A cross-party working group is to look at and advocate for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

Initiated by Green Party MP Jan Logie, it includes 12 members, from her party, National, Labour, New Zealand First and Act.

Ms Logie said the group would provide education, leadership and legislative progress on LGBTI rights.

All MPs had been sent an email telling them of the opportunity to join.


"We are hoping others will see the importance of the work we are tackling and want to join us," she said.

The group will try to work towards reducing bullying and discrimination of LGBTI youth at school, and wider discrimination in society.

Ms Logie said members were determined it would not be a token effort, and meetings would give a chance to raise and test policy ideas.

"In our next meeting people will bring proposals ... I am interested in looking at world-leading legislation that has passed recently in Malta, looking at enabling people to have control of their gender identity in formal documents.

"I know other people are looking at different issues in terms of support and safety for students in schools."

Act Party leader David Seymour said he believed in the equality of all human beings, and legislative and policy work was still needed to realise those rights for LGBTI people.

The working group's formation is in the same week Labour leader Andrew Little apologised for a remark he made about gender reassignment surgery in a debate about the Budget.

"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," Mr Little had said.


A proposal from Young Labour at two regional conferences to make gender reassignment free and more available has also sparked debate.

Ms Logie said she was pleased Mr Little had apologised for his comment because the issue was not a laughing matter. "I know that people in the community have had a really hard week, and have felt misunderstood and have really felt the weight of other people's ignorance."

Joining forces

MPs on the LGBTI working group:

Catherine Delahunty, Greens

Chris Bishop, National

David Seymour, Act

Denis O'Rourke, NZ First

Denise Roche, Greens

James Shaw, Greens

Jan Logie, Greens

Kevin Hague, Greens

Louisa Wall, Labour

Nanaia Mahuta, Labour

Paul Foster-Bell, National

Trevor Mallard, Labour