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National used to be better than this

Written By: - Date published: 8:28 am, August 6th, 2021 - 59 comments
Categories: chris bishop, gay rights, gender, human rights, john key, national, same old national - Tags:

Back in the day National used to have a strong urban liberal wing.

John Key was responsible.  He realised that National’s traditional support base would not deliver power.  So he set out to broaden its appeal.

One of the early signs was when he had the National Caucus sign up to Sue Bradford’s anti smacking bill.  With a few transparent changes that meant nothing in reality he was responsible for getting the bill passed.  It persuaded ordinary Kiwis that Key could be trusted and had some liberal instincts.  We could have a progressive society and good economic management under his leadership.

Key was great with the visuals.  Early on he talked about an under class and the trip to Waitangi with Aroha Ireland before he became Prime Minister was a major PR event for him to show that at least superficially he cared about poor people.

The reality was different.  When he left over a quarter of a million of children were living in poverty and kids were living in cars even though their parents have jobs.  But perception was more important than reality.

Key was great at the pirouette and the change of the direction and the grabbing of opposition policy as well as the micro policy, the change that had little practical effect but which could be announced triumphantly as evidence that National was different.  The increase to benefits that National announced in 2016 was one of those policies.

He was also really good at reaching out to the gay and lesbian community.  He was a regular attendee at the big gay out and managed to engender something of a cult following.

It did not go far, most of the gay and lesbian community continued to be Labour and Green supporters.  But it did give National some credence with urban liberals.

In this guest post by Tigger in 2011 skepticism was expressed about Key’s liberal credentials:

I know I’m supposed to admire the fact that a National party PM would take time out of his busy schedule to be seen with us homos (what a tolerant guy that nice Mr Key is!) but there’s something utterly dishonest about him appearing at the Big Gay Out.

History has a lot to do with this. Key leads a party that has rarely been our supporter and very often our oppressor. I still vividly remember the mid-1980s when the National Party and their supporters tried to kill homosexual law reform. Norm Jones, National MP for Invercargill, famously told us to ‘Go back into the sewers where you come from’.

And more recently in 2004 the Nats overwhelmingly voted against the civil union legislation. Some like Judith Collins conveniently claimed she would have voted yes if it had been gay marriage, the same logic that would see you denying bread to a starving person because it isn’t as good as caviar.

To be fair to our PM, his voting record does contain some gay positive ticks. He voted for both the Property (Relationships) Amendment Act and the obliteration of the provocation defence. But did the public register these as gay-related legislation? Or did Key’s polling tell him he could get away with these votes without drawing any fundamentalist fire?

Tigger was right.  National still remained very conservative on gay rights issues.  But at least they were pretending to be receptive.

Fast forward to yesterday and National blew all remaining urban liberal credibility out of the water.  They voted to oppose the introduction of the bill criminalising the use of the barbaric practice of gay conversion therapy.  Their reasoning was all over the place.

Simon Bridges kicked things off by saying this:

National supports the core intention of this thought. People should be free to be who they want to be and to love who they want to love. There is one major sticking point, however, which means that although we want to be supportive, we are opposing this law until it is amended. It is very clear in Kris Faafoi’s interview on Newstalk ZB with Heather du Plessis-Allan, and any plain reading of this bill, that good parenting will be criminalised … facing up to five years—it is exactly what it is saying—imprisonment for being parents to children under 18. The members opposite yell at me, but that is what Kris Faafoi said on Newstalk ZB, and it is wrong.

Parents should be allowed to be parents and to explore sexuality and gender with their children. But under this law, if a mum tells her 12-year-old son or daughter, “Taihoa, before you go on puberty blockers or other hormone treatment, wait till you’re 18”, that mum will be breaking the law. National believes there must be an exemption for parents.

Wow I thought, will the Bill really criminalise good parenting?

A reading of the bill suggests the proposition is ludicrous.

Section 9, breach of which has a penalty of up to five years imprisonment states:

A person commits an offence if the person performs a conversion practice on an individual that causes serious harm to the individual and the person—

(a)  knew that performing the conversion practice would cause serious harm to the individual; or
(b)  was reckless as to whether the performance of the conversion practice would cause serious harm to the individual.

A conversion practice is defined as “any practice that … is directed towards an individual because of the individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression; and is performed with the intention of changing or suppressing the individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression”. However it does not include “the expression only of a religious principle or belief made to an individual that is not intended to change or suppress the individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression”.

So to qualify for five years in the clink a parent would have to cause serious harm to their child by imposing the practice AND they had to either know that the practice would cause serious harm OR they were reckless about if harm would occur.  And the Attorney General’s approval for the prosecution has to be given.  There are a whole lot of caveats and requirements before prison becomes an option.

There is a further offence under section 8 which has a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment of performing conversion therapy on a person under the age of 18.  The definition of “Conversion Practice” will need some work as what is a practice is not initially clear.  It should require something more than a conversation between a parent and a child and would not on the face of it be captured by a parent making a decision as to medical treatment.

Bridges finished by saying this:

I intend on writing to Kris Faafoi shortly. Given the good intention of this bill, National wants to work with him so that we can support it. But, regrettably, we cannot, in good conscience, while it criminalises parents for being parents, while it intervenes in families with the criminal law over conversations and decisions about medical treatment that should be for them. We are opposing this bill until Kris Faafoi does the right thing.

The language in the bill in parts is not clear and needs to be reviewed further.  That is what select committees are for.  If National wanted to work with the Government it would have agreed to the bill going to select committee.  Then any problems could be identified and addressed.

The liberal wing of the party were performing triple backward summersaults in trying to claim that their stand was a principled stand and that in opposing it, rather than sending it to select committee Parliament could improve the bill.  We should have included them into the country’s Olympic team.  With this amount of dexterity they would have been medal contenders.

National, which was the only party in Parliament to do so, is playing political games with its opposition to the bill.  Which is a shame really.  Conversion therapy is a barbaric practice that needs to be banned.  National should be contributing to the debate on how to do this, not playing political games with the issue.

It is clear that the broad electoral coalition that John Key built up and which sustained National for three terms in Government is in tatters.  David Seymour and ACT must be grinning from ear to ear.

59 comments on “National used to be better than this ”

  1. Pete 1

    So what is Bridges? A dick? 'Mischievous'? Arrogant in thinking thinking people will be sucked into his BS? Clever in knowing thick people will be sucked into his BS?

    I might send him a sticker to put on his mirror so he can look at it every morning:

    "All my dreams of life and I have become this?"

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    Does John Key still hang out with the gay and lesbian community; attend the Big Gay Out and so on? Is he still their darling?

    Or has he lost interest?

  3. Anker 3
    • Well Mickey did you listen to the Kris Faifoi interview? Kris is either seriously confused about his own legislation, or what he said is true.
    • because after trying to avoid giving an answer, this is what the Minister said. That if a parent said no to their 12 year old child who wants puberty blockers, that would be seen as a Conversion Therapy practice. And while it is doubtful it would end up with five years in prison, it would/could see that parent get a visit from the police. Are you ok with that MS? Should parents not be able to say no to their kids on puberty blockers
    • Also Kris mentioned lay people like a rugby coach…………very puzzling

    what about the case of a therapist who gives parents the evidence on puberty blockers eg that Sweden, Finland and the UK, have rolled back their use of them and NICE says they are experimental. Is that therapist guilty of conversion therapy? What do you think?

    There is an international movement of therapists who oppose conversion therapy (as I do ) but are very concerned about the implications for their practice. Happy to put up the link when I have a moment.

    The Daily Blog claims there has been one one case of Conversion Therapy in NZ since 1997.

    • Forget now 3.1

      Faafoi does seem to be pretty checked out, though I haven't read TDB for yonks. Bradbury interminable repetitions get a bit tedious, but I did like some of the guest authors (especially McCarten)

      he’s declining a number of media interviews in key areas undergoing reform, making him missing in action at a time when he should be front-footing progressive legislation…

      Newsroom understands Faafoi wanted to exit Parliament altogether at the last election to spend more time with his young family.

      But some in the Labour Party convinced him otherwise…

      The danger is that by persuading Faafoi to stay, they’ve retained a minister whose enthusiasm and drive for the job was already waning – and worse, is now resentful for being stuck with the hospital pass that is the immigration portfolio.


      I can't find the original Newsroom piece (that website layout is pretty unpleasant), nor do I think that I would likely agree with author Muir on much. However, I do have to agree that Faafoi performance has been a bit casual of late – he is supposed to be one of the more media savvy politicians, but you wouldn't guess so from his clear lack of preparation for interviews.

      • tc 3.1.1

        Faafoi is what you get left with after the ABC crusaders purged the unbelievers.

        Ineffective, lightweight and part of the club (broadcasting) he's minister of. Twyford is similarly useless IMO.

        • David

          Personally I’d add Poto and DC to that list too.

          • mike

            Why don't you two throw your hat in the ring and do the job yourselves?

            Or is yours just another case of the Champion Armchair All Black?

      • Molly 3.1.2

        Highlighted a sentence in the post and hit search, and the interview came up right away,

        This link would have been useful in the original post, as Kris Faafoi sounds like a blithering idiot. He deserves criticism from everyone, not just National for his repeated failure to provide clarity. Harm can also occur from lack of appropriate counselling, and inappropriate medication. Faafoi seems to think conversations are good as long as they are good. ???

        (… and he has a weird fixation with rugby coaches).

      • Anker 3.1.3

        yes Forget now, I saw the newsroom article about Faafoi. He should do whats right for him and leave if that is best for him.

        There were a lot of queries about him getting the Justice Portfolio.

        I think he has been unable to answer basic questions on hate speech. And the interview on Conversion Therapy left some scratching their heads. Rugby coaches….converstion therapy?????? What is this bill really about.

      • Incognito 3.1.4

        First search ‘hit’ on Google: https://www.newsroom.co.nz/whats-eating-kris-faafoi

  4. Anker 4
    • Well Mickey did you listen to the Kris Faifoi interview? Kris is either seriously confused about his own legislation, or what he said is true.
    • because after trying to avoid giving an answer, the what the Minister said was that if a parent said no to 12 year old child who wants puberty blockers, that would be seen as a Conversion Therapy practice. And while it is doubtful it would end up with five years in prison, it would/could see that parent get a visit from the police. Do you are with that MS? Should parents not be able to say no to their kids on puberty blockers

    what about the case of a therapist who gives parents the evidence on puberty blockers eg that Sweden, Finland and the UK, have rolled back their use of them and NICE says they are experimental. Is that therapist guilty of conversion therapy? What do you think?

    There is an international movement of therapists who oppose conversion therapy (as I do in its purist sense) but are very concerned about the implications for there practice. Happy to put up the link when I have a moment.

    The Daily Blog claims there has been one one case of Conversion Therapy in NZ since 1997.

    • John 4.1

      Sorry, but is Bradbury making the argument that because the MOJ and HRC doesn't have a case history for Conversion Therapy, which is legal, that it doesn't actually happen that much?

      He's been smoking some bad stuff recently, but he can't be so far beyond reason that he doesn't understand the reason the legislation is there is to actually capture and deal with the harm the currently legal practice of Conversion Therapy does to people.

      • Anker 4.1.1

        You make a fair comment John.

        Do you have any data on how wide spread conversion therapy is in NZ.

        A close relative of mine is in field and thought that it was would be mainly fringe christian groups who weren't proper therapists.

    • Gabby 4.2

      How is the prescribing of puberty blockers not conversion therapy?

      • Forget now 4.2.1

        The hint is in the word "prescribing"; Gabby. As in; the puberty blockers being the recommended treatment for gender dysphoria by a licensed Doctor after due consultation with paediatric endocrinologists and psychologists (possibly too much given the long delays in the public health system, unless they have parents who can fund private specialists; someone who waited until 12 to start that process wouldn't be getting blockers until they were 14 anyway).

        Otherwise it's just rolling the dice on whether a trans person survives if puberty hits before they are aged 16 (and had the foresight to start talking to doctors a couple of years before then). Puberty Blockers are reversible, whereas going straight on Hormone Replacement Therapy at 16 really isn't. I don't actually know what the oldest someone has been on PBlockers, but I imagine it could be until 20 – which is getting late in adolescence even for late bloomers (like; I imagine doctors would be trying to induce puberty by then).

        • Anker

          And yet Forget Now, Findland, Swedeen and the UK have rolled back their use of puberty blockers in young teens. NICE have reviewed all the evidence on them and said they are experiemental at best and there is very little evidence they treat gender dysphoria, body image or mental health. I have posted the link to this a number of times. Happy to do this again. NICE is the National Institute fro Health and Care Excellence. They are an independent body who review available evidence for medications and medical proceedure.

          • Forget now

            I did download all 130 pages from your pdf link the other day; Anker, but have only lightly skimmed it so far. Inconclusive at best was my conclusion, after all:

            The size of the population with gender dysphoria means conducting a prospective trial may be unrealistic, at least on a single centre basis. There may also be ethical issues with a ‘no treatment arm’ in comparative trials of GnRH analogues, where there may be poor mental health outcomes if treatment is withheld…

            The studies included in this evidence review are all small, uncontrolled observational studies, which are subject to bias and confounding, and are of very low certainty… All the included studies reported physical and mental health comorbidities and concomitant treatments very poorly. For example, very little data are reported on how many children and adolescents needed additional mental health support, and for what reasons, or whether additional interventions, and what form and duration (for example drug treatment or counselling) that took.

            But then I gave up on the original source, and looked for criticism (there is always criticism in science). This seems pithy enough that I don't have to bother thinking of how to say the same thing in different words:

            We know that puberty blockers are effective at blocking puberty. As a secondary effect, they may indeed allow a young person more time, and ease the distress caused by the body’s development, but on their own they cannot be expected to fully ease gender dysphoria. The pain and distress in adolescents who face prejudice and barriers to living in their authentic gender identity cannot be alleviated by a three-monthly injection alone.

            If this review of the existing research results in access to this essential component of gender-affirming medical intervention being restricted, it would be a travesty, tantamount to child abuse inflicted by those whose role it is to care for children.

            The use of puberty blockers is standard practice in centres of excellence across the world. While new, ethically-grounded research data is always welcome, when assessing how best to help transgender children the NHS must seriously consider the right questions to ask. Failure to do so merely serves to perpetuate the hysteria.


            • Anker


              Well that's great Forget Now that you went to the bother of looking at the link I posted. And fair enough you have found some criticism of NICE.

              I have to say that NICE are completely objective. For example someone like Dame Sue BAgshaw (I think thats her name is going to have a bias because my understanding is she prescribes them I think.

              My take on what NICE are saying is that the studies are all poor, so therefore the evidence is week and at best the drugs are experimental. I note Sweden, Findland and the UK have changed prescribing and I enclose a link. Will read the criticism of NICE. Thanks for posting

      • Anker 4.2.2

        Good question Gabby. That's what I mean this Bill could have unintended consequences.

      • David 4.2.3

        Somehow lost in all this is the Minister on the HDA show saying he was quite happy for the parents of a 12 year old to be prosecuted under this legislation.

  5. ianmac 5

    Back in the 80s when Paul Holmes was doing Radio morning slot at a time when homosexuality was in the news, he had a pastor as a guest who swore by the wonderful work that his church was doing to convert gay men back into "normal" The pastor offered to bring in a good example of his success the following day and did so. There were a few stumbling words from the man but then Paul Holmes broke in and in a tearful voice said, "This is terrible. If you could see the state this young man is in you would horrified."

    The "Conversion Practice" had apparently destroyed the young man. The interview left a deep imprint on me after all those years,

    • Forget now 5.1

      And that was Paul "cheeky darkie" Holmes! Not widely renowned for his socially inclusive viewpoint.

      I have personally talked with people who have gone through exorcisms and other conversion practices. They sound pretty grim. Though strangely, the one who had what sounded like; a light shower while clothed, accompanied by (hours and days of) people praying at them, seemed to have worse mental health outcomes. Compared to say; another whose parents basically got a priest (though maybe unordained? Religious leader of some kind anyway) to beat them up every so often when their own fists were getting too sore.

      Physical harm may be an easier thing to determine in court, but may not capture a lot of the damage caused by this (civilian) torture and brainwashing.

    • Anker 5.2

      Yes I understand why that did leave an imprint on you ianmac. Sometimes something really touches us.

      I remember seeing a programme on tv in the UK in the 1980s about a transgender person and I felt the same way. They sought and received the help they needed and lived as a man.

      • Red Blooded One 5.2.1

        One man's "help" may be one woman's prison, unless you're saying they were helped from being a woman to being a man.

        • Anker

          Oh sorry RBO for not making it clearly. The person got helped to transition to become a man.

          I think people might assume I am against this ie people transitioning from their natal sex to the gender they identify with. This is not the case. People have an absolute right to do this and their decision should be respected.

          I am against children being able to have medical treatments that are not reversible or are hard to reverse. It seems like Georgina Beyer, agrees with me (see Listener article in June

          • Red Blooded One

            Thanks Anker for the clarification. As I've said before I know a friend who's Grandchild transitioned as a teen and I watched the family support but not lead "him" into "his""" decision, I watched the angst they all went through but from what I could see no delaying the child's decision would have changed this outcome for "her". She is a lovely young lady now and while not without pressures from society she is happy to have not waited. Obviously every case is different. Regards

  6. Forget now 6

    At least the Young Nats don't seem quite as despicable as their parliamentary leader, so maybe they will be a fit opposition again within a decade. Collins just seems so utterly without any plan or strategy too (beyond persistence); ruthlessness for the sake achieving a goal is at least understandable, ruthlessness for its own sake is a bit unhealthy.

    Young Nats President Stephanie-Anne Ross said the youth wing was disappointed the party had taken that position.

    "We acknowledge that the bill is not perfect. However, we believe it should proceed to Select Committee and be given the chance for a full and frank debate."

    National Leader Judith Collins in April said her party would support a conversion therapy ban, a position it had reached after speaking to members of the Young Nats and "googling" the issue.


    Anyway, it's August the 6th, so if anyone has opinions about whether; gender diverse NZers need Human Right's Act protection, or anything else covered in the proposals against Incitement to Discrimination, it's your last day. Though I can't see right now if the cut-off is 5pm, or midnight.

    Also, the less publicized Social Cohesion discussion (link at bottom of page, or in the; "Protecting freedom of expression", section above the "Providing your feedback"). That's better for longer form answers, though the way it keeps throwing you back to the main menu rather than continuing to the next section is a bit irritating! For the Incitement 6 proposals you can go through and tick boxes for the main questions in 5 minutes (or even leave the ones you don't care about blank). It's getting a bit late in the process to do much more than that if you haven't already read the discussion document.


  7. mac1 7

    “National used to be better than this."

    I'd also like to add we need National to be better than this.

    They might get back into power at some stage.

    They do have an influence upon their followers, for good or not.

    Democracy needs a strong, reasoned, plausible and effective opposition.

    Instead we get cartoons and cartoon figures like this today 6 August.


  8. Anker 8


    so this is a UK group of therapists who are utterly opposed to conversion therapy, but are concerned that legislation could put their legitimate approach to working with clients eg exploring what’s really going on for clients puts them at risk. They apparently have therapists members from people in the range of countries that conversion bans are proposed

    labour need to come out and guarantee that therapist undertaking their legitimate work, won’t find themselves falling foul of the law. There is a critical shortage of counsellors and mental health workers right now. Unless labour are very clear about protecting them, this bill could have unintended consequences.

    National have said they support the conversion therapy ban. But from the Faifoi interview they have legitimate concerns about the parents facing a visit from the police and the potential for criminal charges. Also why did Faifoi mention the rugby club? I am not aware of rugby clubs practicing conversion therapy. So what is this really about

    • McFlock 8.1

      That's what select committees are for.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 8.1.1

        Or delaying things till election year…National is doing this because of fundamentalists big fat political party cheques.

        Good luck with thinking Select Committee could 'fix' legislation on a new and evolving area like this.

        Also weird is the idea that 12 yr olds, unprompted are asking for puberty blockers, if thats happening Im pretty sure the parents are already aware and supportive of their flexible gender identity AND no doctor would do so until 16

        "The criteria for access to gender affirming hormones are persistent well-documented gender dysphoria, the capacity to make a fully informed decision and to consent for treatment, 16 years of age or older, and significant medical or mental health concerns must be reasonably well controlled…"


        • McFlock

          The donors who like Luxon for leader, as well.

          From that link, "puberty blockers" seem to be distinct from "gender affirming hormones". Besides, 16 is a bit late to block puberty for a lot of people. But that's a clinical discussion anyway. I'm not going to throw any "shoulds" about there.

          As for the role of the select committee, if one party block-votes against it and tells its youth wing to fuck off while doing so, I'm not sure how controversial it will actually be. Everyone gets to put their lines in the political sand.

        • Anker

          However, it is increasingly recognised that there may be compelling reasons, such as final predicted height, to initiate hormones prior to the age of 16 years for some individuals, although there is as yet little published evidence to support this.5

          this is the bit you left out GhostwhowalksNZ.

          Children early at school learn about gender identity. They also access the internet and apparently there is an acute onset gender dysphoria.

          If you read the Listener article on this issue June 26 – July 2nd you will find on page 19 the following quote. "Nick, now 13 is one of a burgeoning number of adolescents being prescribed puberty blockers"

          Page 27 "Racheal" was put on puberty blockers at 14 years.

      • Anker 8.1.2

        Yes but its messy isn't it McFlock. I mean its a huge leap from saying that anyone practicing Conversion Therapy could face criminal charges to rugby coaches (don't believe any of them are practicing therapists) and parents can't say no to parents of 12 year olds re puberty blockers.

        I think the Faafoi interview presents a completely different picture of what the act is about. Labour need to either refute Kris version or confirm that's what they have in mind.

        • McFlock

          Anything can be as messy as someone wants to make it.

          HDPA insisting on a "yes or no" answer for a broad hypothetical individual clinical decision is typical bloody stupid interviewer syndrome.

          If the parent is trying to make sure puberty happens as a hail-mary throw to change their child's gender identity, and if the cops and AG believe the parents' decision could cause the child serious harm, only then would it even see the inside of a court.

          But if the legislation really needs a wee line in there about clinical practise guidelines (because a hokum therapist might hide behind "clinical practise" while the bulk of medical opinion regards it as "abuse"), then submitters to the select committee will submit something along those lines.

          But what's really messy is to run a campaign of "demand the debate", then order caucus to block vote against the debate, even though one personally claims to have nothing against the proposal.

          • Anker
            • I think Faifoi was doing a pretty good job of alarming people about this law, raising the issue of rugby coaches…….
            • people are free to complain to therapists professional bodies or the Health and disability commissioner, if they feel they have received poor or unsafe therapy and rightly so. Now therapists face legal action and the threat of a five year prison sentence. If I was a therapist I would quietly avoid working with any clients who could accuse me of conversion therapy, either by misinterpreting my questions as doubting their gender identity or in case they were a vexatious client. My understanding is that therapists are completely overwhelmed with the demand at the moment. I think you might be inclined to avoid clients who could begin a criminal process
            • McFlock

              He raised the issue of any authority figure a kid might be subjected to, including rugby coaches. He listed priest, parent, rugby coach. But that's the one folks latched on to for some reason.

              Now therapists face legal action and the threat of a five year prison sentence.

              If it could be proved beyond reasonable doubt that their actions were intended to try to change the gender identity of their patient and caused serious harm to their patient, why shouldn't they?

              • Forget now

                I suppose you could argue that denying access to medical treatment would be negligently causing serious harm; McFlock. But that seems unlikely to fly in court if the victim is still breathing and not visibly injured. The longer sentence is more likely with broken bones and such Conversion Therapy injuries. Though a lot of the harm seems to come more from internalized hatred, which is a hard thing to detect.

                Apart from the increased suicide risk, being compelled to face unwanted puberty also means that trans teens will turn to various "life-hacks". I haven't actually met anyone who went with the self-surgery route, but apparently it will bump you up the waiting lists. More common are eating disorders such as anorexia (starvation can suppress the onset of puberty, but that's not guaranteed) or morbid obesity (unhealthy, but curvy). Also some weird ones like drinking PREgnant MARes' urINe, because that's what PREMARIN is made from – though again; not met anyone who has personally done that.

                • McFlock

                  yeah it's a pretty bad list of outcomes that one shouldn't read up on before bedtime, that's for sure.

                • I Feel Love

                  Thanks to Forget Now & McFlock for you guys getting into this, I love reading your sensible & calm replies. Fuck conversion therapy & fuck National.

  9. Tiger Mountain 9

    The Natz ranks may have been subject to some churn and factional jockeying between rural, urban, religious nutter, and liberal factions, but whether that is good, bad, or something else matters less with every boomer funeral–stereotyping notwithstanding.

    NZ National have long been the preeminent conservative reactionary representatives of capital and petit bourgeois in the NZ Parliamentary system. Then with Ruthenasia they too adopted neo liberalism which set off the schisms within.

    My hope is New Gen voters who rent and have thumping great student loans to pay off, may give the Torys some side eye in 2023 and 2026!

  10. Ad 10

    I'd say a 9 point poll fall is more important for Labour to focus on.

    We need to show we are delivering stuff for voters, beyond COVID vaccinations.

    National will just take care of itself one way or another.

  11. Anker 11

    Ad I think some of the poll drop is to do with the hate speech law. Obviously I can't know that for sure, it is just my opinion. I think once parents find out they could be criminalized for saying no to puberty blockers at any age, under 18 years, there will be another poll drop. Just my opinion

  12. Anker 12


    whatever the view of this fathers actions, is prison the right way to go? For me it’s not

  13. Anker 13
    • My mistake.
    • but under the proposed bill, should he be sent to jail? Cause this could happen
  14. Anker 14
    • Well the jury’s out for me on contempt of court…..I don’t have strong opinions on this, although I don’t think Leo what his face should go to jail for identifying grace Milanes killer, although I am open to persuasion on that one.
    • no I meant if this father refuses to accept his daughters gender identity, I don’t think he should go to prison.
    • I see Louisa Wall is now saying parents should be allowed to talk to their children about their gender identity. I am not sure what happens if they say no to PB though.

    really as much as I dislike Simon bridges, given Faifois interview on the radio and the broad brush strokes he painted of the bill, he was doing his job. Far better that turning up at the big gay out, which of course is fine

    • McFlock 14.1

      The jury wasn't needed. He plead guilty to contempt of court. Because he quite clearly gave interviews about his child after being ordered not to because of the trauma and harrassment that such interviews would cause his child. Misgendering is one thing. From the link at the top of my comment:

      “We’re talking about … fundamentally breaches of publication bans and you sharing personal information of AB, which AB did not wish you to share with the world at large,” Tammen said, noting that one of the most egregious breaches was when the child’s medical consent form ended up on a website.

      This is well beyond passive-aggressive misgendering around the dinner table.

      He did not go to prison because of misgendering. If you'd bothered to check that with a two minute google, we wouldn't be having this discussion right now. You don't think he should have gone to jail for misgendering? Fine, he didn't.

      As for agreeing with Simon Bridges… on the rare occasion that sort of rude coincidence of opinion happens to me, I take it as a hint to step back and re-evalute the steps that got me to that position. Sometimes I come to the same conclusion, sometimes I find a wrong-turning.

  15. Anker 15
    • Yes agreed, it is very often worth pausing and reflecting on one’s initial response.

    my apologies re my confusion about the article

  16. Forget now 16

    Personally, I am not so much a Trans Activist as semi-active trans person. But have to say that the more I look into the political history of this Conversion Practices Prohibition bill, the more impressed I am by the Conversion Therapy Action Group. Particularly its leader Shaneel Lal; former youth MP, 2020 Impact Award winner (Inclusion category), and obviously a competent political organizer.

    This background is from their submission to the UN Human Rights Commission's; "Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity" (quote order slightly altered to give better chronological order – link is down in the submissions section under "T" for "The CTAG").

    The Conversion Therapy Action Group (CTAG)was founded on 6 September 2018. The CTAG advocates for a blanket ban on conversion therapy for all ages in New Zealand. The founding members of the group are Shaneel Lal, Shannon Novak, Harry Robson, Neihana Waitai and Max Tweedie…

    On 14 September 2018, the Petition of Max Tweedie for Young Labour and the Young Greens: Ban Gay Conversion Therapy and on 8 August 2018, the Petition of Amanda Ashley – Ban Conversion Therapy in New Zealand were presented to the Justice Select Committee, both calling for a ban on gay and gender conversion therapy…

    On 18 October 2019, the Justice Select Committee (JSC) at Parliament, reported on the two petitions. In recommendation the JSC “agree with the argument that conversion therapy is harmful. However, we believe more work needs to be done before any decision is taken to ban it…

    On 31 October 2018, Labour List MP Marja Lubeck introduced the Prohibition of Conversion Therapy Bill in the members bill ballot proposing that “This Bill creates an offence for any person who advertises, offers, or performs conversion therapy on another person. Under this Bill, any person is guilty of an offence if they remove another person from New Zealand for the purposes of conversion therapy. No one should, or even can, have their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression changed through the pseudo-psychology of conversion therapy.”

    On 5 December 2019, Hon Andrew Little (Minister of Justice) confirmed there’s no government position on conversion therapy.

    *** {UN HRC response to submissions}

    …notes that these practices are inherently degrading and discriminatory. They are rooted in the belief that LGBT persons are somehow inferior, and that they must at any cost modify their orientation or identity to remedy that supposed inferiority. He highlights that such practices constitute an egregious violation of rights to bodily autonomy, health, and free expression of one’s sexual orientation and gender identity. When conducted forcibly, they also represent a breach to the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment.

    The Independent Expert calls for a global ban on conversion therapy.


  17. Anker 17

    no problem with the banning of Conversion Therapy. But the Minister mudded the waters by talking about rugby coaches etc and of course this has caused concern.

    He seemed to be saying any attempt to supress gender identity. What does that mean?

    If I omit using someone’s personal pro nouns is this conversion therapy practice? I ask because I have a great deal of difficulty at times remembering peoples names when I first meet them, especialy if it is a random meeting. So their pro nouns as well???? Well chances are, I might not remember them. Maya Fostator was pulled up on this in someone during a twitter exchange and it resulted in her being investigated by the Scouts. I will p what the link. If anyone wants to understand what this debate is really about for me, read the article I am about to post. Its not about trans people. Its about the silencing of voicing, most often womens’

    I know significant harm has to be proven for someone to end up with a prison sentence.

    But by saying conversion therapy practices that does leave it a bit open…….

    • Rosemary McDonald 17.1

      Speaking of which…Rachel Stewart perfectly sums up my reaction to media coverage of National's refusal to support the Conversion Therapy Bill. Deliberately misrepresenting what it is about the Bill that is so obviously unpalatable to any rational adult. Shame on the media, and shame on Labour and the Greens for failing to stop, take a cleansing breath, and realize there are serious issues with the Bill as it stands.

  18. Anker 18
    • Thanks Rosemary I hadn’t seen that.
    • national had already said they supported the bill, but became concerned, rightly so after the Faifoi interview
    • Rosemary McDonald 18.1

      I don't do telly, and after watching the odd clip featuring Faafoi stumbling over this issue I'm choosing to not subject myself to his discomfort. Truly painful to watch.

  19. So to qualify for five years in the clink a parent would have to cause serious harm to their child by imposing the practice AND they had to either know that the practice would cause serious harm OR they were reckless about if harm would occur.

    According to gender identity believers, refusing to give puberty blockers to a child who self-diagnoses as 'trans' is serious harm. This legislation is very much a threat to parents and to therapists. As you point out:

    A conversion practice is defined as “any practice that … is directed towards an individual because of the individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression; and is performed with the intention of changing or suppressing the individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression”.

    That means if a parent or therapist tells the kid who's unhappy with their sex that most kids grow out of it over time, and even if they don't a lot of them can come to terms with their sex via talk therapy so let's hold off and then go with the talk therapy later if it's needed, under this legislation that parent or therapist is engaging in an illegal "conversion practice."

    National is right to oppose this. The govt should take it away and come back with something that bans actual conversion therapy only.

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