© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2019

Clean slate bill paves the way for equality

Zion Dayal
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Duncan Webb Wikimedia Commons

The bill clears men convicted gay offences prior to 1986 to have their convictions wiped.

Labour MP Duncan Webb says the bill was received well in Parliament and was a unanimous decision. 

"It’s a hugely important bill for a lot of people...I think it is just one of the many stones that pave the road to equality for gay, lesbian, bi, trans people. I think there is a long way to go yet and over the last 20 to 30 years we have made great progress," Webb said. 

Webb credited the National government, saying it introduced the bill in 2016. 

The Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences bill was created in  response to a petition to wipe all men of consensual homosexual acts presented to the government in 2016. 

Labour MP Andrew Little says even though parliament decriminalised stigmatising gay men 32 years ago, men who were convicted still lived with a record.

"It isn’t the first place in the world to do it, I understand already been done in England. [The Bill] certainly does lead the world in progressiveness in the gay marriage, homosexual law reform and expungement," Webb said.

The passing of the bill is more than a clean slate for the men convicted, it is a step forward in progressiveness for equal rights for the rainbow community, Webb said.

"They [the men convicted] can have their records wiped clean. It is more than a pardon, it is more than a clean slate, [it's] saying those offences shouldn’t have been offences and there shouldn’t have been a conviction," Webb said.