Historical homosexual convictions to be wiped

A rainbow flag.
A rainbow flag. Photo credit: Getty

Parliament has unanimously voted to wipe the convictions of men convicted of historical homosexual offences.

The Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Bill passed its third reading in Parliament on Tuesday evening.

The Bill introduces a scheme to expunge convictions for men for offences that were decriminalised by the Homosexual Reform Act 1986. To be wiped, the conduct must not be an offence under today's laws. Homosexuality was a crime in New Zealand until the 1986 Act was passed.

Those who were convicted, or their families if they are deceased, must apply to have the convictions expunged from their criminal records.

Only convictions between consenting adult men will be wiped, whereas those who committed acts which are still illegal today are not included.

If a person's application is approved, government records will be amended so the conviction does not appear in criminal history checks and it will be as though they were never convicted.

Decisions will be made by the Secretary of Justice, without the need for formal court hearings or for applicants to appear in person.

"This Bill empowers those convicted and their representatives by providing an effective way to right the wrongs of the past," Justice Minister Andrew Little said.

The Bill was first introduced by the National Government last year.

Newshub.