Q-Youth's Clementine Lotter, Zen Smith and Jasmine Turner. Photo: Jonty Dine

Gay conversion therapist to flout ban


By Erin Bradnock 

A Nelson counsellor says he is prepared to go prison to keep delivering a controversial and discredited therapy aimed at converting homosexuals to heterosexuality.

Labour announced their Rainbow policies last week, including a ban on so-called “conversion therapy”, if re-elected.

The therapy is described by US-based charity The Trevor Project as “dangerous and discredited practices aimed at changing an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity”.

However, David Riddell from Stoke’s ‘Living Wisdom School of Counselling’ labels homosexuality as a “maladjustment” and says the ban is a “vital issue to every counsellor of integrity and every counsellor who claims Christianity. It will make criminals of us all”.

David Riddell from Stoke’s ‘Living Wisdom School of Counselling’

He says, going to prison for continuing the therapy would be worth it.

David says he has helped many young people live “heterosexual lives” in his 30 years of practice.

He says his opinion on someone living as a homosexual is “no different to someone who eats too much sugar or drinks too much alcohol or is a workaholic”.

Zen Smith at Q-Youth says David’s views on homosexuality were “privileged” and they believe Riddell to be “out of his depth,” when it comes to understanding LGBTI issues.

Q-Youth, provides support, information, advocacy and education for LGBTI young people and their whanau.

Nelson’s Labour candidate Rachel Boyack says she is aware that conversion therapy is practised by counsellors in Nelson and that she fully supports Labour’s promise to ban it.

“I know there is a high price for that service, and we need to put the needs of young people’s mental health over someone’s profit.

“I’m a practising Christian and it’s important we put our young people first, that’s something that is fundamental to me,” says Rachel.