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New Zealand just elected the queerest parliament in the world with one in 10 MPs identifying as LGBT+

Emma Powys Maurice October 19, 2020
New Zealand

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern at the 2018 Auckland Pride parade (Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

New Zealand now has the queerest parliament in the world, with 10 percent of MPs openly identifying as LGBT+.

After prime minister Jacinda Arden‘s landslide win on Saturday (October 18), there is set to be 12 openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer members in the country’s 120-seat parliament, up from seven.

This means that New Zealand will have the highest proportion of LGBT+ MPs in the world. The UK has the highest number of openly queer MPs, with 45 across 650 seats, but this only amounts to a 7 per cent representation.

“Numbers do matter,” the lesbian Labour MP Louisa Wall told AAP before the election.”We have a critical mass with high visibility and we’re seen as valid. If we do end up being the most LGBTQI representative parliament in the world, that would be simply great.”

Alongside Wall, the New Zealand Labour party’s queer MPs are Grant Robertson, Meka Whaitiri, Tamati Coffey, Kiri Allan, Ayesha Verrall, Glen Bennett and Shanan Halbert.

Although prime minister Ardern won enough seats to form a single-party government, she is expected to make a coalition with the Greens, which is celebrating the election of openly LGBT+ MPs Jan Logie, Chloe Swarbrick, Elizabeth Kerekere and Ricardo Menendez March.

LGBT+ representation in the new parliament will be proportionate to that of the general population by the Kinsey Report’s figures, but significantly higher than New Zealand’s 2018 general social survey, which was 3.5 per cent.

Paul Spoonley, professor at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences of Massey University in Palmerston North, told The Independent that the new parliament represents an important generational change.

“A number of longstanding MPs – older, white, male – have left but they have been replaced by a much more diverse new intake – Maori, Pasifika, other ethnicities and the Rainbow community,” he said.

“Half of the Labour caucus are women. The Labour party and the Greens represent the contemporary face of New Zealand in parliament.”

 

 

More: Jacinda Arden, lgbt mps, New Zealand

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