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  Hero Parade funding
  Sep 98

Media Release
11 September 1998 

Commission releases opinion in Hero Parade funding complaint

 The Human Rights Commission has taken the unusual step of releasing comment on a decision by its Complaints Division. The Commission says this is in response to a high level of media interest and considerable public interest in complaints made about the Auckland City Promotions Committee decisions on funding for the 1998 Hero Parade.

In the decision, the Commissioners decided that, based on the information available, the funding decisions of the Committee were not unlawful discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of services. In terms of the relevant section 44 (1) of the Human Rights Act 1993, the complaints could not be established to have substance.

The complaints alleged that four members of the Auckland City Promotions Committee voted against the granting of discretionary funding for the Hero Parade because of their dislike of homosexuality. This, the complainants alleged, led the Committee members to treat the application less favourably than they otherwise would have.

In investigating, the Commission focussed on the available evidence. The Commission sought to establish whether the reasons given by the individuals for voting no demonstrated unlawful discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of services. The Commission wished to see if there was sufficient  evidence that could counteract the denials Committee members made when supporting or defending their decisions. The Commission also sought to discover whether there was any evidence of a pattern of discrimination.

The investigation found that the reasons given by the Committee members did not demonstrate unlawful discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of services. Similarly, no conclusive evidence counteracting the denials was found in the initial stages and subsequent to this, Committee members declined to answer further questions from the Commission’s investigator. Thus, it found no evidence to prove that the Committee members’ statements about not disliking homosexuals were insincere. There was some evidence of an apparent pattern of funding decisions but no conclusion could be drawn from it.

Overall, Commissioners considered, based on the information available to them, the complaint could not be established to have substance. Other than this statement, the Human Rights Commission will not be making any further comment on these complaints.

For further details call Miriam Bell, Human Rights Commission Communications Officer on 025 313 239 or 09 375 8627.

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