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Monday 08 November 2010

Young gay board member ready for challenges

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News staff - 9th October 2010

Sam Johnson
4.05pm: Incredibly excited 21-year-old Sam Johnson can't wait to sink his teeth into local body politics after being elected onto the Riccarton-Wigram Community Board in Christchurch.

Johnson stood as an independent, on a platform of linking younger and older residents together in the community and bringing a fresh perspective to the board.

While openly-gay and an advocate for equality, he didn't publicise his sexuality during the campaign, "as we live in a country where thankfully its not an issue." However he realises many people still struggle to come to terms with their sexuality.

Johnson says there is very little in terms of "gay infrastructure" set up in Christchurch and he has already been in touch with Auckland-based OUTLine about becoming a phone volunteer. "But you've got to be in Auckland to go to the training. It's something I'd like to see more in Christchurch." He believes that's an area where community boards can help.

Overall, he just can't wait to get started. "It's going to be a big learning curve, certainly, but very exciting," says the third year law and political science student, who has been with his partner Dave for more than a year.

Johnson welcomes the re-election of Bob Parker as Mayor, as he clearly cares about Christchurch, and says the Christchurch City Council has a diverse make-up. "The mayor is only one vote on council," he points out.

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