Green Party to launch petition calling on Govt to prioritise banning conversion therapy

Source: 1News

The Green Party is set to launch a petition today calling on the Government to urgently prioritise the banning of conversion therapy.

The petition will be launched by Green Party spokesperson for rainbow communities, Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, at Big Gay Out in Auckland this afternoon.

"There is no place for conversion therapy in Aotearoa," Kerekere said.

"Aotearoa should be a place where no matter who you love or how you identify, you are accepted and no one should be allowed to force people to change who they are through this harmful and traumatising practice."

Conversion therapy involves the practice of trying to change a person's sexual orientation through "shaming, emotional manipulation and in extreme cases, physical trauma," Kerekere said.

She says while there have been "multiple petitions" over the years calling on the Government to ban the practice and "many parties have committed to banning it," the Labour Party has indicated that "any plan to prioritise is not urgent, with no plans to introduce legislation immediately".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last week said she wants to see the first step to banning conversion therapy in Parliament this year.

"We're working on the policy now," Ardern said last Friday.

"We'll be going out and consulting with communities deeply affected by this in the coming months.

"We've committed to reform, but I want to get it right."

However, Kerekere says legislation must be introduced as soon as possible, adding: "As the weeks and months roll by, we risk more rainbow New Zealanders being exposed to this harmful practice."

"Not only is it unethical, but it has been linked to serious long-term mental health issues," she said.

"I’m calling on my Labour colleagues to stop the harm it's causing to our Rainbow whānau now.

"Labour has committed to banning it. Let’s not let more of our community be exposed to harm. We must get the legislation into the Parliament as soon as possible."