Improvements needed on Conversion Bill

National is on board with the core intent of the Conversion Practices Prohibition Bill, however we would need to see amendment in order to support it, National’s Justice spokesperson Simon Bridges says.

“Minister Kris Faafoi’s interview with Heather du Plessis-Allan in which he was unable to rule out prosecutions for parents has caused alarm bells to ring for many New Zealanders. Reading the legislation shows that the Minister’s reluctance was justified as it really does leave parents exposed.

“It is important that we consider sexual orientation and gender identity or expression separately. Sexual orientation requires no medical intervention whereas when it comes to gender identity/expression, parents are naturally concerned about being able to make decisions about their children being given puberty blockers and hormones.

“Parents should be allowed to be parents. We really do not want to go down the route of state intervention every time there are complex medical or wellbeing matters to be discussed in families.

“We need to see some common sense from Minister Faafoi on this. Parents are not seeking to harm their children, but decisions around medical transition are very serious and this law would cause unreasonable levels of fear in parents trying to navigate the best outcomes for their child.

“If Minister Faafoi is willing to tighten up some of the loose definitions and add in a parental exemption clause that would protect parents from being prosecuted, National will be able to give the Bill our support.

“It is our hope that constructive conversation with the Government can be had so that we can ensure that this legislation doesn’t demonise good parents who are looking out for their kids.”