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Thursday 09 October 2008

"Where did that year go?!" - Maryan Street MP

Posted in: Features
By Labour MP Maryan Street - 8th December 2007

Maryan Street MP
My computer's calendar tells me there are 22 days left of 2007. I can still recall January very clearly. It doesn't seem that long ago.

I started the year as a Backbencher and am finishing it as a Cabinet Minister. But it seems that out lesbian Cabinet Ministers are getting a bit passe these days - Angela Eagle was admitted to Gordon Brown's Cabinet in the UK after Tony Blair stood down, and now Penny Wong has been admitted to the Australian Cabinet under the newly elected Rudd administration. And what do the three of us all have in common - apart from being lesbians that is? We are all Labour. That is no accident. That is part of the fundamental inclusiveness of Labour philosophies and traditions. Name me an out lesbian (or even gay) National Cabinet Minister, ever. Silence.

I hope the GLBT communities can be proud of Chris Carter and me as queer Cabinet Ministers. We are proud to be there. And with Tim Barnett and Charles Chauvel also in the Labour caucus, and Louisa Wall soon to arrive in Parliament off the Labour list as she replaces Ann Hartley who is retiring, we are keeping the numbers up as we seek to reflect back to New Zealanders what New Zealand is really like. Don't hesitate to contact any of us with any issue you would like us to pursue.

It's been a busy and sometimes difficult year for the Government, but we are geared up and ready for 2008. In the last week we have introduced about 21 new pieces of legislation so that we can get them to first reading this year and have the Select Committees all poised and ready to hear submissions in the New Year. It takes a while to work up legislation, and even longer to complete the process in Select Committees. I am obsessed in the Housing portfolio at the moment with the number of ways through which we might deliver affordable housing. No one single remedy will make houses more affordable immediately. But I am keen to progress this issue on all fronts.

Our Welcome Home Loans scheme lends itself to queer friends clubbing together to buy a first home and get into the property market together. By aggregating their incomes and any deposit savings, they could borrow up to $280,000 under the Welcome Home Loans scheme and get started in home ownership. If you want to know more about this, go to

It was interesting to see the huge response which a lesbian got recently to her public enquiry about an old dykes' home, effectively! We, as communities now contemplating retirement and provision for our old age much more explicitly, are now ready to express our needs for particular living environments in our older years. Good on us! Recognition of our relationships and our social circles can be translated into our housing needs in the future, and so they should be.

But this column should really be a Christmas message I suppose. I wish everybody a safe and restful holiday season - I am certainly looking forward to one! Stay safe on the road, when socialising over the holiday period and in your sexual relationships. We need a healthy, vibrant, engaged queer community for the sake of a complete and inclusive society.

Take care and enjoy the holiday season. My Rainbow Labour colleagues Chris, Tim and Charles, and soon Louisa, join me in wishing you all a happy holiday.

Kind regards,

Hon Maryan Street MP.

Labour MP Maryan Street - 8th December 2007