The Labour Party has announced several policies to help New Zealanders “live free of discrimination” based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The policies include banning conversion therapy and working with schools to provide gender-neutral bathrooms.
The party’s Rainbow spokesperson Tāmati Coffey says more work needs to be done to “keep moving towards a more inclusive New Zealand”.
“We will pass a law to ban the harmful practice of conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is based on the misguided idea that people are wrong or broken because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is fundamentally wrong,” he said.
“Conversion therapy has been linked to severe adverse mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.
“It is a practice that causes harm and is out of place in the kind, inclusive and modern country we are.”
Two petitions were presented to Parliament in 2018 calling for a ban on conversion therapy. The Justice Select Committee responded at the time by saying that while there was agreement that conversion therapy was harmful, “more work needs to be done” before any decision is taken to ban it.
Labour MP Grant Robertson says it hasn’t banned the practice during its three years of governing because there wasn’t “full government support” for it.
“What we are now saying though is this will be something we will push in government and we will pass legislation,” he said.
“The kind of practices that attempt to change or suppress somebody’s sexuality are wrong and we need to make sure that we send a very clear message about that.”
Along with the ban, Labour MP Louisa Wall says the party will also