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Calls for Compensation for Historic Homosexuality Convictions

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Photograph © David Hindley
express Magazine
Written by express Magazine

Compensation for men with historic homosexuality convictions is being called for during public submissions on a proposed BIll.

Three people making submissions to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee regarding a proposed Bill to expunge convictions, raised the subject of compensation.

At the time of the Bill’s introduction in July, former Justice Minister Amy Adams ruled out compensation. 

The Bill passed its first reading earlier this year and will impact the lives of the roughly 1000 men who still live with historic convictions. Men who have since died will be able to have their names cleared if families apply to have the conviction expunged.

Young Labour’s Alka Ahirao was among those who spoke and told the committee “These laws ruined lives and we need to do more than apologise, we need to give something back to them.”

According to Stuff, New Justice Minister Andrew Little says the Bill is about righting a historical wrong, so there is fairness and equality for the future.

“We can’t quantify the full effects of the unjust law before 1986. Gay Kiwis who were not convicted were also victims of discrimination and limited opportunities.

“This Government is focussed on practical measures for a more equal future, such as fixing the health system including funding PrEP, ensuring everyone has a warm dry home, and strengthening anti-bullying programmes in schools.”

If the Bill passes into law, all expungement decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis by the Secretary of Justice. Analysing each case, the Secretary will determine whether what the individual was charged for 30 years or more ago would still be considered illegal today.

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express Magazine

express Magazine

express is New Zealand's leading LGBT+ publication. Our goal is to inform and support our community by delving into relevant people, stories and events.