Government should spend money on cancer treatment, not gender reassignment - Mark Richardson

Should the government fund gender reassignment surgeries?

The AM Show host Mark Richardson says no, not until things like cancer research and treatments are getting funded.

In a poll created on Monday, AM Show audiences voted overwhelmingly opposing the government funding gender reassignment surgeries.

"Personally, I'm part of the 'no's', I think it's something you should have to save for, I don't think it's a total necessity," said Richardson.

He said the money should instead be used on "things that are necessities, like cancer research."

The average cost of the surgeries is around $53,000 for male-female, and $218,000 for female-male reassignment.

In October of 2018 the government lifted a cap on the number of gender reassignment surgeries after reports the waiting list had reached 30 years for some people.

New Zealand has not had a surgeon who can carry out gender reassignment surgeries since 2014, when Dr Peter Walker resigned.

Since then, these surgeries have all happened overseas.

At the Big Gay Out, an event in Auckland for the rainbow community held over the weekend, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that gender reassignment surgery was a significant issue for her government.

She said that there was still "additional work that needs to be done" and "we have to make sure always that as a country we continue to strive for inclusion".