More time needed to consider conversion practices bill

With more submissions by a massive margin than received for any other piece of law in Parliament’s history, it’s clear more time is needed to consider the Conversion Practices Bill than Labour is currently allowing, National’s Justice spokesperson Simon Bridges says.

“Despite the shortened process Labour has so far enforced, more than 100,000 submissions have been made by New Zealanders on the legislation.

“The likelihood is that a majority of these are critical of the flawed bill and these numbers, in and of themselves, would be more submissions than any other bill has ever received historically.

“Yet Labour’s earlier decision to railroad this law through Parliament by the end of the year without any amendments would mean many of these submissions won’t be able to be considered.

“Due to the Covid-19 lockdown and the unprecedented numbers who want to be heard, the submission process should be extended to take until at least the end of the year, and it may in fact have to go into 2022 to make sure the work is done properly.

“Passing the law by Christmas was always a high-handed move by Labour. At the beginning of the year it promised New Zealanders legislation banning conversion therapy but only got around to introducing a bill last month.

“National has already outlined our concerns with the legislation. We believe parents should be allowed to be parents. We don’t want to see the state intervening every time there are complex medical or wellbeing matters to be discussed in families.

“Parents aren’t trying to harm their children, but decisions around medical transition are very serious and this law would cause unreasonable levels of fear in parents who are only trying to navigate the best outcomes for their child.

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