Labour arbitrarily limit debate on Conversion Practices Bill

Labour has again demonstrated their determination to limit any public scrutiny on legislation they have already decided to pass, National’s Justice spokesperson Simon Bridges says.

“Today Labour members voted against putting the Conversion Therapy Practices Prohibition Bill through the usual six week public submission process. Railroading conventional democratic pathways for bills, Labour has opted to shorten the submissions period by over a third to under four weeks.

“This issue has proven to be contentious and now Labour is seeking to restrict the ability of those with concerns about the Bill to engage in the legislative process.

“The justification for limiting public engagement with the Conversion Practices bill was simply that Labour want it passed before Christmas. In that case, why bother with submissions at all? Clearly, Labour have decided how this is all going to play out.

“This demonstrates the arrogance that characterises this Labour Government and their willingness to use their Parliamentary majority to manipulate how our democracy functions.

“Concern about parents being criminalised is valid, despite demonisation of those who voice it. Labour’s own documents make clear that this Bill will criminalise parents for exercising caution around puberty blockers and medical transitioning.

“Minister Kris Faafoi has been unable to rule out prosecution of parents and nor has the Prime Minister. Rather than allay fears and tidy up the language of the Bill, they prefer to shut down debate and to ram through the legislation.

“Public submissions should not be seen as an irritating box-ticking exercise. They serve a vital purpose in our lawmaking process. Labour needs to front up and listen to the various perspectives that will be shared by submitters.

“Frankly, their disregard for Parliamentary process, public consultation, and democratic norms is unacceptable and Kiwis are taking notice.”