29 Aug 2012

Group of NZ MPs target homosexual and abortion law in plan to improve Pacific health

1:54 pm on 29 August 2012

A cross-party group of New Zealand MPs plans to promote decriminalising homosexuality and abortion law reform in the region.

It's among a suite of recommendations for improving the sexual and reproductive health of young people in the Pacific.

The NZ Parliamentarians' Group on Population and Development has described the situation as dire with a high rate of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections among adolescents, against a backdrop of gender-based violence.

Parliamentarians from several Pacific countries have been involved with the group's plan and its chairperson Dr Jackie Blue says they want help to create a supportive environment in their countries.

"They realise that they are vulnerable to being booted out if they come out with something outrageous and that's so peripheral that their constituents won't accept it or can't see what it's all about. So they have to go gently, gently and they have to get the messaging right and they have to get the information and education right."

Dr Blue says the group will taregt the region's top decision-makers with its recommendations.