Labour leader Andrew Little has apologised for a "flippant" remark he made about gender reassignment surgery during a debate about the Budget yesterday.
Following the presentation of the Budget at Parliament, political leaders took to the House to debate the Government's spending including Mr Little.
During his speech, he attacked the Government for failing to reach its surplus, saying it was part of "the dance of the seven veils".
"We've had another veil removed, and we know there's still more to go. I don't know what [Finance Minister Bill English] is trying to hide – some kind of fiscal gender reassignment or something? Who knows what it is."
Today, Mr Little apologised, saying the comment was "flippant and I accept it has caused offence for which I apologise", GayNZ.com reports.
"I stand on my record of dealing positively with sexuality and transgender issues, including as a lawyer representing a worker on workplace issues both before and after her gender reassignment. No one else would do so."
Mr Little says he would be happy to meet with some of the transgender community to discuss the struggles the face getting the surgery.
The issue gained some prominence this week, after a proposal from Young Labour at two regional conferences to make the procedure free and more available.
Currently three male-to-female surgeries are funded by the Government every two years, with a waiting list of about 40 years.
The proposals passed at the regional conferences, but Labour health spokeswoman Annette King said there'd be a long way to go before a decision would be made to adopt the policy or not.
source: newshub archive