New Zealand Labour Party

Inclusiveness and dignity for all Rainbow New Zealanders

Labour will:

  • take real action so that every young person has a safe place to learn and thrive and a warm dry home to live in
  • ensure our health system is inclusive and works for everyone 
  • lead an active Government which empowers people and ensures formal equality under the law, especially for trans and intersex New Zealanders.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and human rights. This means all people should have the same basic rights, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics. 

Future Labour Governments will continue to work towards equality by eliminating remaining areas of discrimination in our law, and ensuring that Rainbow* New Zealanders can live in safety and dignity.

Freedom to Thrive

Every New Zealander should be able to live a life of safety and dignity. 

Real action so we have safe schools for our youth

No young person should be subject to verbal and physical abuse and made to feel inferior. Labour will take action to eradicate discrimination, violence and bullying, and to combat suicide and self-harm. 

Labour will:

  • ensure intensive intervention and adequate levels of support for Rainbow youth in the compulsory education system
  • support schools to develop comprehensive policies and actions to deal with bullying on the grounds of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and intersex status
  • implement the Ministry of Education’s Sexuality Education Guidelines as part of the Health curriculum
  • strengthen the Education Review Office’s remit to include looking at Rainbow student well-being and anti-bullying reporting requirements as indicators in their review of schools.

Ensure an inclusive health system which works for everyone

Our health system needs to improve in several ways to protect the wellbeing of every Rainbow New Zealander. We need to eliminate disparities by having excellent public health and prevention initiatives and ensuring practitioners and providers give respectful effective service and treatment. 

Alongside our overall health policy:

Labour will:

  • help achieve the goal of ending HIV in New Zealand by 2025 by: increasing access to sexual health services, testing, and early treatment; funding access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP); and supporting education, research, and community groups which help achieve this goal
  • improve access to affordable primary care based on the informed consent model, particularly for younger, trans, and intersex New Zealanders. This also includes training and resources for health professionals about sexual orientation and gender diversity 
  • provide targeted suicide prevention funding to build capacity of rainbow community support organisations and mainstream crisis support and services. 
  • increase resourcing for youth mental health
  • support and ensure all district health boards reduce barriers for trans and gender diverse people to access gender affirming healthcare, transition related medical support (including hormones, social support and other cosmetic interventions), and an assessment of the need for gender reassignment surgery as an elective service
  • ensure fair access to publicly funded gender affirming surgical options for trans and gender diverse people based on need.

Security and dignity for all

As well as positive health and education policies, we will ensure everyone has a safe warm home to live in.

Tackling youth homelessness

Homelessness has grown in New Zealand over the past eight years, and young Rainbow people make up a significant proportion of people sleeping rough because they have left home due to an unsafe environment.

Labour will:

  • ensure the needs and specific circumstances of young Rainbow people are actively addressed in our strategies to reduce homelessness

Supporting positive ageing

Growing numbers of Rainbow New Zealanders are now approaching retirement and may face issues which are not faced by heterosexual people at this age. Some lack family support networks and live away from their families where they have been subjected to homophobic/transphobic treatment. Rest homes and aged care services may not fully understand the medical and sexual needs of older Rainbow residents.

We don’t want people to ‘go back into the closet’ as they approach retirement as this can affect their health and well-being.  

Labour will:

  • support initiatives which ensure Rainbow New Zealanders approaching retirement can continue to live safely and openly in supported living environments like retirement homes and aged care facilities. 

An active Government which empowers people and ensures formal equality under the law

There are still hurdles to achieving full equality for Rainbow New Zealanders. We will build on the progress made with Homosexual Law Reform, the Human Rights Act, Civil Unions, and Marriage Equality. We will also look to models of international good practice, such as Malta’s Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act.

Labour will:

end formal discrimination 

  • review laws and policies that interfere with the right to be free from discrimination under section 19 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990
  • include gender identity as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Human Rights Act 1993.

promote freedom and equality for Rainbow people internationally

Labour in Government will express our values internationally as a leading voice ensuring all Rainbow people internationally are free and equal in rights and dignity, including as an advocate on individual cases. 

Labour will: 

  • maintain and grow strong New Zealand participation in international bodies dealing with Human Rights, especially at the United Nations level 
  • oppose the criminalisation of consensual adult same-sex activity, and other instances of discrimination against GLBTI people 
  • use refugee and asylum seeker policy as a way to address humanitarian needs of GLBTI global citizens

count and engage everyone

  • accurately collect statistical data on Rainbow communities so that we take an evidence-based approach to policy formation and programme development in areas such as health, social development, and justice
  • fund research on the health and well-being of rainbow communities, for example, research on adolescent youth and on sexual health 
  • engage trans, gender diverse, and intersex persons and communities to support a ‘whole of life’ approach to their well-being when developing policy and laws

support adoption by same-sex partners 

  • modernise the law relating to the care of children to ensure that the widest possible pool of suitable adults, including same-sex couples, is available to provide care (being foster care, short-term guardianship and other forms of custody) to children in need

improve access to services and rights for transgender and intersex New Zealanders

  • implement the recommendations of the Human Rights Commission’s To Be Who I Am: Kia Noho au Ki Toku Ano Au Final report of the Inquiry into Discrimination experienced by Transgender and Intersex People. This includes (but is not limited to):
    • amending the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Act 1995 to allow the Registrar General to amend birth certificates on submissions of appropriate declarations and evidence (rather than medical examination or family court processes)  
    • ensuring fair access to justice for trans people and fair treatment by law enforcement and corrections staff and facilities to avoid misgendering and risk due to gender identity  
    • develop and implement a child rights-based health care protocol for intersex children so that no one is subjected to unnecessary medical or surgical treatment during infancy or childhood.

* We use Rainbow as an inclusive word to welcome people who have a diverse sex, gender identity or sexual orientation. Some of the words that people in rainbow communities in Oceania use to describe themselves may include: 

  • gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex 
  • akava’ine, fa’afafine, fa’afatama, fakafifine, fakaleiti, fakaleiti (leiti), mahu, palopa, takatāpui, tangata ira tane, vakasalewa, whakawahine 
  • agender, asexual, brotherboy, gender diverse, gender fluid, genderqueer, nonbinary, pansexual, queer, sistergirl, trans feminine, trans masculine, transexual, trans