New Govenment is a worry, says Barnett
Former Rainbow Labour MP Tim Barnett says New Zealand’s general election at the weekend saw a significant shift to the right, and brought in a new government which LGBT Kiwis should be wary of.
“The new National-led government professes to be inclusive – the test of them is whether that includes us, and whether they’ll reform some of the things Labour’s done,” Barnett tells GayNZ.com.
“There will be a number of MPs in the governing Party who do not have a great deal of tolerance for lesbian and gay New Zealanders – and some of them used homophobic themes in their campaigns. So there’s good reason to be nervous.”
Barnett believes Parliament’s equality agenda is no longer so much about changing laws – it’s about changing practices in government departments. “And that’s really much more the responsibility of ministers to lead on. Now Clem Simich, Mark Blumsky and Katherine Rich having gone, I don’t know if they’ll be many people in National who’ll be prepared to stick their neck out to be friends to our community.”
With Grant Robertson and Kevin Hague entering the House, there are still six openly-LGBT MPs, the same as before the election. Barnett believes it’s a good number, which of the 121 total MPs, isn’t far away from the numbers we are in general society. “And with Kevin there from the South Island, the geographical range has stayed there,” the ex-Christchurch Central MP says.
“So we’ve now established that the centre-left Parties do recognize that diversity includes people from our communities, just like it includes gender and racial difference for example. But there’s hardly any of that in the National caucus – and that’s a worry.”
News item from http://www.gaynz.com
always liked helen clark, John Key sounds interesting though but I’ve no idea what his views on LGBT issues are? Any NZ readers out there able to enlighten me?
John Key would be an excellent used car salesman. When he was an international exchange dealer he was known as the “smiling assasin”. He talks about having gay friends when he is speaking to a gay audience. He talks about his conservative views and respect for family values when he’s addressing a church group. Who knows what he really thinks? The National Party includes many known homophobes, one out but celibate gay man, and a few closeted men. They have previously voted against human rights measures and civil unions. Fortunately we had a Labour Government with Green support then so the legislation passed.
Former out gay Labour MP Tim Barnett (and architect of civil union legislation) has said New Zealand’s election result was a significant shift to the right, and brought in a new government which LGBT Kiwis should be wary of.
Barnett believes Parliament’s equality agenda is no longer so much about changing laws – it’s about changing practices in government departments and institutions including schools. And that’s really much more the responsibility of ministers to lead on. The National Party and its coalition partners Act and the Maori Party include a mix of conservative and liberal MPs so votes on social issues may be split.
There are two out gay MPs, Grant Robertson and Kevin Hague entering the House, and one out gay man and one lesbian leaving, so the NZ Parliament will still have six openly-LGBT MPs. 6 out of 121 MPs overall is reasonable representation. So we have a voice in Parliament but not a voting majority.
Kay from Wellington, New Zealand