Gay convictions: No compensation under Labour either

Compensation for gay men convicted under outdated laws is looking unlikely no matter who is in Parliament.

Justice Minister Amy Adams has ruled it out, saying compensation only goes to people wrongly convicted - not people convicted under laws which are later deemed wrong.

And on Friday, Labour MP Grant Robertson - himself gay - told The AM Show Labour's not going to pay out either.

"I maybe come back to what we did when we apologised about the poll tax on Chinese in New Zealand - a fund got set up that's now used to support new generations of Chinese people in New Zealand. Maybe something like that could be done to support young people who are coming out today.

"While things are so much better than they were, it's actually still quite difficult for a lot of young people."

Parliament apologised for the convictions on Thursday, Ms Adams submitting a Bill that would wipe them from people's records.

Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett told The AM Show that would be enough, and New Zealand should be "in the moment for them".

"We're actually expunging, we've made the apology. God, it's just horrific to think what it must have been like back then, but I'm not sure compensation is actually going to make it any better."

Though not in favour of compensation, Mr Robertson admits it probably would. He said in one case a gay man was "drummed out" of his army career, and struggled to get work for decades.

"There's no doubt that his life was significantly less than it would have been if it hadn't of been for that conviction."

Being gay was legalised in 1986. Thursday's first reading of the Bill that would expunge the prior convictions was passed unanimously.

The only MPs still in the House that voted in 1986 are Annette King, Trevor Mallard and Peter Dunne, who 31 years ago voted to legalise homosexuality, and Winston Peters, who voted to keep it a crime.