Sex-change funding not a priority

NZ Herald 20 May 2015
Transsexual former MP Georgina Beyer does not believe taxpayer-funded sex-change surgery should be available “off the rack” and has warned about a “Bruce Jenner effect” after a Young Labour proposal to ensure the operations are publicly funded.

The remit from the youth arm of the Labour Party has been passed by two regional conferences.

There is already limited public funding for four people to have the operation every two years. But the operations have effectively been on hold since early 2014 when the only surgeon doing them, Peter Walker, retired.

That means the operation can be done only overseas and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said the Government was not considering that.

Ms Beyer said the lack of a surgeon was a problem and she would not want to see the current funding decreased.

The remit had some merit for those who could not afford it, she said, “but I’m a bit wary of a ‘buy it off the rack’ kind of feel to it. I think the health system has a whole lot of other life-and-death things that should be given recognition before surgery such as this which only affects a tiny minority”.
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