New Green MP bets on Labour backing ban on gender discrimination

By Te Ao - Māori News

New Green Party MP Elizabeth Kerekere is determined to see the  Human Rights Act amended to prohibit discrimination on grounds of gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics.

During her maiden speech this week, Kerekere laid out her plans to introduce that bill. 

The Labour Party tried to amend the Human Rights Act in 2018 but its attempts were quashed.

However, Kerekere is hopeful that her attempt, along with other parties, to try to get the amendment through will be successful.

"I hope that because with  Labour and the Green Party combined - and I believe with the support of the Māori Party - we are a greater majority," Elizabeth says. 

"Labour has a Rainbow policy, which is similar to ours, and I think this time has come. People have realised that we have to create a space - mental space, physical space, for people who have always existed in our lives, and to accept that there are more than two genders. 

"Regardless of whatever percentage of that population might be, the fact is they exist."

Kerekere is also keen to get conversion therapy banned and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said the government is looking at that.

Conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy, tries to get LGBTQ youth to change their sexual or gender identities. It has been largely rejected by medical and mental health organisations given the dangerous techniques it uses. 

It's primarily used with the religious sector.