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The Green Party's rainbow thinking
By Dr. Nancy Higgins
2nd April 2008 - 04:43 pm

Rainbow Labour MP Tim Barnett wrote a piece for earlier this week, explaining why Labour deserves the LGBT community's votes in New Zealand's upcoming election. He said: "Of the major political groupings only Labour and maybe the Greens choose to have particular, positive messages for and commitments to our queer communities."

Rainbow Greens Spokesperson Dr. Nancy Higgins now writes to clarify her party's stance on LGBT issues:

Rainbow Green: Dr. Nancy Higgins
In response to Tim Barnett's feature, I am writing to set the record straight, and to let your readers positively know that the Greens DO support the Rainbow Community in a number of ways.

For example, Rainbow Labour is not the only political party that considers queer interests as part of its organisation. The Green Party has a national Rainbow Green Group that meets and discusses queer issues on a regular basis.

The Green Party is also the ONLY party that voted FOR the Civil Union Bill as a matter of policy, and not conscience.

Also, the Green Party has a sexual orientation policy that states that all legal partnership arrangements and rights should be the same for all couples, no matter what their sexuality.

Here is a summary of the main points from this policy:

* Make the government comply fully with the Human Rights Act 1993.

* Develop workplace programmes in the public and private sector to eliminate prejudice, discrimination and harassment.

* Extend all legal partnership arrangements and rights to same-sex couples.

* Support equal criteria for both "rainbow" and heterosexual couples in their assessment for suitability and eligibility for parenting.

* Encourage the development of adequately resourced community centres, outreach programmes and events and the creative self-expression of people with "rainbow" identities through drama and literature and the arts.

* Support a holistic approach to health and elimination of discrimination within the health services.

* Support the development of specific programmes, including professional education, in partnership with "rainbow" communities, in health, education, police, the courts, penal institutions, and the military.

* Create safe and supportive educational environments.

* Support a partnership with schools and "rainbow" youth organisations to reduce the unacceptably high level of suicide and drug abuse among youth.

* Encourage research to help identify discriminatory workplace and institutional practices; support participatory research into individual life experience to identify ways to encourage "rainbow" communities' physical and mental health.

Dr. Nancy Higgins

Rainbow Greens Spokesperson, Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand

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