Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter has rejected any notion that trans rights impinge on women's rights, saying "feminism is about equality for everyone".
It comes after a recent story on a Wellington woman who is transgender, who was not allowed membership to a women-only gym.
"Trans women are women," Ms Genter said this week on TVNZ1's Q+A. "Ultimately feminism is about equality for everyone, and trans people, gender diverse people face even more significant barriers than many women, privileged women like myself."
Ms Genter said it was "absolutely our role to champion the rights of everyone".
When asked about the positions of people known as TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists), who take exception to transgender people identifying as women, Ms Genter said "the last thing we need to be doing is putting more barriers in the place of people who are already facing significant barriers, discrimination, often times worse than white women may experience".
On July 1, Q+A told the story of Penelopy Mansell, who was declined membership by a women's gym despite her birth certificate stating she is a woman.
Ms Mansell received a lot of support after the story aired, the report highlighted the transgender rights issues was not simply a battle between the liberal left and conservative right, said host Corin Dann.
Renee Gerlich, who gets called a TERF herself, said during the story upcoming changes Births Deaths and Marriages Amendment that could allow people gender self-declaration "undermines a lot of the work that suffragettes did".
"They fought for the women's vote, they wanted to give women a way of making political demands that pertain to our sex when, we can't do that once the definition of what a woman is has fundamentally changed," she said previously.
This week, Ms Gerlich said she had received both supportive responses and a lot of backlash after appearing on the story.