“While acknowledging that the NZHRC has received additional budget during the past years for specific parts of its mandate, the SCA notes that these are time-bound and so are not sufficiently sustainable. The SCA encourages the NZHRC to continue to advocate for an increase in its baseline funding, to ensure that it can effectively carry out the full breadth of its mandate, which includes all new relevant powers.
The SCA emphasizes that, to function effectively, an NHRI must be provided with an appropriate level of funding in order to guarantee its ability to freely determine its priorities and activities. In particular, adequate funding should, to a reasonable degree, ensure the gradual and progressive realization of improvement in the NHRI’s operations and the fulfilment of its mandate.
Provision of adequate funding by the State should, at a minimum, include the following:
a) The allocation of funds for premises, which are accessible to the wide community, including for persons with disabilities. In certain circumstances, in order to promote independence and accessibility, this may require that offices are not co-located with government agencies. Where possible, accessibility should be further enhanced by establishing a permanent regional presence;
b) Salaries and benefits awarded to staff comparable to those of civil servants performing similar tasks in other independent institutions of the State;
c) Remuneration of members of the decision-making body (where appropriate);
d) The establishment of a well-functioning communications system including telephone and internet; and
e) The allocation of a sufficient amount of resources for mandated activities. Where an NHRI has been mandated with additional responsibilities by the State, it must be provided with additional financial resources to enable it to assume the responsibilities of discharging these functions.“