Justice Minister Simon Power is heading to New York tomorrow to defend New Zealand's use of Tasers, the Bill of Rights Act, and its record on the Treaty of Waitangi at the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

Mr Power will face a grilling over two days from the committee of independent experts from 18 countries on those and other issues relevant to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The minister will be supported by officials from Corrections, the Department of Labour, Crown Law, the Ministry of Justice, and UN-based Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials.

He will also be joined by New Zealand's Ambassador to the United Nations, Jim McLay, a former National Party leader and Justice Minister.

Mr Power said it would be a robust discussion and something akin to an "international question time".

"You front up, you make your statement and you are not quite sure what your supplementaries are going to be.

"But there is a fair bit of preparation and study goes into it beforehand."

Mr Power said he would assure the committee that while Tasers had been drawn a number of times, they had been used "on very very few occasions". He would also put it into the context of the fact that New Zealand police were not armed.

"This is their instrument of last resort."

He has already filed a 30-page response to a list of written questions from the committee.

He expected to have a discussion on the over-representation of Maori in social demographic statistics.

He was not sure if he would be quizzed on New Zealand's commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which various countries on the Human Rights Council have asked New Zealand to support.

Mr Power told the broader Human Rights Council last year that the Government would like to "move to support" the declaration provided it could protect the domestic framework developed for the resolution of issues related to indigenous rights.

Last night he said that work towards that end was still "actively ongoing".

The grilling in New York is in addition to the delegation Mr Power led last year to Geneva where New Zealand's broader record on human rights was tested under a relatively new process, the Universal Periodic Review.

The point of the exercises was "literally an international testing ground on how well we have complied with different international instruments and covenants that we have signed up to over a period of time".

Asked how he felt about being questioned by countries with dubious records themselves, he said it was better to compare New Zealand against its own record of improvement rather than against other countries.

Members of the Human Rights Committee that will grill Mr Power in New York come from: Tunisia, Algeria, India, France, Morocco, Egypt, Japan, Switzerland, Mauritius, South Africa, Romania, Ireland, Peru, Colombia, Britain, Argentina, Sweden and the US."

QUESTIONS FOR NZ
* Please provide detailed information on cases in which electro-muscular disruption devices "Tasers" have been used by the the police and the standard operating procedures.
* What measures does the state party envisage taking to incorporate the Treaty of Waitangi in domestic law?
* What concrete measures have been taken to ensure that domestic legislation is consistent with the Bill of Rights Act 1990?
* Please comment ... on information according to which, during the Operation Eight held on October 15, 2007, by police, armed offenders squads and special tactics groups in Tuhoe and other communities, Maori individuals and their families were victims of violations of their rights and subjected to discriminatory treatment.