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Conversion Therapy Has No Place In New Zealand

Conversion therapy has no place in New Zealand, and Government moves to criminalise it are overdue and welcome.

The New Zealand Medical Association says conversion therapy is harmful, degrading and “junk science”.

“We thank Minister Kris Faafoi for putting a stop to this despicable practice,” says NZMA Chair Dr Alistair Humphrey.

"As noted by the World Medical Association, so-called 'conversion' or 'reparative' methods constitute violations of human rights and are unjustifiable practices that should be denounced and subject to sanctions and penalties. They have no medical indication and in fact represent a serious threat to the health of anyone subjected to such so-called treatment."

If the law is passed, a person could receive a three-year prison sentence for subjecting anyone 18 or younger, or anyone with impaired decision-making, to conversion therapy.

In the case of adults, the practice would be criminalised if it causes “serious harm”. The maximum sentence for causing “serious harm” to a person of any age through conversion therapy would be five years imprisonment.

“Ideally, we would want the law extended to people of all ages, without the “serious harm” standard applied to adults,” Dr Humphrey said.

“However we are pleased to see cross-party support for the Bill – which has our full endorsement.”