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Saturday 11 April 2015


Lgbti election guide

Posted in: Features
By GayNZ.com staff - 20th September 2014

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While there are many issues which are bound to impact your vote this election, we take a look at parties’ records on lgbti issues, and what you can expect if they have significant influence in the next term. In alphabetical order...

ACT: we can count on their vote

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ACT Leader Jamie Whyte
The bottom line with ACT is that the party believes how people identify shouldn’t matter in policy, but is also very clear that the government should never discriminate, on any grounds.

“The Government shouldn’t take sides. And that’s why on queer, rainbow issues, we’ve always been straight up about this stuff. We don’t want there to be any discrimination in the law against people’s sexual preferences, their lifestyle choices. We’ve always voted on the right side on those issues,” new leader Jamie Whyte says.

However the party’s advocacy of Charter Schools is an area of concern, considering the fundamentalist groups rushing to run them – with no assurances of safety for the lgbti students in their clutches.

Conservatives: just plain scary

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Thinks we're not normal: Colin Craig
Is there really any more compelling reason for glbti people to vote this election than to keep this weird bunch out of Parliament?

Its candidates speak for themselves:

The party is led and mostly funded by Colin Craig, who believes gay people are not normal. Third on its list is Garth McVicar, who thinks gay people getting married will increase the crime rate.

Fifth is Edward Saafi who says same-sex marriage “rubbed [Pasifika] people up the wrong way”.

Other candidates include Steve Taylor who once accused the New Zealand lgbti community of being a “gay Taliban” and Gordon Copeland who compared marriage equality to South African apartheid.

Greens: 100% pure lgbti friendly

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Out and proud: Jan Logie and Kevin Hague
As the Green Party proudly trumpets, it’s the only party which has a 100 per cent voting record in favour of pro-lgbti legislation.

It has also had a significant hand in making progress, from its all hands to the pump approach to marriage equality, to Jan Logie’s advocacy for trans rights and Kevin Hague’s stalwart advocacy for lgbti youth who remain scarily overrepresented when it comes to be being bullied, suffering depression and contemplating suicide.

While the party has had two out MPs who are both likely to return, all elected Green MPs make it clear they have our backs.

We had to laugh when a newspaper journalist described the Greens as jumping ‘on the bandwagon’ at this year’s Big Gay Out. They are unquestionably among the loudest and most long-standing members of the band.

As for what we can expect in the next term, The Greens are among a minority of parties to have a clear and specific ‘rainbow’ pre-election policy: Full legal equality, Safe environments in schools and all other institutions, Health services specific to the needs of rainbow communities, Promoting human rights for rainbow communities around the world and Resourcing for community centres, support services, events and outreach programmes.

Internet Mana: solid on lgtbi rights

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Hone Harawira came through on marriage equality
Hone Harawira is a straight up MP who calls it like he sees it. To his credit though, despite his personal more conservative views he listened to Mana faithful when it came to marriage equality. And at its grassroots level Mana has not given the impression of being anything other than completely lgbti friendly.

Among its candidates is trans trailblazer Georgina Beyer, the history-making and outspoken former Labour MP who has expressed concern about the damage the anti-gay Conservative Party could do if it gets a foothold.

And to be blunt, the fact the divisive Jevan Goulter is no longer Harawira's Executive Assistant has led some to remark they may actually vote for the party.

Mana’s partner the Internet Party is the new kid on the block, but has made it very clear it’s pro anything in the lgbti rights arena and is happy to work cross-party on such issues.

Labour: A leader in lgbti rights

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Among Labour's rainbow MPs: Maryan Street and Louisa Wall
The lgbti gains which have been led in Parliament by Labour make for impressive reading: Homosexual Law Reform, civil unions and in the last term, marriage equality. Its champion Louisa Wall also went a step further and ensured a young woman in a uniquely sad situation revealed during the marriage debate was able to have both her mothers’ names on her birth certificate.

The party also boasts the most openly gay and a lesbian MPs, and of course trans candidate Kelly Ellis.

But Labour also has MPs Damien O’Connor and Sua William Sio in its ranks, the former who doesn’t like Labour’s “gaggle of gays” and the latter a Mormon who stood firmly against marriage equality. However the overwhelming majority of Labour MPs are pro lgbti rights.

Labour has released a clear rainbow policy which is very much in line with potential coalition partners the Greens – it’s pledging to tackle school bullying, ensure trans people are clearly protected from discrimination and promises a government it leads would speak out against anti-glbti actions worldwide.

Maori Party: solid and open

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Te Ururoa Flavell is reasoned and respectful
Right from the start under Pita Sharples’s calm guidance, the Maori Party made it clear it was lgbti-friendly. As Sharples put it in 2005: “The Maori Party's priority of whanau includes gay and lesbian people, whanau and communities,” and "The Maori Party is aware of the strength of views against gay and lesbian relationships, and of the erroneous view that homophobia is and was a feature of traditional Maori society. This is not the view of the Maori Party.”

This meant a significant change of tune for now retired leader Tariana Turia, who moved from a conservative start to her career as an MP where she voted against civil unions and stated she was against gay couples even having next-of-kin rights to kids, to voting for marriage equality and saying her party was in favour of gay adoption.

All its MPs voted for marriage equality and leading the Maori Party into the future is Te Ururoa Flavell, who gave a beautiful speech in Parliament about the origin of the word takataapui and its place in Maori history.

We can expect the Maori Party to listen. It may take time to come up with a response, but it will think about our issues carefully.

National: A mixed bag

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John Key is a Big Gay Out regular
The representatives National has sent to the few lgbti pre-election debates have been telling in that they come from the socially progressive side of the party which is all for equality and enlightened thinking.

We can count on MPs like Maurice Williamson and Nikki Kaye to back any pro lgbti measures that come down to a conscience vote – and some, like Kaye, will happily work cross-party on social issues.

Among the positives under the National government have been a $100,000 boost in funding for the lgbt youth sector, while rules for passports and driver’s licences have also been changed to allow three gender options.

And yet, the majority of National MPs still voted against marriage equality. The party still houses the likes of Tim McIndoe, who thinks businesses should be able to discriminate against same-sex couples, and Judith Collins, who voted for marriage equality but scuttled the latest move to have trans people specifically protected under the law.

The party’s range is best summed up by its leader, who was inspired by Barack Obama to become calmly pro marriage equality – something which had a significant impact on the campaign. And yet on the other hand, John Key still thinks red tops can be ‘gay’, and in 2012 weirdly told the Big Gay Out his party hasn’t “rolled back” any of our rights.

As for what we can expect under a third-term National government, as mentioned on conscience issues like abortion and trans protection we will have the backing of a solid number of National MPs. However, the party will make no promises about actively leading the way in progressing them.

NZ First: Hard to know

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Winston Peters
This party has a mixed history. Its central figure Winston Peters has often aggravated our community, from describing Rodney Hide as a ‘closet gay’ to his claims of Labour’s “gender-bending agenda” when Georgina Beyer tried to get trans protection into the law.

When it comes to the most recent test, despite some MPs being in support, leader Peters made them bloc vote against marriage equality because he wanted a referendum.

One positive about New Zealand First is that Asenati Lole-Taylor has been dumped much lower on the list. She’s angered trans campaigners with her witlessness when it comes to trans people, exemplified during her rage against prostitution in South Auckland.

As for the future, if Peters actually lets his MPs think for themselves in a conscience vote, we will probably have the support of some. But we’re not holding our breath.

United Future: on our side since ditching the homophobes

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Sensible: Peter Dunne
Thank goodness the days of United Future MPs like Gordon “gay marriage is like apartheid” Copeland, and Paul Adams who wanted people with HIV quarantined on an island somewhere, are long behind us and the party has progressed since its opposition to civil unions.

United Future has been consistently glbti-friendly since it split with anti-gay evangelical members and leader Peter Dunne has been as sensible as his reputation - and it should be mentioned he was an advocate for Homosexual Law Reform.

Notably moving up the party’s ranks is Damian Light, a gay Auckland 30-year-old who is now third on the party list.

Oh how things have (thankfully) changed!


GayNZ.com staff - 20th September 2014

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