People Votes About
People Votes About

Abortion Legislation Bill — In Committee — Part 1 — Remove safe areas

10 March, 2020


This Supplementary Order Paper amends clause 7 of the Abortion Legislation Bill to delete new sections 15, 16, and 17, and also amends clause 5 to delete the definition of safe area from new section 2, to remove safe areas from the legislation. The Law Commission did not recommend safe areas in the report that led to the Abortion Legislation Bill. While emotional harm caused by protesters is undesirable, proponents of safe areas are mistakenly importing a narrative from America where those accessing abortion services are grossly harassed and obstructed. In New Zealand, protests are more often pitiable than harmful. Such harm is not a common problem and can be adequately dealt with by current legislation, including the Summary Offences Act 1981 and the Trespass Act 1980. Safe areas are an impairment to freedom of expression and create a precedent for future restrictions. What’s more the impairment is so arbitrary and weakly justified that it could serve as a justification for almost any future impairment. I note that, in advice to the Attorney General on this Bill, Crown Law has agreed the right to freedom of expression is impaired, and a precedent has been set, but the impairment is justified. I believe Crown Law has done its assessment correctly but failed to weigh the comparative values of freedom of expression and precedent setting against the limited, if any, harm reduction that will actually occur. The creation of safe areas is bad law-making and should be removed from this Bill.

The question was put that the amendment set out on Supplementary Order Paper 464 in the name of David Seymour to clause 5 be agreed to.

Mover of amendment

Photo of David Seymour
David Seymour
ACT Party, Epsom

Votes Not passed by a small majority

Amendment not agreed to.

Personal Vote

This was a personal vote (or conscience vote) which meant MPs could decide how to vote on their own, rather than having to follow the party position. Learn more on the official Parliament website.

56 Voted For

59 Voted Against

5 Absent

External References

This work is based on Member of Parliament data from the Office of the Clerk and Parliamentary Services which is licensed by the Clerk of the House of Representatives and/or the Parliamentary Corporation on behalf of Parliamentary Service for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence. Full licence available at

It also includes public domain content such as voting information from the Parliamentary debates (Hansard) and information about Government Bills.

All original material is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence. Full licence available at