“Wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, as well as charges of breach of a protection order, intentional damage, and resisting police”.

Matthew Richard Nelson was sentenced in Hamilton on Tuesday for stabbing three people in a frenzied attack. He is entitled to reside with women in a women’s prison, all because we have perverted the words inclusivity and tolerance. He will be a serious threat to the lives of women in prison.

The current Parliament unanimously passed new laws allowing any man who says he feels like a woman to change his birth certificate and be treated by law as a woman. But even without this law change, biological men who self-identify as women have been transferred to women’s prisons.

This situation is absurd. I could say I feel like a man, but as everyone knows, that simply does not make me a man – when will society wake up and stop indulging delusions? Whether a man puts on a dress and makeup or goes through a full surgical transition, his chromosomes do not change. A biological male should not be in a female prison or in any female private space. This is a rights issue where Nelson’s claimed right to identify as a woman threatens women's rights to be safe. 

In this case, Nelson attacked two people in a restaurant kitchen - the female victim received a serious stab wound to her face and back which also punctured a lung, causing it to collapse and blood to flow into her chest cavity.  The third victim was a customer who tried to intervene and lost a litre of blood after being stabbed in the abdomen.

Nelson, who called himself “Emma”, and now “Pandora Electra” is currently in Auckland’s women's prison, where he “feels safer”. This is the new NZ, where men who are violent criminals can claim to be women and end up in a women’s prison.  How will the government ensure they do not go on to attack and rape women while in prison, as is becoming common in other countries that have gone down this path?

We should ask the women who share prison space with Nelson whether they feel safe.  How safe do his victims feel now, and how safe will the community feel when Nelson is released?  The judge reduced Nelson’s sentence by 30% in recognition of his guilty pleas and aspirations to rehabilitate himself.  Yet a pre-sentence report said Nelson is at ‘high’ risk of further violent harm to others. 

NZ has an appalling rate of offending that needs to be addressed, but the current Government is focused on emptying prisons, making the problem worse.  Too often vicious intentional attacks are met with minimal sentences. The government’s primary job is to keep people safe, and prison is a part of this. We must have stronger sentences for violent attacks, and we must keep male criminals out of women’s prisons.


Helen Houghton
New Conservative co-leader