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Hague plans to table historical convictions petition

Fri 13 May 2016 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Green MP Kevin Hague says he will soon be tabling a petition in Parliament that calls for historical homosexual convictions in New Zealand to be wiped from the records. Kevin Hague His comments come following the news that Germany plans to wipe historical convictions, something that men here in New Zealand still do not have a guarantee of. In January, Minister of Justice, Amy Adams stated that she will not consider a broad brush wiping of these convictions as “Its impossible to tell whether they involved consensual acts or not after the event, because of the way the law was written.” “I think that if we can demonstrate to Amy Adams that it is practical to distinguish the relevant cases and that a dangerous precedent won't be set, then there is a good chance we can persuade the Government to move - my impression is that Amy would like to do the right thing,” says Hague. “The key thing here is that the law before 1986 was a gross abuse of fundamental human rights. Of course those convictions should be quashed because the law itself was morally wrong. If that sets a precedent for quashing convictions under other laws that breached human rights, then that's great as far as I'm concerned. “The practical difficulties could be overcome through several methods,” he says. “For example the Ministry of Justice could be charged with going back through conviction records and distinguishing those that were for consenting acts between adults. Or there could be a process of application that triggered a checking. “Some cases will be difficult to determine because of inadequate records but that's no reason not to do what's possible. And nothing would stop the Government making an apology to all those men convicted of an offence for engaging in consenting sexual acts with other adult men.” Hague says the LGBTI community should continue to push for change and suggests that people sign the petition circulating on, it currently has 2110 signatures. He says the organisers “have done a fantastic job” and he will soon table it in Parliament. “There may be an opportunity to make submissions to a select committee but it would also be great for our communities to use whatever contact they have with MPS to explain why this is important. “For many men these convictions blighted their whole life with discrimination, violence, prejudice and shame. They affected jobs, houses, relations with friends and family etc. None of that can be taken back but an acknowledgment that the convictions were wrong, and an apology, might be small steps for some towards healing or easing those wounds.”    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Friday, 13th May 2016 - 10:52am

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