A Bill introducing a scheme to wipe convictions for historical homosexual offences passed its first reading in Parliament today with unanimous support, says Justice Minister Amy Adams.
The passing of the first reading of the Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill followed a formal apology by Parliament to the men who were convicted for homosexual offences.
“Today we put it on the record that Parliament deeply regrets the hurt and stigma suffered by the hundreds of men who were affected and that we recognise the continued effects the convictions have had on their lives,” says Ms Adams.
“The Bill is the next step in righting this wrong. It will allow men convicted of specific homosexual offences decriminalised by the Homosexual Law Reform Act 1986 to apply to the Secretary for Justice to have their convictions wiped.”
The scheme will be open to applications from people with historical offences relating to sexual conduct between consenting men, or by a family member of partner if the person is deceased. The process will be free and applicants need not appear in person.
“There may be instances where the conduct a person was convicted of is still unlawful today, which is why the scheme requires a case-by-case approach,” says Ms Adams.
“If a person’s conviction is expunged, the conviction will not appear on a criminal history check for any purpose and they will be entitled to declare they had no such conviction when required to under New Zealand law.”
The Bill will now be considered by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee.