The Tribunal is administered by the Ministry of Justice and is completely separate from the Human Rights Commission, Privacy Commissioner, and Health and Disability Commissioner.
Tribunal members are appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice. The Minister maintains a panel of up to 20 members. Individual cases are heard by a chairperson and 2 panel members.
Appointments are based on knowledge or experience of issues likely to come before the Tribunal, such as:
The current Chairperson is Mr Rodger Haines QC who was appointed in July 2011. After being admitted to practice in 1972 Mr Haines engaged for the next eleven years in Government litigation and prosecution work. In 1983 he commenced practice as a barrister sole specialising in human rights and administrative law along with the related fields of immigration, citizenship, extradition, fisheries and customs. When the New Zealand refugee determination system was set up in 1991 he was one of the original three appointees to the Refugee Status Appeals Authority and wrote many of its principal decisions. He remained a member of the Authority until it was disestablished in November 2010. In the period 1994 to 2010 he was Deputy Chairperson.
From 1993 to 2012 Mr Haines was adjunct lecturer in law at the Faculty of Law, Auckland University, where he taught Immigration and Refugee Law. In 2000 and again in 2003 he co-taught papers in Comparative Asylum Law at the University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor. In May 1999 he was appointed Queen's Counsel and in November 2013 appointed Justice of the Pitcairn Supreme Court.
Leigh Alaeinia works for NZ Police in Youth Development. She is also involved with The Children's Team, Rotorua in the capacity of both panel member and Lead Professional. She is a board member of several youth-focused committees and trusts and involved in the development and delivery of intervention programmes for youth. Ms Alaeinia's background studies in law and psychology, along with her extensive hotel management experience combine to give her a wide perspective on societal and cultural issues.
Katherine Anderson is a disputes resolution lawyer with extensive experience in private and public law. She has a strong background in governance, good decision-making processes, health law, privacy and commercial and public law dispute resolution processes.
John Fountain is a semi retired academic economist. He has a BA Hons in Economics from the University of British Columbia and a PhD in Economics from Stanford University. Dr Fountain has taught and researched for many years at the University of Canterbury as well as at various universities in Canada in a wide range of theoretical and applied fields in economics, including health and public sector economics. He has a decade of small business experience in New Zealand and has worked on the leading edge of developments in computing and the internet as part of the global academic community. He is presently lives in Mapua, managing a small holiday stay business and continues to work on research projects on High Country pastoral leases, statistical information theory and economics, and on reform of NZ’s social security legislation and institutions.
Gillian Goodwin is an Auckland lawyer specialising in corporate and commercial law with a focus on securities law and finance.
Wendy Gilchrist is a New Zealander of European descent with a range of health sector, research and business skills. Married 30 years with three adult sons, the support of families, equity in our community and employment issues are of particular interest to her. Since training as a medical and obstetric nurse Mrs Gilchrist has had a career in medical research and business. She owned and managed a medical diagnostics business providing services to both the public sector and private sector. This included training research technologists both nationally and internationally and developing standards for the industry. She was also involved with the establishment of the Canterbury Osteoporosis Society and Osteoporosis New Zealand. Previously an elected member of the Canterbury District Health Board Mrs Gilchrist was also an appointed member of the Christchurch Community Forum which provided advice to the Earthquake Minister. She now manages business interests in Christchurch.
Deborah Hart is the executive director of the Arbitrators' and Mediators' Institute of New Zealand. Formerly a practising lawyer, she has served on the government's Small Business Advisory Group and the Legal Aid Review Panel. She has served on many community groups and is currently an adviser to the Wellington Jewish Community Centre and a life patron of the Adam Art Gallery.
Huhana Hickey has an LLB/BSoc Sci, LLM (Distinction) and a PhD in Law and Tikanga Maori from the University of Waikato. She was a solicitor at Auckland Disability Law (the first disability community law centre in New Zealand) and a Māori Research Fellow at the Taupua Waiora Māori Health Research Unit at the Auckland University of Technology, Akoranga, Auckland. Dr Hickey was the indigenous peoples’ representative for the International Disability Association steering group caucus during the development of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and is still involved with the IDA international networks. Dr Hickey was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2015 for her services to Māori and disability community. She holds several governance roles, is a member of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of New Zealand, sits on the UNITEC ethics committee and is a life member of Rostrevor House in the Waikato.
Mike Keefe is from Ngatï Kahungunu. His whakapapa also connects him to Te Arawa and Ngati Porou. He has a policing background, having served 25 years in the NZ Police (Wellington and Rotorua) in a variety of positions, retiring with the rank of Detective Sergeant. Following retirement Mr Keefe started his own property development company renovating existing and building new residential properties. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 2000, and has served on numerous committees in different roles. Having always had a strong interest in helping youth to succeed he is in his fourth year as Chairperson of the Rotorua Youth and Health Centre Trust. Having similarly been involved with other charitable organisations over many years he remains active in supporting other like organisations. He was recently appointed to the Lotteries committee for the Bay of Plenty/Gisborne Districts, a position which provides a further avenue for service to the community. Mr Keefe returned to the employment of the NZ Police in November of 2001 in a civilian role and currently holds the position of the District Arms Officer for the Rotorua Police.
Pastor Ravi Musuku has qualifications in mechanical engineering and in theology. He has had managerial roles in the engineering industry and was principal of a Technical School.
As a pastor at Hillsborough Baptist Church Pastor Musuku has had wide experience in working with different ethnic communities and people from different religious backgrounds, and in helping new migrants in their settling process in the country. He also works with different groups to reduce prison recidivism.
Pastor Musuku is currently the Chairman of Christian Love Link in Auckland (West), an organisation of 20 churches in the central and west suburbs of Auckland.
Brian Neeson is an elected member of the Waitemata District Health Board, and the chairman of the WDHB’s Audit and Finance committee. He is a member of the Massey community board which is in West Auckland within the Waitakere city council boundaries. Mr Neeson is managing director of two private investment companies. He was a Member of Parliament and, while in Parliament, he became the Chair of the Health Select Committee and an assistant Speaker in the House of Representatives. Mr Neeson’s interests are family life, maintaining his interest and commitment within the community, and sport.
Poalaga Selma Scott holds qualifications in arts (history) (1982) and law (1986) from University of Canterbury. She was admitted to the Bar in New Zealand and also in Samoa in 1986. She has extensive legal, justice, housing, and accident compensation sector experience. Mrs Scott is a sole practitioner and her main areas of practice include immigration, property, accident compensation, family, and employment law. She is a member of the Government Superannuation Appeals Board, is Chair of the Board of the Pacific Trust Canterbury, and Vice-Chair of the Niu Economic & Enterprise Development Trust in Christchurch.
Ken Shirley is a science graduate with professional experience in water and soil conservation and sustainable land management. He is currently CEO of Road Transport Forum N.Z. and is a former CEO of three industry associations, namely the NZ Forest Owners’ Association, Organics Aotearoa NZ and the Researched Medicines Industry Association. He was a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives for five parliamentary terms and is a former Minister of the Crown.
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