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Work needed on gender self-identification bill 'to make it stick' - Jacinda Ardern

Without a full process, legislation to make it easier for New Zealanders to officially self-identify their gender "might not achieve what the community wants it to achieve", according to the Prime Minister. 

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Jacinda Ardern said without the right process, "it might not achieve what the community wants it to achieve". Source: Breakfast

Yesterday Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin deferred a bill on the issue after receiveing advice from Crown Law, saying there had been a lack of consultation around the implications of self-identifying gender.

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The Minister said she had received advice from Crown Law to put the bill on hold, despite drawing criticism for the move. Source: Q+A

On TVNZ1's Breakfast today, Jacinda Ardern said while she supported a move to gender self-identification, there could be a "knock-on effect". 

She said the current process to change gender was "quite an arduous process, it goes through the Family Court, it requires medical evidence".

"If you change your birth certificate, that's one thing. What then effect does it have on whole other areas of your life?

"What we're hearing is that you might change your birth certificate, but unless we give full thought to that process, it might not then stick for other areas of identification. Then it might not achieve what the community wants it to achieve."

She thought gender identification needed to be made easier, adding: "I do think that means taking into account the difference between gender and sex.

"Work needs to be done here, but we need to make it stick."

Ms Ardern said that the change came about after the Select Committee process, when "a call was made to address what are some real issues for our transgender community around birth certificates".

"So self-identification was added to the bill at that point. Unfortunately since then we've had advice from Crown law that some of those changes are problematic in terms of the way it's been drafted, and the fact there wasn't a Select Committee process where the public could have a say was also problematic."