We’re breaking down different parties' policies on some of the biggest issues in Aotearoa right now. Here's rainbow rights.
These are condensed summaries, to make it as easy as possible for young voters to get key, relevant information. Parties may have more policies, or there may be more information or more policy detail beyond what we have been able to fit in here.
There are links to the full set of a party’s policies at the end of each section if you want more details or to see where it sits in their policy portfolio.
Parties are listed in order of the most recent 1News Verian poll, and there’s further info about our methodology at the bottom of this article.
Here’s what the parties are promising to do:
As of the time of publication (Monday October 9), National has not published a specific rainbow policy to their website.
You can read National’s other policies here.
Add a rainbow category to New Zealand’s refugee quota
Labour says rainbow refugees can face even more barriers, exclusion, and discrimination compared to other refugees. So it wants to establish a rainbow subcategory to New Zealand’s annual refugee quota to help people resettle in New Zealand who are being persecuted because of their sexuality or gender identity in their home country.
Make adoption and surrogacy more accessible for rainbow communities
Currently, parents have to adopt their genetic children after a surrogate birth. This requires court orders, interviews, and home visits to determine if the family is suitable for adoption. The decision can also be reversed meaning a surrogate mother can keep the baby even if she has no biological connection to the baby.
Labour says it wants to reform adoption laws by passing the Improving Arrangements for Surrogacy Bill - this was one of the recommendations made in the Law Commission report Te Kōpū Whāngai: He Arotake Review of Surrogacy. This would recognise the intended parents as the legal parents of a surrogate-born child without the need for a court process.
Potentially ease blood donation restrictions on gay men and sex workers
Currently, gay men who've been sexually active in the last three months can't give blood - even those in long-term monogamous relationships.
If re-elected, Labour has promised it will explore the latest evidence regarding the donor-behavioural criteria with experts.
Hipkins said any change “needed a strong guarantee of safety”. However, he said New Zealand needed to look at the evidence used in other countries like Canada and Ireland which had already changed their rules.
Improve rainbow healthcare
Labour has promised to review the cost of gender-affirming surgeries and treatment “with a view to lowering the cost and ensuring more equitable access”.
Labour also wants to establish health-care protocols for intersex children so that they are not subjected to unnecessary medical or surgical treatment early on in life - for example, binary gender assignment is not automatically presumed to be the best-case outcome by health practitioners.
Ensuring rainbow students have a safe environment to learn
Provide ongoing training for teachers about sexual orientation, gender diversity and variations of sex characteristics. This includes encouraging the adoption of the Ministry of Education’s sexuality education guidelines which outlines how schools can support gender diverse students.
Ensure the curriculum and environments in schools are safe and inclusive for all by promoting gender neutral bathrooms and uniforms.
Review Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) as part of the 2024 Health Curriculum refresh, to help young people learn about themselves and build healthy relationships.
The cost of each of these policies and how they will be funded are not listed in the policy breakdown.
You can read more about Labour’s rainbow policies here.
Establish a Ministry for Rainbow Communities
The Green Party has promised to create a Ministry for Rainbow Communities so that rainbow communities are involved in policies, strategies and programmes that affect their communities.
Improve the human rights and healthcare of takatāpui and rainbow people
The Green Party says it will do this by amending New Zealand’s Human Rights Act to explicitly say all forms of sexual orientation, gender identity and variations in sex characteristics are prohibited grounds of discrimination.
Currently the prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Human Rights Act only includes sex, not gender, and only mention “heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual orientation” as sexual orientations that cannot be discriminated against.
It would work with rainbow communities to develop culturally appropriate healthcare services and promote clear pathways for “timely, free and non-discriminatory access” to all forms of gender-affirming healthcare.
It would specifically support the intersex community to implement a human-rights and mātauranga Māori framework for intersex healthcare and ensure all healthcare professionals are trained in intersex healthcare.
Deliver rainbow diversity education
The Green Party is promising to partner with rainbow organisations to deliver rainbow diversity education and teacher training. This includes adding rainbow histories and rights, including pre-colonial understandings of sexuality and gender, in the curriculum.
You can read more about The Green Party’s rainbow policies here.
As of the time of publication (Monday October 9), ACT has not published a specific rainbow policy to their website.
However it does have a policy to abolish the Human Rights Commission and protect freedom of speech by opposing hate speech laws.
You can read ACT’s other policies here.
New Zealand First
New Zealand First wants to ensure “no men are in women's spaces or sports”
New Zealand First says it would pass a law banning anyone from accessing a public bathroom or changing room “designed for the opposite sex use”.
It also wants to amend the Building Act so that all new public sector organisations provide separate, clearly demarcated, unisex and single-sex bathrooms.
New Zealand First says this would apply to sports, education and commercial facilities if they have publicly-used bathrooms or changing rooms.
It also wants a new law to remove public funding from sporting bodies that allow “non-biological women to be selected unequally against biological women”.
New Zealand First is also promising to remove gender ideology from school curriculum and protect freedom of speech by opposing hate speech laws.
You can find New Zealand First’s policies here.
Te Pāti Māori
As of the time of publication (Monday October 9), Te Pāti Māori has not published a specific rainbow policy to their website.
You can find the other policies for Te Pāti Māori here.
Notes on our methodology
How we chose the parties: We’ve included parties who currently have MPs in Parliament, (aka Labour, National, Greens, ACT and Te Pāti Māori) or parties which are likely to win one electorate seat or meet the 5% threshold to get into Parliament (aka NZ First), according to what recent polls are showing. Political parties need to get at least 5% of the party vote or win at least one electorate seat to get into Parliament.
These are condensed summaries: To make it as easy as possible for young voters to get key, relevant information. Parties may have more policies or there may be more information or more policy detail beyond what we have been able to fit in here.
These summaries were accurate as of the time of publication: But parties can release policies right up until the day before election day, so some parties may announce policies after we have published.
How will these policies be paid for? Where possible we’ve tried to include information about what the parties say these policies will cost and how they will be paid for, but not every announcement has that information.
Difference between election promises and government policy announcements:
Some of the things Labour has announced over the last few months are government policy announcements (where work can start on them as soon as they are announced), and some are election promises (where they only happen if that party gets elected). It all gets a bit confusing because both of these things can be referred to as policies, so where possible we’ve tried to indicate which is which.