Former teachers' union leader Rosslyn Noonan is poised to become the new chief Human Rights Commissioner.

Privacy Commissioner Bruce Slane is also to be re-appointed this week for another two years.

But the post of Race Conciliator is still vacant after Dr Rajen Prasad completed his term.

Rosslyn Noonan is at present based in Brussels working as the trade union and human rights co-ordinator for an international teachers' organisation, Education International.


She was secretary of the primary teachers' union, the New Zealand Educational Institute, before taking up the Brussels post in 1998. She is aged 55.

As a Labour councillor on the Wellington City Council from 1980 to 1986, she unsuccessfully contested the mayoralty against Sir Michael Fowler.

The post has been open since the last former commissioner, Pamela Jefferies, finished an extension to her term over a year ago.

Nominations for Race Relations Conciliator are being considered at present but the role may be affected by a review of the Human Rights Commission.

The conciliator is also a human rights commissioner. But a review released in October last year proposed a new body, the Human rights Institution, incorporating functions now carried out by the Human Rights Commission and the Race Relations Office. Decisions on the review are due in April.

Rosslyn Noonan's appointment is due to be announced this week by Associate Justice Minister Margaret Wilson.