National attempting to cover up caucus division over conversion therapy

Source: 1News

National is warning parents could be prosecuted under a proposed law banning conversion therapy as attempts are made to cover up caucus division over the issue.

Labour says prosecutions are highly unlikely as they accuse National of using rainbow youth as a political pawn.

At the Big Gay Out earlier this year, National backed a ban on conversion therapy.

“We have unanimously agreed that we would support this but we do need to see the Bill,” Collins said.

Fast forward a few months and Collins has done a u-turn.

“I will not support parents being criminalised for trying to be parents,” she said.

She says the proposed law fails to protect parents from prosecution if they refuse their child hormone blockers which help delay puberty and unwanted physical changes.

“I can remember being 12 I can remember some of the ideas I had then and I think that it is really important that parents must be backed to be parents,” Collins said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern argues the bar for prosecution is high

“You would have to have an Attorney-General decide that that prosecution is a good idea I see that as highly unlikely,” she said.

ACT agrees with National but supported the bill to select committee stage, where changes can be made.

“It's pretty difficult to see ACT supporting it given what we know now but we're open to listening at the select committee,” David Seymour said.

National though, won't budge, drawing condemnation from the other side.

The practice has been widely criticised by members of the rainbow community but others are calling the new Government bill an attack on parents' rights.

“The only conclusion I can draw is there's some sort of political game being played. I don't think our young rainbow community members should be pawns in that game," Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said.

The Government says changes National and ACT are looking for could have a ripple effect on other legislation, including abortion, where the advice of a medical practitioner could outweigh the rights of a parent.

The issue dividing National, with a tweet revealing Chris Bishop hated voting against it.

“I'm not sure I would characterise it in that way,” he replied when asked why he hated it.

“It's disappointing that a private conversation’s been leaked out.”

MPs clearly falling into the party line, after its AGM over the weekend promised a united National.