16 March 2023
HRC Struggles For ‘Conversion Therapy’ Complaints
The $2.2m taxpayer-funded complaints centre set up by the Human Rights Commission for receiving complaints about ‘conversion therapy’ has admitted that there have been no formal complaints about ‘conversion therapy’ since the new law was passed, despite significant advertising about its services.
In response to an Official Information Act request at the end of last year, the Human Rights Commission’s new “Conversion Practices Response Service” has admitted that of the enquiries to the service:
One enquiry was about activity that has happened since 18 August 2022 when the CP Act came fully into force. This enquiry was a complaint about unwanted and offensive leaflets left in letterboxes that included a range of material including disinformation about vaccines, discriminatory and incorrect information about transgender people… no enquiries have been made about either non-affirming medical care or coercive gender transition practices… there have been no referrals from the Commission to Police or to the Health and Disability Commissioner.
This is consistent with numbers before the law was passed. The Human Rights Commission in response to an Official Information Act request from Family First NZ in March 2021 admitted that there had only been one informal complaint and no formal complaints in the past 10 years in relation to ‘conversion therapy’. The Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner, in response to a similar inquiry, was also unable to provide any specific numbers. An informal search of 1400 decisions dating back to 1997 suggests that there have been no complaints around ‘conversion therapy’. Even some of the politicians who supported the new law admitted they’re also not aware of any cases of involuntary ‘conversion therapy’ in their communities.
During the select committee process considering the new law, the Ministry of Justice’s Regulatory Impact Statement admitted that there was little evidence of ‘conversion therapy’ actually happening – using phrases “lack of baseline data” “limited data” “no data” “no reliable data”. It was very reliant on media reports only – which is not that reliable.
This law was always a solution looking for a problem.
Despite the lack of need for the specialised complaints service, the Commission received additional funds of $750k in 2020/21 and $1.5m in 2021/22 to implement the new service.
In a subsequent OIA dated 10 February 2022, we also asked them what engagement had there been over the past 2-3 years by the HRC with individuals who made submissions against the new law and who had positive experiences of receiving counselling to deal with unwanted sexuality and gender confusion issues?
Despite claiming that they wanted to ensure that they “regularly hear from diverse lived experience voices”, they all but admitted that they didn’t want to engage with these people because “some people reported initially having a type of positive response to conversion practices, but invariably, in time, this was not sustained and the inevitable significant harm became clear.”
In other words, they never talked to all these people – Tina, Catherine, Emily, Emmanuel, Claire. Carmel, ian, Laura, Judith, Rose, Josh, Mabel, Leah, Karen, Elizabeth, Keith, Walt Heyer
There is no acknowledgement from the Human Rights Commission that some people personally and willingly desire and choose change in their sexuality and their gender dysphoria. Their rights aren’t important according to the Human Rights Commission.
All New Zealanders should be protected from coercive, abusive or involuntary psychological or spiritual practices. However, participation in psychological assessments, counselling sessions, prayer meetings and other therapeutic practices is almost always an expression of voluntary behaviour and personal freedom. Under this new law, people are prevented from getting help to live the lifestyle they choose. And parents could be criminalised for encouraging their children to embrace their biological sex.
Ironically, while gender and sexuality is supposedly ‘fluid’, activists want the law to stipulate that it can only go in the direction they approve.