Vote Compass: Most New Zealanders want conversion therapy banned

Andrew Macfarlane
Source: 1News

Numbers from TVNZ’s Vote Compass tool reveal the majority of New Zealanders want to see so-called “conversion therapy” banned.

More than 260,000 people have used the survey to see where they fit in on the political spectrum.

Voters were asked if there “should be an immediate ban on therapies that claim to convert someone from gay to straight.”

Seventy-two per cent of voters agree with the idea, and 14 per cent of the population is against it.

Twelve per cent don’t know.

What is conversion therapy?

To this day the controversial practice, in which practitioners attempt to change a person's sexual orientation, is still legal in New Zealand.

The Select Committee has responded to two petitions to ban it, saying that while it agrees conversion therapy is harmful, it needs to gather more information before banning it.

The committee also raised concerns around how conversion therapy would be defined and “how to ensure that rights relating to freedom of expression and religion were maintained.”

While there are is limited data on how widespread the practice is, the New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists and the New Zealand Association of Counsellors have condemned it.

A 2019 report from the Health Research Council and Waikato University found that more than one in six transgender or non-binary people have experienced a professional trying to change their gender identity.

Where do the parties sit?

While Labour hasn’t announced a party policy, party member Marja Lubeck lodged a Member's Bill to put an end to it in 2018.

The Green Party has a policy to ban conversion therapy, saying it wants her bill taken over as a Government Bill.

The Opportunities Party has also said it would support a ban on conversion therapy.

Developed by a team of social and statistical scientists from Vox Pop Labs, Vote Compass is a civic engagement application offered in New Zealand exclusively by TVNZ. The findings are based on 6155 respondents who participated in Vote Compass from September 11, 2020 to September 15, 2020 and answered a question of the day on conversion therapy.