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Wiping convictions from before homosexual law reform

Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Act 2018, ss 2, 15, 16, 23

Some sexual activity between men used to be against the law in New Zealand, along with related things like running a venue used for sex between men. This changed with the Homosexual Law Reform Act 1986, and those things are no longer illegal.

If you were convicted under the Homosexual Offences Act before the law changed in 1986, you can apply to have those convictions wiped, as if they never happened. However, you can’t get compensation for being convicted under the old law.

How do I get an old conviction wiped?

You can apply online on the Ministry of Justice website, here (or go to justice.govt.nz and search: “Wiping historical homosexual convictions”).

What’s the benefit of having the old conviction wiped?

Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Act 2018, s 9

Once an old homosexual conviction has been wiped, you don’t have to tell anyone about the conviction. This includes if:

  • you are asked about the conviction under oath in court, or
  • a potential employer asks about your criminal record.

It also means that employers or others getting police checks on your record won’t be given any information about the conviction.

Can I apply for a conviction to be wiped for a family member who has passed away?

If a person who was convicted of one of these offences has passed away, other people can apply for the conviction to be wiped – like their partner or a family member or the executor of their will. If you don’t fit one of those categories, you can ask the Ministry of Justice to let you apply.

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