4 Aug 2018

Conversion therapy ban could be considered - Justice Minister

6:22 am on 4 August 2018

Justice Minister Andrew Little says a ban on conversion therapy could be considered as part of a review of the Human Rights Act.

Andrew Little

Andrew Little Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The controversial therapies purport to be able to cure people of their same-sex attractions, or suppress them, using a range of techniques.

There have been growing calls in New Zealand for the practice to be outlawed.

A petition launched by Young Labour and the Young Greens calling for the practice to be banned has so far collected more than 14,000 signatures.

Conversion therapies were an "off-the-wall" practice that shouldn't be happening in a civilised society, Mr Little said.

The government isn't considering a ban at the moment, but there would be a review of the Human Rights Act next year, and the issue could be incorporated into that, he said.

"There's quite a big programme of work and if we can weave it in around something like that, then that's something it would be good to hear submissions to a select committee about."

The Green Party supports banning conversion therapy and rainbow issues spokesperson, Jan Logie, said they would work with other parties in Parliament to try and get a ban across the line.

"I think the therapy is gross and dangerous and is seeking to deny and suppress our diversity, and that causes real harm," she said.

Ms Logie said the Greens would be accepting the petition from the Young Greens and Young Labour.

Once that petition has been presented to Parliament, it will be referred to a select committee, which will hear submissions on it.