The treatment of intellectually disabled man Ashley Peacock's case at a Porirua mental health unit has been included in Amnesty International's annual global report on human rights abuses.

The New Zealand section of Amnesty International's annual stocktake of human rights concerns included mention of an Ombudsman's report into an intellectually disabled man kept in a health facility for five years - which the Amnesty report noted were "conditions amounting to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment".

That Ombudsman investigation was prompted by the Herald's coverage of Ashley Peacock, who has an intellectual disability and a schizophrenic illness and was kept in near-seclusion conditions in the mental health unit at Porirua and allowed outside for an average 90 minutes a day.​

The Chief Ombudsman described his living situation as "cruel, inhuman or degrading" prompting fresh calls for him to be removed from near-permanent seclusion.


It was one of several areas of concern in New Zealand flagged in The State of the World's Human Rights report.

There was also mention of high incarceration rates of Maori in prisons, ongoing high levels of sexual and physical violence against women and child poverty.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said while there had been some changes to help protect women and girls in the overhaul of domestic violence laws, the criticism was "well-deserved". She said the Government had failed to deliver on promises to address the drivers of crime and poverty.

The report also noted plans for a formal extradition treaty with China, saying criminal suspects could be at risk of serious human rights violations if sent back to China.

It was highly critical of Australia for its offshore asylum seeker centres in Nauru and Manus Island, and noted although New Zealand had offered to take 150 a year since 2013 Australia had rejected that.

Grant Bayldon, Amnesty International NZ's executive director, said while the offer was welcome, the New Zealand Government's failure to criticise Australia over the centres was "a huge disappointment".

​It noted the increase in New Zealand's total refugee quota from 750 to 1000, but Bayldon said New Zealand could do more.

Turei also said the Government needed to be more vocal about the treatment of Australia's asylum seekers and to take more refugees.

However, the main concerns in the report were international.


Syria was one focus - the report listed "gross human rights abuses" as sieges trapped and killed citizens, as well as impunity for war crimes.

Others ranged from the "divisive" politics of United States President Donald Trump to conditions in Turkey after the coup attempt and "heavy-handed security measures" in France as its state of emergency following terror attacks continued.