The Human Rights Commission will launch a national inquiry into housing after what it says has been a failure by successive Governments.
Chief Human Rights commissioner Paul Hunt says everyone has the right to a decent home.
But the commission on Monday said successive Governments had promised to create a decent home for everyone - something that hasn't happened.
"For many people, especially young people, the goal of an affordable, healthy, accessible home has actually become more remote," said Hunt.
The commission said it will use section 5(2) of the Human Rights Act as a guideline for its investigation - which it will announce details for later this year.
In 2021, New Zealand housing shortages have helped drive prices up to record amounts - despite the Government introducing measures to crack down on property investors in an attempt to cool the market.
Noting the current Government had made an encouraging start on housing, Hunt said more needed to be done.
"The right to a decent home, although binding on New Zealand in international law, is almost invisible and unknown in Aotearoa," he said in a statement. "The present Government has made a promising start on housing, but it remains to be seen if it will do better than its predecessors and address New Zealand's housing and human rights emergency.
"Based on the guidelines, the inquiry will help ensure the Government keeps its promises to everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand."