NZ unveils gay conversion ban law

Jacinda Ardern's government has released plans to ban gay conversion therapy.
Jacinda Ardern's government has released plans to ban gay conversion therapy.

Jacinda Ardern's government will impose jail sentences on attempts to alter someone's sexuality in New Zealand from next year.

On Friday, Ms Ardern's government released legislation to ban conversion therapy; the practice of attempting to change someone's sexuality or rid them of gender dysphoria.

The practice has been dismissed as medical quackery, and harmful to to the individuals subjected to it.

"There can be no justification for trying to force someone to change their sexuality or gender identity," Justice Minister Kris Faafoi said.

"Those who have experienced conversion practices talk about ongoing mental health distress, depression, shame and stigma, and even suicidal thoughts."

The bill creates two new criminal offences, both of which carry jail terms for the worst offenders.

Mr Faafoi said the move was based on similar efforts in Queensland, Victoria and the ACT, amongst other jurisdictions.

The policy was one of Labour's election commitments leading into the 2020 election, which it won in a landslide.

Ten per cent of MPs elected in last year's poll identify openly as LGBT, making New Zealand's parliament the most diverse in the world.

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Australian Associated Press