather than the HRC, which serves as "judge and jury"; the Human Rights Commissions role is limited to that of advocate, as in any civil case. Mapp is simply wrong.
But Mapp seems to have a wider problem with the HRC, describing it as "an organisation that has a set of values pretty much divorced from the main stream". I'm not sure what "mainstream" Mapp is swimming in, but last I checked, the vast majority of New Zealanders supported basic fairness and opposed gross and blatant discrimination in employment, housing and other areas. Perhaps in mapp's idealised version of the 50's it was considered acceptable to refuse to employ someone because they weren't Christian, or refuse to rent a house to someone because they were Maori, or pay a woman less than a man simply on account of her gender - but it wasn't even in Muldoon's day (that's why he set up the Commission), and it sure as hell isn't now.