NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand
New Zealand
Joined United Nations:  24 October 1945
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 25 August 2012
New Zealand - Bill of Rights Act 1990     

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{ Adopted in: 1990 }
{ Official Number: 1990, No. 109 }
{ Official Title: New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 }
{ Amended in: 1993 by the Human Rights Act 1993 }
{ ICL Document Status: 1 Feb 1994 }


[Preamble]
An Act
(a) To affirm, protect, and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms in New Zealand; and
(b) To affirm New Zealand's commitment to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


[Part 0  Short Title]


Section 1  Short Title
(1) This Act may be cited as the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.
(2) This Act shall come into force on the 28th day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.


Part I  General Provisions


Section 2  [Rights Affirmed]
The rights and freedoms contained in this Bill of Rights are affirmed.


Section 3  [Application]
This Bill of rights applies only to acts done
(a) By the legislative, executive, or judicial branches of the government of New Zealand; or
(b) By any person or body in the performance of any public function, power, or duty conferred or imposed on that person or body by
or pursuant to law.


Section 4  [Other Enactments]
No court shall, in relation to any enactment (whether passed or made before or after the commencement of this Bill of Rights),
(a) Hold any provision of the enactment to be impliedly repealed or revoked, or to be in any way invalid or ineffective; or
(b) Decline to apply any provision of this enactment by reason only that the provision is inconsistent with any provision of this Bill of
Rights.


Section 5  [Justified Limitations]
Subject to Section 4 of this Bill of Rights, the rights and freedoms contained in this Bill of Rights may be subject only to such
reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.


Section 6  [Interpretation]
Wherever an enactment can be given a meaning that is consistent with the rights and freedoms contained in this Bill of Rights, that
meaning shall be preferred to any other meaning.


Section 7  [Attorney-General's Report]
Where any Bill is introduced into the House of Representatives, the Attorney-General shall,
(a) In the case of a Government Bill, on the introduction of that Bill; or
(b) In any other case, as soon as practicable after the introduction of the Bill, bring to the attention of the House of Representatives
any provision in the Bill that appears to be inconsistent with any of the rights and freedoms in this Bill of Rights.


Part II  Civil and Political Rights


[Chapter 1]  Life and the Security of the Person


Section 8  [Life]
No one shall be deprived of life except on such grounds as are established by law and are consistent with the principles of fundamental
justice.


Section 9  [Torture, Cruel Treatment]
Everyone has the right not to be subjected to torture or to cruel, degrading, or disproportionately severe treatment or punishment.


Section 10  [Experimentation]
Every person has the right not to be subjected to medical or scientific experimentation without that person's consent.


Section 11  [Medical Treatment]
Everyone has the right to refuse to undergo any medical treatment.


[Chapter 2]  Democratic and Civil Rights


Section 12  [Electoral rights]
Every New Zealand citizen who is of or over the age of 18 years
(a) Has the right to vote in genuine periodic elections of members of the House of Representatives, which elections shall be by equal
suffrage and by secret ballot; and
(b) Is qualified for membership of the House of Representatives.


Section 13  [Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion]
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and belief, including the right to adopt and hold opinions without
interference.


Section 14  [Freedom of expression]
Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any
kind in any form.


Section 15  [Religion and Belief]
Every person has the right to manifest that person's religion or belief in worship, observance, practice, or teaching, either individually
or in community with others, and either in public or in private.


Section 16  [Assembly]
Everyone has the right of peaceful assembly.


Section 17  [Association]
Everyone has the right to freedom of association.


Section 18  [Movement]
(1) Everyone lawfully in New Zealand has the right to freedom of movement and residence in New Zealand.
(2) Every New Zealand citizen has the right to enter New Zealand.
(3) Everyone has the right to leave New Zealand.
(4) No one who is not a New Zealand citizen and who is lawfully in New Zealand shall be required to leave New Zealand except under
a decision taken on grounds prescribed by law.


[Chapter 3]  Non-Discrimination and Minority Rights


Section 19  Freedom from Discrimination
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom from discrimination on the grounds of discrimination in the Human Rights Act 1993.
(2) Measures taken in good faith for the purpose of assisting or advancing persons or groups of persons disadvantaged because of
discrimination that is unlawful by virtue of Part II of the Human Rights Act 1993 do not constitute discrimination.


Section 20  [Rights of Minorities]
A person who belongs to an ethnic, religious, or linguistic minority in New Zealand shall not be denied the right, in community with
other members of that minority, to enjoy the culture, to profess and practise the religion, or to use the language, of that minority.


[Chapter 4]  Search, Arrest, and Detention


Section 21  [Unreasonable Search and Seizure]
Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure, whether of the person, property, or correspondence, or
otherwise.


Section 22  [Personal Liberty]
Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily arrested or detained.


Section 23  [Arrest]
(1) Everyone who is arrested or who is detained under any enactment
(a) Shall be informed at the time of the arrest or detention of the reason for it; and
(b) Shall have the right to consult and instruct a lawyer without delay and to be informed of that right; and
(c) Shall have the right to have the validity of the arrest or detention determined without delay by way of habeas corpus and to be
released if the arrest or detention is not lawful.
(2) Everyone who is arrested for an offence has the right to be charged promptly or to be released.
(3) Everyone who is arrested for an offence and is not released shall be brought as soon as possible before a court or competent
tribunal.
(4) Everyone who is
(a) Arrested; or
(b) Detained under any enactment
for any offence or suspected offence shall have the right to refrain from making any statement and to be informed of that right.
(5) Everyone deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the person.


Section 24  [Criminal Justice]
Everyone who is charged with an offence
(a) Shall be informed promptly and in detail of the nature and cause of the charge; and
(b) Shall be released on reasonable terms and conditions unless there is just cause for continued detention; and
(c) Shall have the right to consult and instruct a lawyer; and
(d) Shall have the right to adequate time and facilities to prepare a defence; and
(e) Shall have the right, except in the case of an offence under military law tried before a military tribunal, to the benefit of a trial by
jury when the penalty for the offence is or includes imprisonment for more than 3 months; and
(f) Shall have the right to receive legal assistance without cost if the interests of justice so require and the person does not have
sufficient means to provide for that assistance; and
(g) Shall have the right to have the free assistance of an interpreter if the person cannot understand or speak the language used in court.


Section 25  [Fair Trial]
Everyone who is charged with an offence has, in relation to the determination of the charge, the following minimum rights:
(a) The right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial court:
(b) The right to be tried without undue delay:
(c) The right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law:
(d) The right not to be compelled to be a witness or to confess guilt:
(e) The right to be present at the trial and to present a defence:
(f) The right to examine the witnesses for the prosecution and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses for the defence
under the same conditions as the prosecution:
(g) The right, if convicted of an offence in respect of which the penalty has been varied between the commission of the offence and
sentencing, to the benefit of the lesser penalty:
(h) The right, if convicted of the offence, to appeal according to the law to a higher court against the conviction or against the
sentence or against both:
(i) The right, in the case of a child, to be dealt with in a manner that takes account of the child's age.


Section 26  [Nulla Poena Sine Lege, Double Jeopardy]
(1) No one shall be liable to conviction of any offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute an offence by such
person under the law of New Zealand at the time it occurred.
(2) No one who has been finally acquitted or convicted of, or pardoned for, an offence shall be tried or punished for it again.


Section 27  [Remedies]
(1) Every person has the right to the observance of the principles of natural justice by any tribunal or other public authority which has
the power to make a determination in respect of that person's right, obligations, or interests protected or recognised by law.
(2) Every person whose rights, obligations, or interests protected or recognised by law have been affected by a determination of any
tribunal or other public authority has the right to apply, in accordance with law, for judicial review of that determination.
(3) Every person has the right to bring civil proceedings against, and to defend civil proceedings brought by, the Crown, and to have
those proceedings heard, according to law, in the same way as civil proceedings between individuals.


Part III  Miscellaneous Provisions


Section 28  [Other Rights and Freedoms]
An existing right or freedom shall not be held to be abrogated or restricted by reason only that the right or freedom is not included in
this Bill of Rights or is included only in part.


Section 29  [Legal Persons]
Except where the provisions of this Bill of Rights otherwise provide, the provisions of this Bill of Rights apply, so far as practicable,
for the benefit of all legal persons as well as for the benefit of all natural persons.
On 6 February 1840, the United Kingdom codified its sovereignty over New Zealand through
the Treaty of Waitangi. To access that document, click
here. On 26 February 1907, New
Zealand declared its independence from the United Kingdom and adopted its first
constitution. It has been revised numerous times, the most recently the Constitution Act of
1986, amended most recently on 1 January 1997 which repealed the Constitution of 1952.
The New Zealand Constitution is not codified in one single document but through a series of
Basic Laws.  New Zealand passed a "Bill of Rights Act"  adopted in 1990 and most recently
amended in 1993 and achieving ICL status on 1 February 1994. The Bill of Rights Act, with
amendments conforms to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights of which New
Zealand is a signatory and is included below.   For a full English translation of Australia's
constitution, click
here.
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