Labour leader Chris Hipkins says Government should 'keep out' of sports in relation to transgender policy

  • 19/06/2024

Labour leader Chris Hipkins says the Government should "keep out" of sporting competitions after it revised its stance on transgender participation in community sports. 

National's coalition agreement with NZ First promised to "ensure publicly funded sporting bodies support fair competition that is not compromised by rules relating to gender". 

New Zealand First sport and recreation spokesperson Andy Foster told Newshub last year there would be no public funding for sports that don't provide a "safe, fair competition for women". 

However, the NZ Herald revealed on Tuesday that the Government appears to have stepped back from any form of involvement in directing transgender participation in community sports after receiving advice on the matter from Sport NZ. 

NZ First leader Winston Peters posted in response that the "Government is not backing down on anything". 

"It's not difficult to understand that we want to protect fairness and safety in sport for women," he posted on Twitter. 

Appearing on his weekly AM slot, Hipkins said the Government should "keep out of it". 

"I also don't think politicians should be determining the rules for sporting codes. I think sporting codes themselves should determine that," he said. 

"I think they should aim for inclusivity and they should aim for fairness, and I think the sports themselves can determine how best to achieve those things because there isn't a one-size-fits-all here." 

A lot of sporting bodies already have policies in place. Sport NZ has developed a set of transgender guiding principles and the overarching principle is everyone can play grassroots sports. 

Hipkins believes the Government should "never have gone there in the first place". 

"It seems National just rolled over and gave New Zealand First and ACT everything that they wanted in the Coalition agreement without thinking through whether and what they are suggesting was the right thing to do, or whether it was even implementable." 

He said politicians determining the rules of sporting competitions is "dangerous territory". 

"I don't feel sufficiently qualified to determine how the All Blacks should play the game, and I don't think [Sports Minister] Chris Bishop is either." 

Watch the full interview above.