Govt shouldn't fund gender reassignment surgeries - Richardson

Opinion 11/02/2019

The AM Show host Mark Richardson says the Government should be funding things like cancer research, rather than footing the bill for gender reassignment surgeries.

It turns out that many New Zealanders agree, with the overwhelming majority of AM Show viewers opposing gender reassignment funding in Monday's poll.

"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".