Tim Barnett - Rainbow Politicians

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[00:00:00] This podcast is brought to you by pride in zero.com with dinner support from the rule Foundation, [00:00:06] I was born in and bought up in a place called rugby. Best known for being the place where the game again, which is a town of about 50,000 people sighs Bailey of Nelson in central of England. And it was when I was growing up it's the largest town in the UK with actor cinema, which gives you some idea of the depth of anything cultural. And there was one bar which used to be gay one night a week but even people who went there regularly nowadays it was happening so it was very subtle. It was fairly near to Coventry in Birmingham and big middle and cities. So when I when I grow up grew up in the 1960s 70s essentially and there wasn't a lot of positive k imaging around there wasn't a lot of debate on the issues I was going to have so that was kind of my mother was sort of conservative liberal My father was labor liberal. So they like were but they were not negative on issues like race equality non this was a sexuality really wouldn't never really been discussed apart in a fairly often and why so I grew up probably not with not with a particularly overt sexuality. And I was in an all boys, secondary schools and not a lot of sexual contact with with girls, but fairly fairly much of a loner, but it kept myself to myself, an only child sort of got on with the stuff was reasonably studious, spent a lot of time at home with my parents didn't get us involved in sport, very interested in current affairs, had a small circle of friends, some of whom are still got. So it was not a an unhappy time at all but, but the fact that there wasn't having the country relationships, so many of my peers were having never seen to me important when I went on to have two years off between school and university. And that was in Belfast. And then in Barbados, I was doing volunteer work around disability issues, actually for most of the two years. And that's again was quite intense. And the cultural difference was great. It was in Barbados, I had my first sort of a sexual experience. And I sort of started humid, slightly wrong food environment that was a very nice. And then went on to universities had those two gap years went on the university in London. And at university again, most of my friends were male, one or two to bat afterwards to began, indeed, came back a bit of my close friends at school, there were four of us, and myself and to others came out as gay, and not two years later. So oddly enough, that kind of interaction was there, the friendship reflections there without necessarily realizing it's went on the university in London in the, in the very late 70s, early 80s, there was quite a buoyant period, quite a political period and the Labour government, then Margaret Thatcher came into power. So it was very interesting time to be there. But the London School of Economics where there was a gay society and so on, but didn't really to me that my identity wasn't really there. I hadn't met that many people who are openly gay, I was involved more in politics interested in this than the other. And, and it wasn't until I left University got a job as a community worker in South London by then, can Livingston have just been elected into the the great London Council, it was a period when they were when there was a lot of a progressive political thought in London, there were a lot of new left wing local bodies, elected in 1992. And [00:03:55] we were one of them in Greenwich. [00:03:58] And I met the person who became my partner for 18 years, Jonathan, who was local priest. And just prior to meeting him, I'd met somebody who was writing for capital guy. And I'd asked, which was like a week ago newspaper. And I'd asked them what they were advice they would give to somebody coming in as a new local body counselor about what they can be doing for gay community. So they wrote this open letter to me over about five Additions on employment issues and funding community groups. And someone said, Jonathan saw this, I'm going to put two and two together that must be made. And then in the period leading up to that which was went on to put elected the council for labor. And I started to realize that was about my sexuality. And it was largely through thinking it through it through a few failed straight relationships, and just starting to understand more about baguettes, and went to gay bars a couple of times something much ever happened. But I was starting to just kind of understand that there's this new thing that was part of so through that whole process. Eventually, Johnson and I got together, he's an Anglican priest, and our relationship sort of started in 19 1982. So good luck to to camp. So because of the get involved a bit in gay politics, and really came out to all the friends I knew at the same time, and my parents might have the end of that. So that was, that was a fairly intensive for me, and then spend the next six years. So eight years living in London, eight and a half years, and on the council for four years and Lewisham pants over to after that. And then moved north London and followed a paid career because those were very intense volunteer jobs, paid career in NGO management and I was in organizations where we were could actually be doing outreach to the lesbian, the gay communities, and it was a period when there was a closet kind of outpouring of new organization in the queer communities. So it was very interesting time, and I was not at the center of it as at the edge of it, but I was using pushing issues of equity inequality around race and [00:06:24] sexuality in particular, [00:06:25] in that in that period, was homosexuality ever an issue free. [00:06:32] Now, I thought that may not come in with on Christmas at home that semester been, I think that's probably my last year university. So be 1981, I think I went back to my parents place on Christmas and had a fair amount of time on my own after having been very involved in everything in university. And kind of thought it through my kind of rationalize the fact I was go, I mean, having, having having had orgs off flames, but not thought it was serious, I kind of started to think it through. And obviously, this is what I am, but as a normal me live, and I've met who is gay, who I'd had an ongoing friendship with at that stage, I won't be particularly warm too. And I think it's nothing to do with their sexuality. It's just not people are particularly kind of had other other sort of senses of contact with. And so for me, it was that rational thinking. So once I thought it through was it was fine, just want to get on with it. And that was telling everyone that being open. And then of thought after that something will happen once my piece of myself and I don't think somebody likes hiding things, particularly. I mean, it's hard in working for political party now. And being a member of parliament, and the senior whip. There's always a part of your life, which is kind of private, and you know, stuff that other people shouldn't know mustn't know. And I've always found that quite difficult. So I think once I knew what I was, I just wanted to know, and to get on with it. I never thought at that time, I'd end up being sort of working full time in the movement. And I didn't know enough about the history and the context of just being somebody who, I guess has been an advocate and a lobbyist. And on a good day communicate. Quite a good networker and an organizer, a strategist sometimes so that I bought those skills, I didn't bring a great encyclopedic knowledge about the history of communities in the UK with the world, I've kind of found out whether through experience, [00:08:36] to see laws in the UK around kind of age of consent for for having sexual acts, did that have any impact on you, because that's quite different from a New Zealand as well, when you were growing up. [00:08:50] Didn't mean there weren't laws that were particularly observed. And in this place, very bad. Will people were particularly avert, they didn't seem to be enforced a great deal. So not really, I mean, the fact that the Conservative government was trying to manufacture government was trying to, to restrict the laws further, both in terms of the expression of sexuality, the section 28 stuff, which was how the Stonewall group started, and how it got involved, full time and the whole thing. And there, but also, they were trying to make the laws around soliciting and input tuning and sex in a public place. So trying to increase the penalties for that. And that was how Stonewall started its first fight really so. So it was a period when i when i certainly sense that this nasty government were headed in for a whole bunch of people. And the gay community went to me And from that, and the migrant communities went to me and women's rights were being respected and movements that were happening in London, the kind of liberation stuff around disability and a whole lot of different communities was being denied by the government, we have this great clash of having a very liberal progressive Council and then a very regressive government and Westminster parliament and one side of the river and County Hall and the other it was highly symbolic and exciting when you're getting into politics. And Margaret Thatcher as a very, I mean, the upside was a very kind of vivid, forceful, opinionated values lead politician who knew it was hard to be apathetic about it, or you either liked or realized that it made politics real to people. And, and I was reflecting a lot when she when she died this year. may not on what I mean, there was something about being being around that period. And that woman in an extraordinary position of leadership in a country that never had a particularly great record in that area, suddenly, somebody with her background to get there was extraordinary. And whether it was possible to separate that from the reality of the stuff she was doing. It was a bit like having a first mile read Prime Minister here, but then being national, what it would be like, the good and the bad, all caught up together. So I found that was that was an interesting time to be around. And I was near enough to send the circles around to sort of sense what's going on. Yeah, within very interesting period. And get back to your question, the laws didn't mean a great, didn't have much meaning. And there was a time when, when increasingly culture was being influenced by particularly the gay male community, that expression in TV and film was going from the stereotype to the more meaningful expression was the state wasn't great, but it was good and getting better. And it was a really exciting time to be around there. [00:11:49] Can you just describe what section 28 was? And also what the swimming pool of equipments? [00:11:56] Yeah, absolutely. So section 20. It was an oddity. I mean, Margaret Thatcher was a populist. And I think in the present day, I would say that she was led by focus groups and polls, and she decided there was a need to throw a bit of raw political meat to the right wing of a caucus. And that was around a piece of legislation that was within, like a Government Act. And it was called section 28, because it was section 28 of the legislation. And it basically banned local authorities from I think I quote, promoting homosexuality as a pretended family relationship. So it's a strange, strange wording for legislation. And what it was designed to do was to prevent local authorities from offering positive images being lesbian or gay, so pretty insidious. And it really was, in that sense, and the nastiest pieces of legislation needed. Imagine within that context. It was then interpreted by conservative local authorities to mean for example, one camps were data, a tour by visiting our PR company a tour of school was because they were performing Benjamin Britten and they decided that just performing his his offers was actually tantamount to promoting homosexuality. So it got it got silly, and others completely ignored it in family, and yet others actually did things that wouldn't have otherwise done in protests. It didn't have much of an effect. But what the effect it did have was to be the catalyst for a Carolina allowed coalition of conservative and progressive lesbians and gay men who got together through the arts community, the political community broadcasting, to say, this kind of attack on our rights is fundamentally wrong. And this is the catalyst for us to get organized, and that became the Stonewall group. So the group was 10 lesbians and gay men, and, I mean, included Tamsin Clement, who was on EastEnders at the time it was Michael Cashman who'd done the first gay kiss on screen also in EastEnders and is now just retiring next year as a European parliamentarian, having been president of the Labour Party in the course of his career in McCallum known best candle [00:14:27] there were [00:14:32] Matthew Paris, who was a former Conservative MP, who had resigned in protest at section 28 coming in with a we never said that publicly. That was the reason the homophobia and her pandering margaret thatcher's pandering to homophobia he found remarkable for somebody who he knew privately was a lot more friendly and supportive and found that unacceptable as he was part of the group. Darian japery, he was still as a partner of Chris Smith, who was the first guy MP in Britain. So this group formed they raised a bit of money, they got to know where they got, they got a donation from foundation to get going there just enough to print a very colorful, very expensive brochure which didn't directly look good. And an employee me for a year as what the media called Britain's first professional homosexual. So it was the first full time job for somebody to work on lesbian gay rights in the country, which is something we've never achieved here in New Zealand against. And so I was employed for an ice. I remember being in the holiday in Ireland with my partner and looking at this job in the paper, I've been quite happy in my previous work, but something about it looked interesting was probably vaguely worded, it was clearly about gay rights. But it was a bit Sunday bit strange, not fly, then I heard nothing. And I thought, oh, but that's that. I got called to this interview, the the tubes, one strike in London on public transport systems on strike and was very hot days I walked. And then this time that survived, the time was supposed to be interviewed on pouring with sweat. And they gave me 10 minutes to recover and went into this room when the sun was so bright. But I couldn't actually see the eight people that I could see the shadowy figures could actually see who they were, I realized the end, McCallum was one of them. And they interviewed me another do presentation. So I thought, well, this is a waste of time, went through that. They said, let me know the next day. And then 10 days later and randomly offered me the job. And I started and I was in some different room, they given up the spare room to be the office had a filing cabinet with one bit of paper in which was this brochure, there was money in the bank to employ me for a year and pay for running costs and was a computer that never worked. And it was a phone. And then the aim was equal rights under the law for lesbians, a gay man, that was a that was a mission for the organization. And that was it. And they sat back and waited for me to do something, which is, and it's probably the most, I mean, every job I've done has been a bit challenging with that particular challenge about it, because it was completely blank slate. And so I was there for I was actually emigrated to New Zealand. So I was in the job for probably two, two and a half years, two years. And basically what I did was to, we had to get lots of people to offer free help. And the reality of was in the lobby companies and PR agencies and so on that were heaps of people pick the paper, okay, here, we're happy to help who felt strongly about the issue. So we were overwhelmed Office of support. And it was very hard. But I've been labeled by the General Secretary for the tiny, tiny staff team, but lots of people wanting to help how you actually get it organized is quite challenging. So we were lucky in that the government came up with this proposal to tighten, tighten, they will increase the penalties for some consensual gay crimes. And that became a bit of a challenge for us to run a lobbying and to educate MPs about the issues, we started an all party group we, then Margaret Thatcher got thrown out and john major became prime minister, he came with some reputation for being very friendly with a lot of people in social circle, liver guy and we organize in McKellen, to meet him very publicly, number 10. Sam had to go before hand and we kind of arranged almost like a script, the meeting that we would present this and they would say this and the media were very interested, it was the first time they've been a and up front, a lobby. And we were attacked the whole time by a German filmmaker who thought that we were just a bunch of men in suits, who were who were a describes for the history of the community because the history of the games is one of actors and when we were deliberately dressing up and going into the into the powerful places so I was wheeled out to meet him and I'm charming and and show him he went in and nasty things and and Peter Tatchell, who is still a very good friend of mine, he, he started at rage at the same time, so they were doing the sweet stuff, and we were doing the behind the scenes stuff we were doing, we're both doing media, our stuff tend to be more serious. And [00:19:32] although a lot of the leaders of Stonewall were quite hostile to Peter, he and I found quite a strong bonds, we like what we did to we were never actually sort of cashing in public. Sometimes the methods, our methods and their methods offended the other side with everywhere. So we got, we got quite a good sort of wider coalition of lobby groups going we got the free help from a GJW, which is a very big lobby organized, I basically allocated for staff who were gay to know to, again to work and to work with us across the political spectrum. So they had people to LinkedIn to reach the major partners. And we did a lot of media work models, any issue and we became the go to organization very quickly for media to to talk to anyone about career issues. And that will that was helpful. And for 18 months, we were just sort of ran that and slowly started to to grow as an organization. We didn't let it rush too much. And we got funding from the same spree family, elton john invited Ian McKellen and Michael Cashman for dinner one night and everyone got quite drunk, and then they flipped $100,000 came out of that. And then David Hockney gave a painting, Pet Shop Boys reliable by the Daily Mail, and they got a payout from the course. And they gave that to us. And so slowly, and there was there were individuals giving donations as well. So slowly, the organization started to grow. When I left there, only three people and then it started to expand upon rapidly and I went, when we decided to abandon it emigrate to New Zealand, the organization was kind of at take off point. And I remember thinking, maybe I like that stay, I'll have to stay long enough to see it grow a lot more. But maybe my job is actually been just to get it into the public eye, and so on. So it's quite a quite a shock to the people involved when I left. But I think it was the right thing to do. And it was right, the woman took over from me, Angela Mason, she got the OBE eventually for services to to, to equal rights and all that stuff. So the organization became very establishment, probably adult dramas, worst fears, we realized, looking back on it, and, and the group. I mean, there is quite a classic history of a lobby organization, actually. I mean, there's even been radio documentaries made in the UK started. And maybe when a McCallum was here last year, he was this this year. And he was talking about the need for history written into the organization because of the lessons not just for the the query world but for, for lobbies on tricky issues now to actually get into the system. [00:22:21] What type of logging do you think is more successful, the kind of street activism or the kind of more quieter? Not offices of power type [00:22:29] lobby? I think, I mean, dependency was done to me. Sure. I'm having some, some issues a bear, you're going to get in the door. So you need to be fairly public. And then the question is what you do, but some of the stuff Greenpeace does is invented a massively effective, and they are prevented by governments and corporates getting in the door, but they are well able to get media attention. Increasingly, it's visual images that are going to be effective, some of the street stuff can look violent and hostile and negative something is a big clock after that. And sometimes the street activity but no effect because the issues too subtle, and you really need to have the conversations in the doors. I mean, we were while we were doing the lobbies with the Conservative government, we're also looking ahead to the possibility of a Labour government. I mean, it all seemed likely that labor will get in there in 92, which they didn't and it took another five years. But we have to sleep as a deputy leader, new Connecticut was a leader and the next wife, Linus was a patron of the artist class that we were closely linked to them. Tony Blair, who was the shadow Home Secretary, he, he linked to us and in fact, when he, just before he stopped being Prime Minister, he did a fabulous time moved in and said that, that he has sort of a box of the way in which he had nurtured the lower form is to deliver what Stanwell wanted, which was that complete equality under the law was one of his proudest achievements, because it was something that was under, under under cover, but it would do it would didn't get the biggest publicity of everything. But what it did was to really achieve fundamental things and they inherited in 97, quite a messy law, as you said, that has been around for a long time, but were gay sex was legal, but the at an equal age of consent. And so getting that sorted out, and then some of the the registers of the law, like around adoption, proved to be quite messy there. But it's always it's always investing and looking ahead, and that looking at work has to be done, often in a more private environment, which is important. The other thing that we did, because we were well aware that the debate in the Conservative Party was important. And I think if you look to what the Cameron government's done, maybe we helped write the beginning to do that. And we we tried to nurture the development of gay rights lobby within the Conservative Party, which wasn't easy, but we had people like Matthew Paris who are part of our organization. So well remember the Bournemouth conservative conference, and it was the year that Margaret Thatcher was thrown out in 1992 91. That we made 91 was my life not long before I came to New Zealand, and we we booked a room for Stonewall, we weren't able to have a store that didn't wants to have a store, but they left us leaflet. So I was any person but better leaflets for sort of the conservative conference, handing out leaflets for this meeting to lots of lots of people. And we told all of our networks, but no idea where they get two people 200 and we got 150 people turned up. It's like a evangelical revival meeting. [00:25:54] And from that torch, which is a Tory conservative, campaign for homosexual rights, whatever they call it, got started. And that's really been the lobby that has helped to, to nurture some of the positive things that they're still doing there. So it was kind of an odd lot of thinking we had today, but it was it was about working across the spectrum. We were the Liberal Party and we worked with Scottish National Party just trying to make sure that the in a sentence the shows de politicize but also that we knew which which part of the spectrum was really going to help us. So it was an interesting job from a strategic point of view, a lot of media exposure. Very interesting, very interesting. To be often the lone voice on the media or the media were very keen to get balance and therefore we were in pretty high demand we went to the Isle of Man because we had to deal with not only this one lower in England way it was another loan Scotland, another lower Northern Ireland, and other lower in Jersey and other lower end game. Remember another law in the Isle of Man. So we had all the different jurisdictions so even when England decriminalize gay sex and 67 and it was still completely legal in Northern Ireland and jersey, another place so in Jersey, I went to meet with the HIV society and then at MacAllan Canada, one man show and at the beginning of the show, and most of the island politicians are there he he said, just before I begin, I want to point out that [00:27:32] I've been [00:27:33] forced to become a criminal, since coming to this island yesterday, and spoke about the law for one minute amended is one man Shakespeare show and within a year, the Lord change. So we use of the art of madman to argue attempting to do the paper for the 10 world parliamentary committee to give evidence about about the laws, and then did a radio interview next to somebody sitting there with the Bible in front of them, somebody rang up and offered to pay me money to leave the island immediately. So it was very it was already I would say it was a bit of a I mean, I had to be the maverick in the sense that the group were happy to raise the money and be used on occasions, but they didn't really want to spend that time doing a lot of the stuff I was doing. So it was like a it was the perfect gift. Because somebody with my sort of interesting skills that [00:28:21] you mentioned just before about briefly about HIV. And I'm wondering you were coming out of a time in the early 80s when HIV AIDS was just coming in or just being known. Can you picture for me of what it was like in London at that time? [00:28:39] We [00:28:41] because I didn't mean my coming out was probably it was at the time just after I left University. And when I was in living in southeast London and being a community worker and being a city councilor. So the HHIV seemed almost as it was almost other World to understand that scene that that real benefit involved in the volunteer bureau movement and became a national and national director of that movement. HIV was certainly an area which was then getting a lot of people involved as volunteers again, it was kind of it was other plant stuff. My partner was involved as a as a counselor in the sector in London, which was growing and Nick Partridge, who is head of the term seconds trust, which incidentally, they this isn't the song, a future interview. [00:29:39] taken seriously young guy died of [00:29:43] HIV or who [00:29:48] died of AIDS. He [00:29:52] his partner, who's still alive is a New Zealander is not taught here in London couple years ago, doctor and say he was turning his partner. So thank you sickness trust was the kind of community based organization that started and then the lighthouse was the main sort of care and support center in London, so I suddenly were of them. When I got involved in Stonewall. We were pretty looking back in it were pretty narrow and transgender issues we never touched. And the transgender community there was big enough and strong enough and probably sloppy enough not to want to touch Stonewall, so unlike here, where the everything's melded, I think it's well, it's great, but it is it's much richer experience here in many ways that I think what separates us the HIV, stuff was separated financially, from what we did, me we were arguing in terms of human rights law for similar things. And suddenly, Nick Partridge was was very much sort of part of our world that we were pretty well work. And we were trying to, in a sense, publicly talk about the rights issues separately from actually, but I clearly, HIV, as in New Zealand was a trigger to get the law, right. We didn't want that to be too much a driver of what we do. And so it was always slightly slightly awkward. It was as a young gay man sort of coming out. And being in thinking that vibrant city was pretty extraordinary time. There were people in the group who had HIV, and that, I mean, that became obviously a dominant issue for them. But it was never part of our close world, we were very much more about the human rights world, and quite a lot of strong international links with other lesbian and gay organizations. But looking back on it, it was probably a time when a lot of us were denying the reality of what was what's happening around us. And the government was tending the Conservative government was focusing on HIV, often in a fairly uninformed and rather than sort of scary way. And they were tending to really focus on the sexuality aspect. And then we were trying to trying to keep the whole thing separate. So the messaging was complicated. Looking back on it, and it wasn't it was k Africa, sort of where I was working a year ago, things were a lot. Yeah, there were a lot clearer in that area, I guess the science have moved on their understanding and moved on. And the kind of the relationship between sexuality and HIV was maybe becoming a bit clearer. [00:32:30] What prompted you to immigrate to New Zealand and 90s? Yeah, [00:32:35] yeah, I missed. I miss Christmas Day in 1991. emigrated and that was the day I lost on the way over. So I was left on left on Christmas Eve and arrived unboxing day, so and the the real, the catalyst was combination of two things. One was me failing that my job because as far as it could, could get me there. It needed somebody knew. My partner's job was as a selector with the Church of England. So he was one of the team and we would organize selection conferences, people wanted to become Anglican ministers and would then interview candidates and write up the conference and all that stuff. And then at the end of that process, would rush report and so they were he was helping to, to really sort of get the next generation of leaders off the ground, which is great, but, but really hard for him to get any advancement in the church because of sexuality. Even though a very large proportion of the Anglican Church in London, my guy, he was more open than most and was known to be gay, and therefore is much harder than to make progress. So he was feeling a bit stuck. And I was feeling as though I couldn't quite see where my life was heading next. And after a long time of a conservative government, it was an increasingly can debate place me in many ways. And this club came up in Christchurch, New Zealand was Jonathan came out to be interviewed for and we discussed at length before we did that, that was middle of 91, I came out with him very cold, miserable winter in Christchurch, and we made our first sort of foray into New Zealand. This is an amazing country, amazing experience, he got offered the job, and then he moved out. But three months later, he got quite complicated because we applied to come as a capital because the Labour government here before going out of power in 90, opened up the possibility of same sex couples migrating. And so when he was offered the job reapplied as a couple went to the high commission in London and got interviewed, and they were all very nice and friendly and asked all the right questions, and then got had to be referred from London to here because of the same sex capital and ended up on Bill birchers desk. And he rejected it on the basis that if my partner was known to be gay, that he was liable to lose his job with the church here. And again, it was the don't ask don't tell approach taken by the church. And therefore if he lost his job that I wouldn't have any right to stay. That's interesting. So so that basis that was refused. So then we had to, Thompson had to apply as an individual had a job offer. And then he got in. And then I came as a visitor, and I had to apply and have a point system to be an ad to stay. So it was my first experience of the system. So I got here. And so right at the end of 91, I got involved in politics almost immediately, with landers and crusher Central. And she was one of my greatest supporters through that period. And, and spent about the Yeah, just sort of getting my head around New Zealand doing our jobs research for the volunteer centers, covering the AIDS Foundation Board, did some research around the Human Rights Act, in 92, was 93. So I got to travel around the country quite quickly, to get to know people, networks back to Catherine Haley from the prostitutes collective who was on the board at the same time, and Charles Chevelle, who was a young, dynamic gay lawyer, and then was in Parliament one day, Georgina by I was on the board, I think later. So I got to know quite a quite a network of people who were important to me later. And then got the job in nine stops in 93, running the community Law Center in Christchurch. So it was quite a good it was good to have that year of just the freedom to get to know the country travel around and make networks got involved in Christchurch and the Freedom Party was that period when we have this big dance parties here and freedom and devotion. So that was really a time donations, I was on the planning committee for that for two or three years and got very involved in local politics got elected to live as National Executive Committee in 9393, when the party reconstituted, sort of starting that, starting the lead into MMP [00:37:33] and, and I was in my mom's area, and he stood against one of his great supporters for that, that position on the council and I got it and then it goes standard 93 labor last election, although quite naturally, and then Helen Clark became the party leader. And my soul of me having won that election is the beginning of the end, looking back in every part of the plot to him. So that was all quite exciting. So we had Helen as lead, I was running into law center. And I did that for three years and really started with a very small rather run down organization, and we grew quite rapidly became quite important in the crisis scene and a big service provider. So that was a, that was a nice sort of stabilizing period with a job that was very hands on involving lots of young students, lots of lawyers, really trying to provide people with the kind of knowledge they they needed around human rights, issues from sexuality as well as many other things. And part of that lobby around the human rights and, and helped with parliamentary submissions and background research. And, and then in 95, got selected to stand for parliament. So I guess that was the next the next stage in my career here. [00:38:55] In those first couple of years in New Zealand, I'm wondering, can you compare what the kind of standard of living or the place in society for rainbow people in New Zealand was compare that to what you have known in the UK? [00:39:11] it I mean, the sky or so different. I mean, Christchurch has got, in many ways, the heart of a queer history, bits of it sit in Christ Church, I mean, it's a city that's been the place where a lot of our liberation movements have started and where they pretend to be well established organizations and we're still lambda [00:39:35] lounge going when I was [00:39:37] there, there was quite a quite a strong I'm a bit like the history in Britain, I guess the history is not dissimilar to the place of a different history of large in my origin, quite, quite close. But really important organizations just to keep the flag flying, keep things going. And of course, the win or not the raw when I arrived, for my a fairly recent memory. And I was been a very dramatic period here because the law had changed from zero to equality in a short period, which, in Britain, we'd lived in that half world for [00:40:14] for many years after I left. [00:40:17] And so I think I came from a place where which was very into the, the gay culture and the boy and vibrant different community to Christ Church, which is quite an isolated city with kind of strong history of equal rights and a strong history of community organization. never quite big enough to really sustain a vibrant, getting nightlife. [00:40:45] I mean, there were a range of bars, and [00:40:46] so on, and so forth. But, but can ever really sense it was a big, vibrant community. There were there were networks, no bits of things, but it felt pretty comfortable. In fact, whether you say they added us and feel. I mean, homophobia was in a sense, more overt, but it was easier to challenge or some people to hear more upfront about their feelings, but more prepared to listen to a challenge in London, people that learn not to say things that might have thought them, but they wouldn't say that. I mean, because the city was changing. So, so quickly, even then the thing here, people were happy to happy to say what they thought, but then pretty open to having questions from back of them. So that the chips and Michael was where my partner was the vicar. And it was pretty obvious to most people that he was living with another man in very large brokerage. And for those who got to know as well, was there any rumor guy so, but a lot of people just didn't get their head around it and didn't want to ask. And then if you asked if they did ask they only vaguely found out because because the rules of the church the time made it difficult, hello compliant and efficient, investigated. It was a kind of awkward period, in terms of the Labour Party, never an issue. ever an issue to I think it was kind of maybe a topic of interest, sort of popping up from now early and as always been very supportive of community. And therefore having her around was pretty useful. But no hostility from any quarter really. [00:42:24] So when you were campaigning to go into parliament, where you campaigning it as an openly gay man. [00:42:30] That's an interesting question. I mean, I remember Chris Chris Carter got elected. And then he came out as a guy. [00:42:38] When I was the media, [00:42:41] okay, they were careful about how they reported me that they would say that I had a guy that they said that I've helped to organize the Freedom Party. So we're kind of hinting at things but I didn't feel able to say anything to show we never put some literature that I was heavily gay, but we never denied it. And the press, certainly renters we articles where they probably hinted at it. The political parties were up against from the left and the right, we're certainly aware of it, and probably music on New Zealand First word as well. So I think the other part is that we were campaigning against were all using it to immoral or whispering one, without exception that we're using it. And the National Party, I think, would have won the seat. But the candidate he was discovered to have been having a relationship with a young [00:43:43] woman, which a video [00:43:45] and, and the video gotten to the possession of a librarian. And so and so he was promoted on to resign, or she did. Having a lot awaken Satan was replaced by somebody who did hardly any work, but came quite close to winning. And he was also guys, the National candidate was gay, as well as myself. And by golly, I get into secret about 32% of the vote. So it was very split. And there were two candidates is Gordon for the lions and landmark for New Zealand. First, he also got into parliament. So it's one of the first time MP election. So it was my I mean, we didn't we didn't, we didn't either promote or deny issues around sexuality. We just got on with it. And I think because it was crushed at Central, we were presumed to be likely to win. So there wasn't a lot of public focus on the seat. I was selected against the Arabs, because because I organized well, main hubs was the other candidate I was in there with. And so I was a bit of surprise when I got in, but was the lot of attention paid to me through the campaign by anyone by the labour leadership. For the local media, just kind of just get on with running a campaign, right? It was, we didn't we weren't that great at campaigning, we were still learning and we and it had a former prime minister Ben Leann in the seats, they haven't had to try that hard, but the two seats had combined so we had a baby cable seat and older supporters in who were always very supportive of me whether they sexuality issue, the same would have been problem never seemed to me. And then the inner city crashes and for with a very high turnover, membership, low young people and diversity. And it was really any of the first election that I started to recruit a bit of a guy, other color, that there were gay supporters who are who are still there now in large part. And never, I never went for time to get a really, really big lesbian and gay membership, anyone, any other community, we were probably renowned for it diversity. And it's always been one of the biggest elections, which is good. We have some organizing successes and some failures. I wasn't the most startling the effective MP, but we left a strong seat. And I think probably there, the legacy in terms of the political process would be the people who got involved to the parties and moving along employed in Parliament. And some of the case where we did locally, which was not just about having individual rent, which was about supporting communities. So we got quite a good political system going took probably six years to get it off the ground and working properly. But it was it got once it got really buzzing, it was a it was a great place to be it was a lot of [00:46:45] going into such a public arena, becoming a member of parliament. Did you consciously think at any time? What happens when somebody asks me about my sexuality? I mean, was that ever a conscious [00:46:58] thing? I mean, once I realized today, there was a there was an issue. And I'm not I'm not, I don't think I I'm pretty sure I didn't say anything immediately after getting elected saying, oh, wow, we've just selected a gay man to Parliament. And I think the press probably did report me as being gay straight afterwards, as a matter of fact. And because it was 96 election, and we had that long period, and Winston Peters was deciding what to do. And I didn't get do my maiden speech until about three months after elected, I think so it was this quite long gap when I was getting stuff together and getting things organized, and everything else. So that was a, that's an interesting period. And the getting the party organized. I started to define some of the issues I was going to work on around poverty [00:47:50] and heritage and [00:47:52] pretty mainstream stuff, I was a bit of an oddity in the caucus, because Helen really sort of focused on me being around or hadn't really got a job for me. So I was a bit of a kind of add on for the first period. And, and I didn't, I wasn't really looking for big job. So my one of the things I've done when I got selected was was trying to get selected as a way to handle the party members. And I gave them a survey about about the different levels of an MP and ask them to prioritize what they wanted. And they'd had two high profile MPs running with different Jeffrey [00:48:25] pan within the air. [00:48:27] And they were looking for somebody who was going to focus more on building up the lung capacity building up their office, providing services, the community and being seen as somebody who is a good local representative. And so I thought that was a deal I made when I went in. And I think I stuck to that right away through which is one of the reasons I never really focused on getting into cabinet and that sort of stuff in the way that some people thought I should. But that never seemed to me to be. [00:48:56] You didn't need to do that to be agile, [00:49:00] to work a perfectly satisfactory political career. So there was that kind of impressive beginning than it did my maiden speech in Parliament. And by then within the caucus when everyone knew I was guide, sort of from the beginning, it's just I'm gonna say part of the diversity. I mean type I came in with for labor I had three Murray MP something for for Mallory mp3 Park. Yeah, quite a lot of lost. So people came in in 93. lost again, it was a strange election, whether it is intake, and then this Exodus as well. But we're also leading in the polls, and almost right after that election was 99. So it was a period when, when we were clearly preparing for government and Helens leadership, which had been pretty sort of shaky and Rocky, for the first few years suddenly started to go on the rise. And I'm in my role in that period was pretty, pretty much in the background. I mean, I did, it was me, it was a bit of a fast development, I guess when I emigrated to the parliament. So I didn't want to overstep my extraordinary lack of head. So I am I was the Human Rights spokesperson. And that did become a bit of a campaigning issue later. I took on it wasn't something I'm planning to do. But I mean, it was pretty obvious when looking back on it, but the issue of sex work law had already been discussed around the edge. The edges of politics, I guess you could say including being the commitment in our manifesto to, to decriminalize soliciting. So that was that have been there, I think in the 90 and 93, manifestos and 96. And then Catherine O'Regan, the National MP who had been a minister was demoted and cabinet, she got ahold of me one day and said, we need to work on this issue. And the prostitutes collective on board and others one board as well. So we got this some, this is a team of us going to work on that. And so there was no theme to the three years. And I was an effective spokesperson, I was associated housing. And we were traveling quite a lot, not as a caucus, but as individual MPs around the country just in that lead up period to getting into government. So getting used to the team getting used to the people being known for being pretty hard working. Probably associated with a few kind of quiet, zany things, but certainly known to be somebody who wasn't afraid to push stuff if it was right. Having got a lot of friends in the caucus who are Mallory? I mean, I've always been close to Toyama through the years. So I was in a place where I was quite comfortable. In an institution, which has got its its failures and its negatives, but I never felt that a place like a good, good place to me. And then they had to travel back and forth, but easily to Christ Church. So I was in a comfortable space, I knew you were going into government. I didn't regard myself as somebody who would expect to be in the first Trump's or people as a minister. And, indeed, I got a much better role after 99, which was as the chair of the Justice Committee, which was did a whole lot of some of our more progressive reforms and fundamentally rewrote quite a lot of legislation and ran inquiries and did this stuff, which was good solid law making, and bridge building between the parties and building up a bit of a team of team of Labour MPs, it was like focused on issues of important and that's how we got the civil union bill to that committee. And prior to that, the prostitution reform bill was there for about three years. So that was took on that very intense workload. And I really parallel in my head to what some of the junior ministers are doing in terms of importance to the government and from be a lot more interesting gave me a lot more scope than the average Minister of Health, and lots of way so but but filled a lot of that time in the last three years was the senior whip and then parallel and all that was the law reform work that I [00:53:14] was doing. Comes please stay on to those in just a minute. But I'm just wondering, mid 90s, when you first come into parliament, this was only 10 years since homosexual law reform. So you've still got quite a number of MPs that were in the house at the time that law reform happened. And some of the debate empowerment was quite venomous. How were you treated when you first came into parliament by other other members in terms of the games I can remember john banks [00:53:47] who [00:53:50] he was doing radio the time though you still had been in Parliament, I guess before and after six and seven was the lower form time him you tapped me Raja closet long, purely because I was guy. And then he then some people's my electrodes, including part of members used to listen to radio Pacific and I rang up and said, well, you're not treating this guy fairly. And then he started to kind of talk me up a bit. Again, rather than talking to me directly. And then many times the swearing in of Parliament when the Governor General does a speech to the MP stop the three years. And then when you walk out afterwards, and later was on one side of the next run the other and as I came along the road to conduct war down the middle of Eliza Tom banks was going to be next to me. So he and I were talking for maybe a minute as we went through five, I said, I thought me I was like it was a good radio broadcaster and a good communicator. So I told him that and he responded, and he was that he was always kind of distant, but not disengaged. I remember making my other two speeches that were my sexuality was an issue was even made in space. And they were a few surprise looks from the other side. But they've had Chris Carter there before us they kind of knew what it was all about, I guess. I mean, there was there were comments made and debates that were negative Winston Peters used to have guys me occasionally he became better over the years. But he he spoke about working at Canvas fetch factory or something. I mean, it was all things will come back to me Malaysia made the destiny church to deal with but in terms of the internal institution, not a lot of there's a lot of the staff in Parliament are lesbian and gay. So they were always very supportive. And they can read what's going on below the call, because honestly, and completely supportive men and women. Even the ones who like Jeff Bray, Brooke, he were there for I think three or six years when I was a thing, guys, I mean, times move on. And none other even the ones from library voted against homosexual lower form, I don't think they felt a personal animosity to people in the gay community. I think they did. I mean, they, they might have done conceptually, but when it came to me as an individual, they were prepared to treat me as an individual [00:56:15] until they [00:56:17] am as a good person until they found out otherwise. And I don't think it gave them any, any basic material to dislike me. So we kind of got on fire. Absolutely. And I'm somebody who's always been able to get on with a range of people, and when [00:56:30] to let the issue go of it. [00:56:33] So I mean, when to push it. And I prefer to push things through legislation through conversations was accurate. I think that's quite, that's quite important. So kind of thing when I remember having a swipe at right around my time, who was neither a lot of New Zealand First time, please come in. When I came in. And he he, he said something really negative about the gay community in his speech, and I heard about him my maiden speech next day. And but most of my stuff was was bad issues in my electorate. And I sort of stopped the mainstream, but a bit because I was working on the prosecution law reform. And then lastly, so we end and I felt that I wanted the legacy where I could say, I worked for my community, but also worked my electorate, and which my party I and I wanted to tickle three other time I left, like a legacy was more was important to me, it always has been actually, always will be. And, and that's not legacy for me so much as being able to say that, because because of the way that I operated, people met each other things happened, things moved on, and that was, and that was good. To me. It's about benefit to other people selling books about making money or political prestige, or whatever. It's just about feeling some good. That's why the prosecution or form was so important, because it was a, in my head, fairly pure liberation piece of legislation hidden, hidden in various other ways. At the time, that's what it was. And it was transformational. So what union did have a data transformational edge to it, but I think the transformation was the lower form in in 8485, [00:58:27] rather than anything after that. [00:58:29] One is prostitution reform. Why this is important? [00:58:33] I think because it because it tackles a whole lot of fear and prejudice the lines deep in many people. I mean, I think, I mean, it was classic law. I mean, the criminalization was classic in the sense that it was the people who are marginalized by not only their agenda, but often by their sexuality, and by their race. So they mean, the people who were Criminal Lawyers were among the most marginal in our society and the most at risk through the work they did, and got my recognition and their support from the system. And that was that that most of the law had fed attitudes. But taking that criminalization away, I think profoundly affected their position in society. And that was most evidence by their relationship with the place which was really went through 180 degrees from being one where the police to them were the enemy. And, and to police, sex workers were not only criminals, were were as domains as they could be. And that turned a situation where the police and sex workers working together could solve crimes that could actually deal with a whole lot of stuff, which there was some prevented. So that was one just one evidence. But bigger than that, it was just about recognizing people's humanity was tackling some of the Miss mystification around sex. It was it was reversing this pretense that it's, first of all, that the law can ban people who want to be in a relationship together based on money or not. So regardless of gender, regardless of whatever else, if you're over it in, in New Zealand, and you want to have consensual sex with somebody else, and we have any country where that can happen regardless of the law, because every other country could have other countries to criminalize sex work, there was still one aspect to consensual sex for consenting adults over it, which is banned by the Little Italy bizarre, in my view. So, so happens, happens in laws kinds of data, in that sense, was very likely anti gay laws, it was actually the law trying to preach time to deny reality, the difference laws that the the laws around sex work were enforced a lot more than the rules around the gay community where they came, they came from quite a similar place. And I think it was those parallels and those links that I found fascinating. I remember doing a broadcast broadcaster BBC World Service many years ago. There has some questions. It was in London, some questions asked by listeners, and they want they've been in the next few times. So I was brought in to answer the question of why is the word gay being used by these people campaigning for law change, when it really means something colorful and innocent. And, of course, the word guy was actually first used in English in the early 1800s, to mean somebody mean sexual in between sexual activity outside the norm. So before it became used to being gay, that we have to hear the word now. But gay is in colorful and innocent family, whatever else, it was actually used to mean both people they were homosexual, but also sex workers, it was actually a unifying concept way back then. And then when we found out in the select committee, that the arrest rates for the profile of those arrested for prostitution offenses in Oakland, [01:02:24] over half mile Rio Pacific, nearly half for men. And that was because they were the transgender workers of the police were going for, and with the quality of the sex workers were going to argue back, please, rise vehemently. And said, The homophobia the police was actually bought out in the enforcement of the law around sex workers. So as I went through and saw those parallels, and it was a long way from Stonewall, I mean, I don't think they were a damn thing when I was at Stonewall as a sex worker would ever be mentioned. And this conversation with Ian McKellen and they traveling the world as he's done, he starts to get the parallels around the lower forms. But I mean, to me that understanding that relationship, and I never spoke about it much I wrote something recently for the sex workers in London, when they were being attacked by the gay community or something another, okay. Like a lobby over something that others wrote about as a gay man, how I see the parallels between the laws and the communities and, and the way in which the stuff was work through because sex work is overwhelming. In a in our society, women doing the work, it felt like a long way from a largely male dominated gay rights movement. Whereas in, in working in South Africa, the melding between the two was quite incredible. And fascinating. So, so I've had that really conceptually interesting, but not something I've ever talked about, or write about the great deal because it blew Nobody. Nobody would want to kind of understand the subtlety of it. Tomatoes very real. And, and I mean, I haven't been Buffalo's, before the law reform debate started after they finished. But while it was on, I went to a lot of problems, to talk to workers and understand what it was all about, and found it fascinating and interesting. led conservative national MPs into into brothels, and Christchurch to explain things to them. I thought that was over. Very different of what we're sending to this parliament, and I've gone away, and a lot of forms got through, it's not been easy to cement it and still into insert certain aspects of the law are still controversial. That really end of the street stuff, I think we've dealt with everything. Apart from that I think the street work remains dynamic, because Street, anything happening out in the street has got the dynamic edge to it. And it's really hard to control. But apart from Matt, and that's any initiative in some parts of the country, I think we've kind of receive a shift. And it was going to take many years for us to shift in the same way. But it's something is pretty fundamental. [01:05:09] If prostitution hasn't been decriminalized anywhere else in the world, how did you then convince New Zealand that actually that's the way to go? [01:05:18] By saying that many countries in Europe had very similar things, what we're going to do, which is technically true. So because I mean, in Germany and Netherlands, France, Spain, Portugal, they, they have aspects of legalization, which is basically where there's still a lot of state interested in what happens, and regulation, and zoning and registration and so on. But from the point of view of the public that would look quite similar to de Creme de creme is fundamentally different in the sense you're actually tackling the whole issue of criminality of individual. So basically, those countries and all of Australia, New South Wales, which we based on, and is the other place in the world is decriminalized. They basically said, well, we're going to the law has, the state has been interested in this area, and we're not going to treat it the same way as other occupations are treated. And we came to regulate and control for it. I mean, to me, really, for reasons of controlling those individuals, rather than for many reasons, a public health and public morals. So said why in Melbourne, you can't have a buffer with more than six rooms, and you have to have a certain kind of light by the bed. To seems to me this is kind of really odd thing to do. And YV sex work has to be registered, which means that half the sex workers in Utah aren't registered because they're on the streets or they are an unlisted brothel. So therefore, there are still sex workers who are trying to work whoever I team that are effectively labeled as criminals by the law. Well, nice New Zealand, no sex worker, just for being a sex worker is labeled as a criminal, even, even if you're 13, or 14 or 15, [01:07:09] Ameobi either [01:07:11] Child, Youth and Family have invested in you if you're between 15 and 18. And if your clients will be risking jail time, that you as a sex worker, not criminal. So So we've met since we've completely reversed the law, and it's much pure law here. It's not perfect. We have to compromise in a few places, but it is as good as mine is much better than anything else that exists and because certainly better than New South Wales. [01:07:41] What was it like sitting on this week in hearing submissions. [01:07:45] I mean, it's the committee I've chaired, but I wasn't allowed to chair that one. Because, because it was my bill. And so I saw I was in I mean, I just had to win the national MP is Tara and see Bradford an Irish just for the fight to get through there. I mean, I have to fight with my colleagues on the couch. And most of them trusted me to understand the issue. And it was complex issue. And we got good MPs landscape fabric on occasions, just to explain to people what is all about, and we because it was a member's bill got lowest priority. And we were dealing with really big stuff the Supreme Court, and victims rights and a whole lot of other sentencing legislation that massive government legislation. So it took two years ago through the committee's we kept kept popping up every time we ran into other business. And that was a problem. We just we just thought let it take as long as it's kind of time. And we we heard all the normal submissions from groups when they're many from regular organizations. But we agreed to travel. And we also agreed to hear sex workers in private. So the media and made it went to live to be there, which is a deal with a place that they were not. They were they would advise us the police were appointed as advisors to the committee, but they didn't try and sort of lobby in any way by the legislation. And they came out supporting it at the end anyway, which has a lot of internal debate about it. But to even kind of model, the kind of mobile group in the place, and those were more pragmatic, and so that there's certainly the sessions, listening to sex workers tell their stories was pretty amazing. Never, never harrowing. I don't think there's any attempt to try to hit the emotions, but try to understand the nature of the sex industry is really hard. I mean, it's layer on layer of complexity, me to understand why a client would want to pick a sex worker up off the street and have sex in their car, rather than walk into a brothel is what I mean, it's kind of, I still don't fully understand that stuff. And to be dealing with legislation wherever we have no submit some clients that all I have some correspondence but but the clients voices are silent, so half of the equation, and nothing to say whereas the other half I love to say and then the people who weren't involved at all, there's an awful lot to say, was quite strange. So that the sign them in the clients where the Bry they were the demand, they were the reasons why the industry existed and get their voice assignment and then started to piece together a pitch of climb. So it was much more complex. And the opposition pretended so men who had wives who had severe disabilities who had a sexually dysfunctional, very sterile relationship, who wanted some sexual outlet, [01:10:49] men who just couldn't emotionally hold down relationship [01:10:51] and they had a [01:10:53] disability and were unable to, to kind of form the physical link, etc, etc, people have been away from home for months working when it was more complicated. I mean, it was kind of recognizing that, that many human beings have a sexual edge, which needs to find expression. Obviously, very male, sort of main focused. And then in Africa, I found this whole bunch of male sex workers for him and you know, the clients are women. And so I didn't know the complexity of the whole thing. So, so Sundaram pizza and pick that and then the the racial dynamics on top for transgender workers. On top of that, there was a mayor brothel, opened up around the corner from parliament on the same block as parliament. And all that work is used to come along, there's any one of any two in the country, which is actually a brothel. And they were to seize his clothes on the night that the legislation has been debated, don't come and sit in the chamber, all sorts of twists and turns stories like that, but it was still a community. Well, not many sex workers were confident about coming into parliament and talking but luckily, through the process, we did develop quite a team that came to do that. And it was some of that one to one lobbying. And I guess that goes back to my Stonewall days, some of that one to one lobbying, matching mean, notably the Samoan sex work of a match with Wendy live and to talk to her when he finally finally got it. Got it. I mean, some of my colleagues voted for legislation never quite got it. Some got it. But Reza got a domain, understanding enough about why people use the industry, the nature of it, the extent to which a lot of the oppressions were tied up in the sex industry in dealing with the dealing into the way we wanted to do it was kind of fundamentally as almost radical. I mean, certainly in Hollywood progressive, this legislation. Now many of my colleagues became less interested by it, a lot of them just said, Oh, it's Tim's thing. We supported within our Manifesto, we will do it. But we did try and get those MP to understand enough to bed responded to, to mail and so forth. And also we had to we lost some Labour MPs, we had to get a piece from the partners to come on board with the way it became a very tight piece of political management, to say the least, [01:13:23] Georgina bias involvement. [01:13:26] Oh, I mean, to be blunt, it was sort of massively helpful and damaging some of the time. I mean, she came out against the legislation, I think five weeks out from being voted on. And then she voted for it and then just come out against it again. So it's [01:13:42] good. It's great. And what why did you come out against it? Initially? [01:13:48] Oh, that was I think it was clever. When I was a bit of a bit of Georgina, who often likes to kind of challenge. So Kevin, two things don't expect. But the other side, I'm here with quite cards for me to the two years at the beginning, the legislation went through that first reading, went through at seven to 12 or 14 or something and it was overwhelming. Then he went to the select committee. And when it came out to the Select Committee, which would have been towards the end of 2002. [01:14:26] Right, [01:14:27] so it must have been just oh, yeah, the election was earlier that year. So yeah. So it came out after the election, which was in about September. So the next day was 64, to 56, where it was a more conservative parliament. And we realized that they was on it was only really then, that this really powerful lobby started against it called maximum, maximum Institute. And we fought them on that, and we fought them on there. So union Bell, and they were very well funded. And they were on occasions by clever, very clever mathematician enough. I get a lot of media, so they became the alternative media voice to us. And the whatever, Melissa, folly, and she was an extraordinary figure still is she was a psychologist who claimed to have endless studies, and just left us off when I was lesbian. And she came over for a few days to New Zealand paid for my maximum she met a whole lot of employees, including me, and heavy with her period purpose was to just shift a few MPs against the law reform. And she did that by claiming to have incontrovertible research evidence that sex workers were victim of past traumatic stress disorder that are mainly victims of sexual abuse, and weren't in control of their own behaviors efficiently. And she, she conducted some astonishing New Zealand research, she interviewed a handful of sex workers and declared that exactly the same condition existed here. Certainly, first of all, a few people and she certainly for Georgina, who came out in the media afterwards saying that she was man on the supporting legislation because this conversation and brought up a lot of the trauma that she and I remembered from experience. So I took a deep sigh and started on the job of trying to bring it back around. And which we did mention it was also a conversation between Tom key and Helen Clark, because Helen was happy to talk about her experience as a health minister when she got her to get the prostitutes collective funded. That was the under that kind of key starring moves it as you can see in the the collective to their own voice and their own financial base and be able to look at the environment in the context in which they weren't. So hello, hello to have the talk about her view based on that to MPC were undecided and drama key became known as Mr. Flip Flop, by with prostitutes collective because he kept changing his mind so much on the issue. I mean, intellectually, kinda got it. But then every time a conservative church group in his electorate, called him in, he would get very worried about it. So I engineer that conversation between the two of them. That was interesting. So to get what happened afterwards. And then so so we went through this extraordinary sort of intense process of months and months and months. And ask it, it was investing in the I mean, it affected my I think by 55 election, my my personal vote was never massively high [01:17:59] in the electorate. I mean, my [01:18:00] went up from 32% 57 or 60, but it and we focus lastly on the party vote, which is we finally got it right in terms of understanding the campaigning methods. And but I've had I'm sure there were people who didn't vote for me because I thought I was oddly obsessed by this thing that meant nothing to most people. [01:18:23] That didn't matter that much. I [01:18:26] was I was I was doing good work elsewhere and it wasn't affecting my ability to be a good representative, I'd recommend it would be enough of a national policy in [01:18:36] the nine have stood. [01:18:40] They stood family focused conservative candidates against Georgina and Christina using the same it was it was the same language on the billboards which was clearly push the dollars I got Tom stringer I got against me is [01:18:58] somewhat somewhat crazy, [01:19:02] obsessive sort of, disliked by the National Party, obsessive Christian, conservative, who thought that, that he was the man chosen by God to debate this either. sex worker loving homosexual socialist MP ran this very, very eccentric campaign and the press today credit, decided that this was the most interesting fight in time. So they gave a lot of rich times during his eccentric activity. They used to put a no good way to get the message. He had a car with a trailer, and literally loads of stuff cheap. And he spent his whole campaign putting this stuff super laminated client. That message some I got lost. And he, his base, outrageous thing he did was the opening of the midwives Center, the National with the national organization with National College, made wise they had the national headquarters and crashed. They opened it during the election campaign. And they invited myself and other MPs along, and Helen Clark came to open it. And the man Gary Moore was there. And because john hadn't been invited, he decided that he would do one man protest outside and he got, he was there in his car with a seat stuff sheet behind me, because a megaphone, and he, and there's this when the Murray priest was doing the blessing is screaming other TV cameras with the mayor went out and berated him. And it was messy. So the press the press loved it, he did it. He did a public meeting in the square and he got one person coming back, he was white great shoes, Deputy Prime Minister at the time, and the press cover that as well with people hurting himself. So he became a very it was a great as a very entertaining campaign. And but that that have to push up my majority. But the point I was making was about the fact that they openly gay or to openly gay candidates, the gender candidates, the time where we seem to be the ones who predict the vulnerable National Party, which I don't think we were because we were all actually very focused on our electorate. So then we knew that there was a risk that would be seen as single issue, and superficial and somehow not of the community. So Georgina, through America work and then her work as an MP and Chris in West Oakland, where we did a lot to be really mainstream representatives, but planning it out. It was just some gut feeling that was having to sort of handle the issues. And I think grant does exactly the same now and in Washington Central. And the way he operates is an important to do that. [01:21:40] Help the media react to prosecution reform with a with a for a did they take science, or was it pretty balanced? [01:21:50] I think [01:21:52] I think probably a civil union them the media were sort of 80% in favor, I think the prostitution reform, they were uncertain. They the issues are complex. The Press used to get hysterical from time to time, over Andrew six figures and numbers and we'd have this ongoing argument. And we'd bring in people who have counted the numbers and then deny the truth of it. And then we're pendula. They never really got it. But they most of the media did, unbalanced recommend accepting the lower form when it came to the editorials. And because of the subtleties and the difference between criminalization and and legalization is quite, when you were involved a lot, it's kind of obvious, but it's kind of difficult when you're a journalist trying to write up something quick, quickly in one evening. So they they didn't put them off writing it out. But they liked the stories they'd like access to individual sex workers talk about the reality of their lives that they found some of the victory over the other side of it offensive. And so they came to I conclusions. There are a lot of women involved in media, majority women, and they tend to to understand the issues more. And some of them were really excited. Some of the younger term, the single men and the women journalists were quite amazed that we were embarking on this adventure, never thought it would get through most of them predicted it was going to lose. And then last week, my colleagues were convinced they're going to be on the losing side until the event. So the media were on that. I mean, there was hardly any public events, there were no, I never went to a public meeting about the issue. That whereas the union got got a few people going, because it was, it was a bit of a mystery to lots of even a lot of the church groups [01:23:44] couldn't really get their head around what we're trying to do that [01:23:47] there's some I thought it was wrong, but they didn't want to get going here. It was just too yucky. Whereas they prepared to preach about homosexuality, but the sex book stuff was just a bit too messy. Whether we're strong voices are replaced by hunters corner in South Oakland, where there was a strong commercial concern, a lot of a lot of the brothel owners were against Law Reform because their economic interest ought to be under some threat. Because that was really, the way that we designed the model was not only to incentivize going off the street and to brothels, but also to incentivize leaving brothels and becoming self managing workers. So they were constantly toward toward Was this the safest environment was a bunch of sex workers, collectively, renting a flat for this established clean towel, probably mainly working nine to five. And that was low impact on the community, it was pretty safe for them. regular income and there wasn't somebody operating views of employment practices. So the the lowest medicated and Phaedra bat and of course, that's quite threatening to profit was violated many of whom still, I suspect, get their profits through teaching workers and reasonably so. So the established industry was against it. And that actually encouraged some people to support us because they do a lot of what we were saying that they they saw the really nasty people posing and so good, good to me when something is illegal. Within the paper get involved, [01:25:22] often pretty colorful [01:25:25] characters. mean a few of them try to invigorate me. I mean, I'm not physically just just attack attack me. For those they were. They couldn't be that public, because they were also offering legally so. So it was a kind of a silent, there's another irony of the whole thing, you have this bunch of people making a lot of money out of the sex where he couldn't actually speak out for fear that the activities would be. So it was quite helpful have been quiet. Very fascinating, very complex. [01:25:53] In that last week, before the final vote, did you think it would go through? [01:26:00] I decided that the it was impossible to manage, manage the result, but I just had to manage individuals. And then if we got enough, we're okay. So I had a number of formula in my head about what, how we'd actually get there. And I think going into the debate, there were five people who hadn't made up their mind. So it wasn't entirely sure about said when he was one locker, Smith was one. [01:26:29] Heaven, rowing was fun. [01:26:33] And then I wanted to I think Roger siree voted the other way. And so I knew I needed four out of four out of those five to get it. Then I knew that one person was asked if I was going to abstain, so that no one else knew that. So and I'm pretty sure that when he was going to vote with us, so Andy Reid passed away so. So the it came down to Heather rowing, in my view, they have ROI was going to be cyber get there. And I when I made sure that when he spoke last, and when she spoke, she gave quite a lot of her explanation to the kind of arguments that would appear. So then we went into the lobby for the band, and the numbers and we got to, we got to we need to so we knew we need to 60 because we knew those numbers. And we got to 57 metal proxies and people peered into my lab was standing by me and Ruth Tyson, both of them have been very involved in homosexual, Laura for men they got they got the link. And they were kind of wondering because they knew would never last one of these big ones. He's lazy votes are being lost at first reading. But apart from that, these big debates when they get to the final stage, I've always tempted to go through and we got to 58. And then we then locksmiths appeared 59 then have the ROI pay 57 the market here hit 58 and the ROI. It was 59. And then knowing the period, and they were bringing the balance for the end of it. And I looked at the list and we realized that Deborah Covington was in was in Cambridge at the time doing a conscious media scholarship. So she was off for three months, but had the boy had a proxy and she forgot to give it to us. So we had to go back or someone had to go back in and gets it. And sure enough, she had it and bought it through. And that was it sort of 60 and we knew because it was a 60 or would have lost but we knew that was the extension. So we were back in and the gallery was full of I mean really it was people from both sides of that stage of the whole thing that I thought was not fair to look excited. I just looked very kind of calm and then committed. And Georgina mitosis that next week, because she was on sad again. So she could be photographed out which is negative and stuff. And and then and then it was a long delay because the other side of ground cast and recounted, they couldn't believe what happened. So eventually, and of course, they said, he said 60 votes in favor and there's this kind of grotto in extreme Florida that case is 60 votes against and it's lost. And then it's 59 against one of the stench. [01:29:26] And then I said to the media, it's a we're the first country in the world. I didn't say to them. [01:29:32] It was very it was it was it was kind of surreal evening, I mean went off to the boutique about I think they put on a do. And Catherine Haley and last the collective came along and Helen Clark rang and rang up to talk to Catherine Austin told that story in South Africa, about how the prime minister who was a woman rang at the end of the prostitutes claim to win the vote went through this, the fact that would happen was was kind of an extraordinary story about New Zealand. And by the way, real friend. [01:30:02] So if you personally, what did it mean having something like this little day three? [01:30:08] Oh, I mean, it was it was immensely satisfying that the process that we'd run against the arms, given that we we always knew we were doing something pretty out there. So running the game car had had delivered in that delivered with a time to split margins. We didn't, it was, and it was a loan to lock when we're down to one or two folks, there's all sorts of factors come in, you can't control. But the fact that we got it through satisfying I thought it was may not my is passive persuasion an organization thinking probably I was, I was known as a well organized MP rather than a particularly persuasive one. But the organization levels and knowing how to get the arguments out and how to matter by me it was a run from my office when they will campaign headquarters was the prostitutes collective would would probably say it was run from their offices to an extent but the lobby moment, I told me to love it. So I was going to them saying I think these people in the lobby is lying here, the arguments and they would bring the people in to do it was kind of working hand in hand. But the kind of the media stuff and the website, everything else was all running from, from my office and staff and volunteers and this extraordinary eclectic bunch of people just totally committed to getting it through. So so that experience and the field, it was all for good purposes. Good. I think I don't think until I went to South Africa. And were there did I realize just the importance of what we've done just how significant it was. And started to hear in like the corners of Africa, people talk about the New Zealand model of law reform, I realized that we'd actually created something that international relevance, we were referring lots of people to the Justice website, look at the research and the evaluation done on the law reform after five years. So all that same mean that that that took time to sink in it had to go I mean, I in that in that area, it's probably not so relevant now is in 18 months ago, but somebody who's seen this I like I said, I'm a global expert on Angel, the issue. So I'm also sex worker, and that, that in itself is complex. There's been a lot of somebody who's straight, sort of championing gay rights balloon fan, do that here. But increasingly, you'd expect people from the queer community is be those leading leading love wasn't. And that means back to me, but I'm an oddity, me, Georgina fronting it would probably have been as an ex sex worker, and a woman would have been a bit simpler, but she probably wouldn't have been there to kind of manage the political complexity as it was we work hand in hand from when we disagree, which is quite often. Hello, welcome up from other partners, I found that quite liberating, quite refreshing. So Catherine rich, and then that's Maurice Williamson, who've been involved right from the beginning on that issue and understood as a libertarian really came from different point of view, Rodney hide, act, we're generally in favor of a kind of moral wing of act two against but the core of the rebellion, Rodney were not just in favor, but passionately in favor, he thought his most incredible piece of libertarian legislation diversity. So I had to try and handle the fact that you have these passionate supporters here within the opposed to us and many other areas. have invited to the world libertarian assembly and writer with people from all over the world can Douglas Douglas, and his captors in the states to talk about this law reform and how this this socialist guy could have done this stuff, and which is liberating legislation. interesting experience. So I enjoy that I find the door quite quickly and interesting. And some of the, the powerful images which which came to the whole experience, I mean, with bunches of conservative MPs, and dungeons and, and Madame flaps and Sydney [01:34:24] and Melbourne and another [01:34:27] incredible human experiences. But even the MPs voted against to got very involved in Berlin, but still voted against, they kind of understood that there was an issue there. And what we were doing had validity to it. It wasn't just as a new approach. And [01:34:41] so I mean, it was [01:34:42] kind of tested out of the whole, lots of the things that I thought were pretty amazing about our democracy. And they kept touch on cameras on it. And it gave me a sort of sense that there was a project there in political terms was mine. And then Catherine Haley, on the NGO side, from everybody interview, famous were driving this extraordinary thing that was quite special. [01:35:08] To this is the second interview we've done about your time in Parliament, and specifically around to large pieces of legislation, the prostitution of reform, but when the Soviet Union, but I'm just wondering if we can briefly look at the prostitution reform, though one more time. And I mean, it was interesting for me that it was introduced in 2000. And then it passes third and final reading in 2003. Is that a long time in parliamentary tombs and and how to kind of keep the momentum going? [01:35:42] Well, yeah, it probably is a long time for a little piece of legislation. I mean, there was a technical reason, which was that it went to a very busy committee that justice and Law Reform, and I wanted, sorry, justice, and electro as it was then, and I wanted that to happen, because I I was on that committee. And because it was a piece of human rights based law reform, rather than being around health or employment had all those aspects. But it was a fundamental reform. And, and that committee is very busy. And under parliamentary rules, a member's bill takes lowest priorities every time it seemed to rise to the surface, and we had a few hearings, and then some other piece of legislation would arrive with us which we had to deal with so. And the other issue, which which made our journey on the law reform, by different side to New South Wales was that they'd had an inquiry Royal Commission, which recommended things which that Parliament then put into effect, we've had none of that we had a recommendation from sex workers. But that wasn't something which, which Parliament had any duty to look at. So we had to go back to basics to work through the issues. And because there was a lot of pressure from the justice ministry, and the KYC, for the Minister for a legalization model, which means government has more power. And that means that sex workers is regarded as separate to other forms of activity and is, has a different relationship with the state. And we were very, very determined to keep it the current model. And that involved quite a lot of behind the scenes discussion, and quite a lot of caution when officials came to the committee. So Sue Bradford, and it was really soon IE we're doing that driving through the committee really felt just let this one take the time with an election, the middle of the process, and more conservative parliament and particularly, the United future group of fundamentalists appeared at that time, and they were quickly determined to try and kill the legislation they possibly could. So it, there was a lot of political dynamics around it. But luckily, the committee had enough of a head of steam, just keep going on the issues [01:37:58] right through. Can you tell me the difference between legalization in decriminalization, [01:38:04] decriminalization means that the only law relating to the activity is law, which is around the harm created. So the legislation is about being the client of a sex work age under 18 is an offense being a being running a brothel when there's no one with a license. And the license is a fairly low level intervention now, but there's legislation to make sure that if that happens, that the police have a right to go in if they think there's good reason to believe that's the case. And the legislation around health and safety and around employment, right. So basically, the law is about protecting sex workers from harm, whereas legalization involves creating a machinery around it. So in a state of Victoria, which is legalized, there is a prostitution board, and they've registered sex workers and the sex workers won't register, then they are deemed to be criminal. And they don't allow street works. Therefore, any street sex worker in surgery tourists, is automatically breaking the law. And we were trying to reach a situation where consensual sex between a sex worker and the client was was automatically legal if there was consent. And if we're both aged, every team, and obviously if there was no sense of coalition, and we achieve that, whereas in New South Wales was might be many situations where there's consent, but it is illegal because the sex work is deemed to be illegal by that. So it's quite as a spectrum within that. So that in I can Amsterdam, there are, there are zones. And in the zones, it's basically about decriminalised amounts of exams is not but we've achieved up to me, is there any sensible pace for the law, but explaining that to people wasn't easy that it took us most of the time the law reform was going through to come up with a language to, to kind of describe it properly. [01:40:16] Can you give me some examples of how you would describe it, say to the media, so so that journalists would get [01:40:26] and we can never find a very brief way of doing something? And I would say we, I mean, my brief, my brief terminology would be kind of summary of what I just said. So BD cream is saying is having the law has no moral judgment about prostitution, and that the only laws that are relevant to have to protect the public or sex workers from whereas legalization creates special law around sex work, which includes the state trying to control sex workers in ways which are not reasonable. So it goes beyond trying to goes beyond legislation around real harm, it's under state control of sex workers. And then if you go beyond legalization to get to criminalization. So legalization is like a halfway measure. You said we don't like it, we'll let it sink as light in but not the whole thing. Whereas de creme is in that sense, quite fundamentally different. [01:41:37] With many campaigns, they take it right down to a personal level. So they'll present individual people and their stories to try and sway public opinion. Was that something that that you tried in this campaign? [01:41:50] better if I mean, there weren't that many people happy to go public. I mean, they certainly, I think, as I said before, people, sex workers and former sex workers prepare to go to the parliamentary committee either in a public session or private session and talk about their experiences. And there were brothels, happy to let the committee visit them and talk about whatever and prostitutes collective as we travel the country organized discussion groups or sex workers to meet members of the committee. And that's pretty unusual for parliamentary committee to do that. But I mean, that's this part of our system, that we have fairly broad boundaries when the committee is able to do but in terms of people prepared to go fully public with their stories, not that many, actually, the most that happened was around groups of sex workers talking to MPs, there was quite a concerted attempt to match MPs with sex workers who either had similar members from the same communities as them geographic communities, or sexuality or whatever. And, and that was that that was pretty crucial fighting MMA to employees. But in terms of the wider store is really a contrast civil union where there were many couples, not only sort of keeping but insistent, coming forward. Because I guess, I guess there is always a stigma around sex work, certainly not been removed by the by the law reform, and it's pretty deep and real. And part of the law reform, prosecution law reform is to allow sex workers to get on with their lives beyond sex work is actually it's a law reform, which incentivize it, which clears some of the barriers to people leaving sex work, bit contrary to what the what the opponent's argued, I mean, they other logically argued it was okay, that you can criminalize somebody, and that was somehow enable them to leave, because it doesn't mean that should traps them into the activity, how I think there's still a few years off anyone, how many people being prepared to put on a CV that they've done sex work for a period, there will be a be a breakthrough in terms of just accepting reality, when we do that. [01:44:06] What were some of the main arguments for and against the legislation, [01:44:11] or the arguments for where you accept the reality and that you you guard against the harm. And as I said, most of the harms, I think, were to sex workers. I mean, some of the public harms would include invasive signage, or behavior on the streets that was beyond the norm, which was, can be dealt with by other legislation. And then the obvious harms the sex workers, that'll be them, I mean, we have a duty of care to people in our society, we've, we've, that that group is alienated from society, they're regarded as criminal. They earn money they but but generally, they earned it illegally because to legalize, that would be too difficult. So so we have a group apart, and yet the relationship between sex workers and police in terms of exchange of information, not just around sex workers who were victims, but a lot of the world's which sex workers will often be aware of. So it was about normalizing relationships in society and protecting a wonderful group. However, the argument to favor the arguments against were that it was a fairly and tried approach. So there had been sort of tried in New South Wales, that we were going to unleash offensive behavior on wider society, and that we would normalize sex work as an acceptable occupation. And often that was combined with the argument that sex workers were innately damaged people, either before they went into sex work or damaged by sex work, the point that they were not able to make rational decisions for themselves. So the state had to effectively make decisions for them. And, and that criminalization was unnecessary incentive to get all right. [01:46:03] This was a conscience vote. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, do conscience votes work? [01:46:09] I think probably, because people are able to be upfront and honest about it. And every conversation mattered. And I wouldn't want to do it for too many issues. But I think, every every year or two in Parliament, it's quite good to have a debate that goes beyond the party blocks and actually looks at the individual views on the issue. I think it's, it can be taken too far. Because I think a lot of the A lot of what we do within parliament is necessarily value based. And it's ideological, and and parties take positions for good, good, solid reasons. Certainly, that's, that's at all a problem. But I guess the risk of it is that often issues have a lot of emotion attached to them. And we managed to suppress that while the select committee was happening. And we built up a bit of a body of evidence. But as the vaccine proved afterwards, that wasn't necessarily enough to counteract some of the emotion that was rushing [01:47:05] around. [01:47:07] And I think probably it's better to have a conscience vote following a an inquiry or a more independent look at the issue, whether it be law commission or public inquiry. I think that's the way that the the debate on drug law reform is going and that's one of the Latin euthanasia. And maybe revisiting abortion law, probably the big conscience issues that are left to the man was a revisiting, it's me, I mean, to shift abortion to being a health issue and not a criminal law issue. So really, kind of paradigm shift, and ensuring ease of access to services, which isn't there now. So. So those are probably where the current the current issues of it, think bubble up. I mean, euthanasia, it hasn't been a debate, maybe actively for more than 20 years, in 20 years time, the maybe other debates, the same debates, right, animal rights, animal welfare, that kind of get into some of the moral areas as well. [01:48:04] So who decides whether it's a party vocal confrontation, [01:48:08] formerly the speaker, but then each party can decide whether or not they want to have a formal week. So the greens traditionally come up with a group view on the issue. We have this recent case, with the sky city deal, whether it was because it was related to gambling. And it was about watering down some the gambling laws, it was a conscience vote on that. But it was pretty, I mean, the issue becomes politicized, that it was treated along party lines. And I think one of the necessary skills and the confidence vote is having the right MP, to lead it, I guess. And Michelle, a number of us could have done it, but somebody who is not regarded as been to partisan by other partners, and somebody who can work with people from across the political spectrum, that's pretty, pretty important stuff. And, and that the each of those confidence issues can be presented differently to different people, so that for the right of the libertarian writer, the National Party in Act, it's about getting the state out of people's lives. And, and a lot of those issues, you can actually say the state interferes too much, whether it's providing drugs, or whether it's trying to control whether people can, can can can suicide or can assist others to suicide. So this is about the role of the state and society. And it's actually where I'd argue that the kind of libertarian heads of labor and the libertarian right form this art, not quite a pact, but it's better. Rather than being a spectrum. It's almost like a circle. And so I found the easiest conversations around prostitution door format, so my own party and the greens would have been with that group, that group and some of the [01:50:00] National NP [01:50:00] so it's an interesting is it is it's fun stuff in Parliament, because it does go beyond the political barriers, which can get quite, quite tiring on occasions, as you can imagine. [01:50:12] It finally passes through reading, I think, on the 25th of June 2000. In three following that you hit organizations like the maximum is to choose petitioning to kind of reverse the law. Can you talk to me about that, [01:50:31] oh, I still want me to start a process going on. And people have learned after 10 years that time to undermine aspects of it. And we knew there was a danger that bigger because it's so easy, it's kind of lies around sex work, because there's so many mysteries in it. And it's such a lack of tangible research and lack of data, lack of evidence in some [01:50:51] areas, you could argue [01:50:52] you have to kind of work some of the solutions are by serious the supposition is rather than necessarily having the house knowledge, we were well aware, when the law went through, if it went through, that opponents would continue to tell lies about it. And that could be undermining. So we, we amended the legislation before it went through to allow the review committee to report after five years. So that was that was in place, and I reported in 2008. And I think would have been good. Maybe one regret, would be that it would have been better to have some kind of ongoing review, because I think now that would be more interesting findings. [01:51:37] After that period, I think [01:51:39] it needs looking at and there was government money released to research the impact to the law reform, whereas now there's no obligation to do it is kind of just sit there, I imagine. And so then in the middle of that five, first five years, there was an attempt to get a citizen's initiative referendum on the show that failed fairly, fairly. Overwhelmingly, as we found out with it, asset sales petition recently takes it takes a very big effort to get get the numbers needed to do that process, they were nowhere near it. And then you're not a future in their 2005 coalition agreement. They insisted on a further review. So that was also happening at the same time as the official review committee. So that was a review of the effect of the law. And the thing that process, it kind of it sort of reduced recommendations at the end, but it was, it was, I mean, it was so far, we've done what we've always done in New Zealand, having made these fairly bold steps in terms of social reform, we haven't gone backwards. And it's been generally the case and all the issues that we haven't gone backwards. I think this one is by its nature. And by the i think i think the deep ingrained effect of criminalization on sex worker behavior, and and public attitudes and and client behavior actually means that changes take longer. And that was one of the conclusions from the five year review that, that this is a 25 year process of change. And so we're really only at the early stages of seeing some of that happen, in certainly been a normalization of the relationship between the police and sex workers. And I don't think the police would want to return to having to do actors, agents for parts of society that don't want to think about sex work in arresting and harassing sex workers. I think that's a paradigm shift, which I'm be surprised to see with us, I think the public health and other government agencies who often didn't, in my view, sufficiently deliver their duty of care to sex workers and regarding them with groups that they didn't have to do with I think there's now there's a much greater acceptance that they are part of vida society. And I don't think we've seen adequate improvements in employment conditions in brothels. But I think we have seen a growth in the self managed sex worker arrangements, which get away from some of those abusive employment, relationships. And one of the weaknesses in the law reform was that immigration, were given powers to to write profit was effectively if they thought there were workers who were breaking their immigration conditions, and where the people who were working as sex workers, which the legislation prevented for those who were migrating in. So if you migrate to New Zealand, you can't use sex work, experience or skills as a reason to migrate. And therefore, if somebody came in as a student or on a workforce, that was another occupation, they found to be doing sex, economic, I'm packing it all. I'm alive with deportation, the way the law is worded around that, I think is probably a bit too overt. And is given the immigration bit too much bad to create an ongoing temps relationship with sex workers, so that that's just the way it is. And I don't think it's likely that there's going to be a target for the law in the near future. So so there's there's been ongoing kind of caution around some of those areas. So it's not perfect legislation, I give it putting it as a 10. given them as the world is languishing on day one and two, and it's, it's it's out there, I think New South Wales is maybe about six out of 10. On a good day. So [01:55:41] in the last couple of years, there have been media stories about various councils, trying to bring in local regulations in terms of we're, prostitution can happen. Do you have any thoughts about about that? [01:55:55] I mean, I think that in my head, that's part of the attempt stronger mama legislation, although I don't deny the lived experience of people in some communities who are feeling a little embarrassed or upset by the behavior of sex workers. But I think the solution to that is around the law reform opens up is to actually get a negotiation between sex workers in the community and the police and council and other NGOs who are involved actually sit down and say, Is there a problem? What can we do about it, and not to create a situation as in the proposed America bill, which is now the Oakland city building, and which would essentially criminalize 50, people of whom I think they're all women, and 47, or 48, mobile, your Pacific, and all of them are pretty marginal, in society and living on compared to the low income. So I'm not sure that that legislation has pointed Zantac, she has much place in our society. And it has to be the case that if there are, if there's a nuisance in an area, the solution is not just to point to those people and say, You're breaking the law, but to actually look at what's going on and come up with a solution in terms of where people do it, and how they do it. And if there's some kind of a chord or way of having some influence on their behavior that that people buy into. And we're still too many in this society to think of the answer to everything is to make it illegal, and that place with some idea with it, but they're not interested in doing. So ongoing tensions, including cross church, whether it's similar, similar pressure, [01:57:37] shortly after the prostitution reform bill was passed, we also had another quite large piece of social change, which was the civil union, but introduced, what was the feeling within the government at the time of these quite major social changes of what. [01:57:57] But I guess the civil union, it came from a different place. I mean, it was really us responding to what we're seeing around the world, rather than coming up with our own solution. Because there were movements in a few countries to create some kind of legal status, same sex couples, not initially really around marriage, but around registration, someone in Scandinavia, and then it started to spread out a bit. And as a spread out, the model was became a bit stronger and a bit closer to something you could call equality. So that was happening, I don't think it was a conversation I had with Helen Clark, back in about 2001 or two, which was about looking at models of law reform in that area. And it ended up in a manifest in arrested in 2002 elections, I think it's sort of 2001 to two, I was asked to sort of go away and do some consultation with the same sex communities about what what model was appropriate, set up a little working, working party of people from member labor and the wider community, we looked at different models, when including the issue of whether you just say marriage is the only acceptable model and we will set nothing else. So whether you come up with some new sequel we came up with, with a concept, which I still think have some intellectual rigor, attached to hint, which was something which was legally, absolutely equal to marriage. And yet, it wasn't called marriage, it was separate in marriage. And that's responded to the voice of many that time in the queer community is saying, we were not after marriage, we're after the protections, we don't want to think of marriage. And then maybe that was partly because then we thought it was ever possible. And it was born of pragmatism. And then the second thing, which I don't think any other country did properly, but we got a long way towards a separate piece of legislation, which was basically tidying up all the law. So that way the law mentions marriage, it also mentioned civil union. So we, we did that idea, which got a lot more support in Parliament. And yes, in some some ways, there's more radical, because he was delivering what the Human Rights Act says, we can't discriminate on the basis of relationship status. So we now have that principle apply to New Zealand law, which is, and that was Leon does LM particular, he was he was sort of rigorous about that. And it led to a lot of delays and getting the health project off the ground. But it was me looking back on it, I think it was conceptually very powerful, because it embedded civil union in a broader human rights principle, that we shouldn't discriminate on the basis of whatever relationship people were in a winter, obviously. And so so we took time to sort of get that legislation underway, and then then particular model of civil union, because the one mean that the inequality built into it part from the conceptual inequality that you can't get married. But the legal package was was was identical, it wasn't identical, it was absolutely the same, but with a different. So adoption was the only area left to add to that. And arguably, it's not necessarily included in marriage equality. Now. I mean, still look at this the ongoing debate area, even though so and so that was what that was what the debate was about. So what we did in the 2002 election, that our manifesto included a commitment to introduce civil union legislation, but for the free vote [02:01:48] abandonment rate, the competence fund, [02:01:51] and that was, so I think it came from a good place in terms of starting to tackle that issue, but also dealing with prostitution or for I think it was, I think for many people, it was quite a fraught combination of issues. I mean, generally got the same sort of people in our caucus supporting both. Probably civil union was seen as a bit more mainstream. But they also came after prostitution reforms that people were a bit kind of jaded by that the opposition to civil union was more organized. But I think intellectually had a weaker base. And so I don't think it had massive effect on people. in Parliament, there were some strange opponents, including many who were born again, supporters of marriage equality. So coming back to that debate in New Zealand, I've been away for a while this [02:02:45] revelation, really to [02:02:47] see people who voted for homosexual law reform and then voted against civil union, but thought marriage was wonderful, including the bizarre Joseph Collins who said that, during the civil union debate, she voted against civil union posts such as any vote for equality, and nothing else. And then she did to accredit this. So then voted for, for marriage equality, but I mean, the lottery, the argument should use ransomware union where we're homophobic in my view, so it was kind of nonsense. poll, poll led support my view, and the fact that Obama came out and around the world that was clearly a bigger movement happening. It was the ninth country to get the marriage equality stuff through. And we were the first country outside of Europe to legislate for equal status for same sex relationships, which essentially, is what, that's all you need. So I think we probably I mean, I think we have the tougher fight on that, compared to the marriage equality debate. And it was, as your question some minutes ago, suggested, and it was it came with a slightly difficult political time, because it was leading into the 2000. To election, which was a fairly easy, that was where the commitment was, and then the vote was 2004. So letting that believe in 2005 election, which was a lot tougher for labor, were in the last week, we looked like we were going to lose. So it was a difficult political time. And it fed into that sense that this government says six years, and they're doing things which are not popular, and labor that was about minorities and all that all that stuff, which which progressive political groupings always get, because we're concerned with it was right. [02:04:33] Can you talk for a few minutes about some of the opposition to the civil unions bill and mounting of places organizations like destiny church, and what kind of a fit they're very public opposition in on you. [02:04:50] But the maxim Institute really got going towards the end of the prosecution reform legislation, and they played a fairly significant role around the intellectual opposition to civil union, but so much, so I chaired the select committee that that was the union vote, which led to attacks on me being biased, obviously, and they were only allowed to organization, three organizations to have like half an hour each in front of the committee's and one was Maxim, against the legislation, one was a campaign for civil unions. And then they had the Human Rights Commission, to give a kind of more, I guess, more sort of rights based legal approach to the whole thing. So apart from that, we just had a lot of individuals doing five minutes each, and then five minutes of questions. And that went on for many hours, we had 200 or 300 people all together in that format. And so the opposition where the opposition in front of the committee was, was measured and careful, I think the individuals or the churches particularly, and a few NGOs came out against were often remnants of opponents from homosexual law reform. They were generally measured and careful, I think they realized they were dealing with a very different composition of Parliament to Parliament in those days. So they were it would be easy to upset people. The language would have been then. So there's no I mean, I've shared the thing. And even I did have some MPs who were against civil union, asking me afterwards if I was okay, because they took such bizarre things about the gay community from these people. And it was, there's a lot of water off a duck's back room is how to take this stuff sometimes. And it was they were absolutely entitled to their opinion. And so the then externally, apart from Maxim, there were more public meetings, they were more there was more public debate about it than it was about prostitution or film. And, and, of course, Master party. It didn't have a whipping. We're against the union, but they didn't have many MPs are prepared to come out in favor, I think. I haven't picked very small group. [02:07:09] Is it five, four or five times too much, pansy? Well, Catherine rich, [02:07:18] I'm a bit fearful. And so we needed to make sure that so and conversely, we had fewer Labour MPs who ultimately voted against, and we didn't use it, and first were pretty well, opponents to it. So it was a it was tough. It was different Parliament against the United future weaker so on those issues that made it a bit easier, but it's a bit closer to party lines, but certainly not completely. And destiny church, where, what kind of loud, but I felt fairly ineffectual and actually helped, because by the end, I mean, they were they produce thousands of submissions, but they were all identical to each other, designed by different people. And they didn't know about peace upon many submissions, they never actually came to the select committee, they produce vast numbers of submissions sat in the box, but they were they weren't, they weren't, they didn't understand anything about the rules or system, then they have a march on Parliament that looked like a bunch of black shirts, of actually building and lot of people on that March, we're not doing what they were watching about, because it was similar time to the foreshore and seabed debate. It's got a kind of complex political period. And and the image of that March, I think, was scary enough to a lot of people to influence public opinion. So whereas the prostitution law reform is always a big block, you're undecided and opinion in the few polls that happened, while broadly in favor the law reform fairly tightly. And when it came to civil union, it was a stronger bunch of people in favor. And other thing I think, if marriage have been polled at a time of being quite strongly against marriage, because it was an option seen as a middle way that wasn't to be, and then the select committee because it was the Government Bill, the select committee process was a lot quicker. And it was for prosecution law reform. And in a sense, there wasn't there was a lot of changes made around the details of with amending with these hundred and 80 pieces of legislation that mentioned marriage. So there was a lots of detailed debate. But the and there wasn't a lot of discretion to look at the model, essentially. And there wasn't, there was only a handful of submissions against the union in favor of marriage. The most memorable was Madeline wearing who was, please, carefully, quote, a provocative submission with lots of slides with pitches of pitches in South Africa with whites and blacks. They're saying that we were embedding legislation that fundamentally treated people as first and second class citizens. So friend, Jenny, right, Jenny, jewels and Nigel Christie performed kind of lobby for marriage. And they were I mean, that their argument was, was really about political tactics. And we knew that we're trying that it would have failed. And the man the mandate wasn't for that the mandate from the manifesto was to produce something which gave real rights, and we got as far as equal rights. But the difference was part of the mandate we had. So we could have just not done any of that and waited until the managed debate came along. Because I think then it would have been more difficult because I think seeing civil unions and operation actually did persuade some people that the sky hadn't fallen in and that good things were happening. So it was, it was an interesting two stage exercise. So I think we went from fairly advanced legislation that had so many qualities embedded to reasonably modest piece of marriage equality legislation. So the lead wasn't that great. [02:11:06] My understanding of the homosexual law reform in the mid 80s, was that it was very much industry community driven. So they went to frame wild with, you know, with the idea with civil unions. Did that same thing happen? Or was it more coming from the actual party itself? The Labour Party? [02:11:29] Man, I guess they're going back? Yeah. I mean, we initiated the initial consultation with a room which included Nigel and Jenny and others on that initial consultation committee, we set up a website, and we got submissions from the community. But yeah, maybe you'd be right to say that it was us initiating that. And there was clearly interest in the lesbian gay media around the issue of relationship status. And let's debate them in other countries, maybe about the model. In that sense, there was a more centralized process of labor and making a decision about the model of the greens, going along with it has been a step forward, the act supporting it again. And whether they had a bit of a moral right wing by them, there are bits that are running high and absolutely supportive of it. So yeah, I think it would be true to say it wasn't it wasn't a classic community driven model. I think probably the community were quite surprised that the government were prepared to move in that direction. And I think for Helen Clark, it was a significant piece of legislation around human rights and recognizing I agree with newseum does [02:12:41] it with the destiny Church has enough is enough, much frequent into parliament. We were Parliament's that day, [02:12:48] never committee was meeting somewhere else, hearing evidence in Oakland with current use for him to keep my last event as better. So it's hard when you're in government, or even part of the governing party Welcome to handle sort of demonstrations like that. Do you go do you turn up to argue to see keep out of it and let the community do the arguing? I think that i think that's is one place where the community came out to do the arguing. I mean, Georgina, was there to help. [02:13:16] But I think it was right that the community did that. [02:13:20] And so when you saw that kind of thing on TV in the news, what did you think? [02:13:25] Us? I mean, because we were we were sort of intensely working through a parliamentary process. And that group hadn't, hadn't organized themselves to engage with us It felt fairly alien to what we were doing and the messages felt. [02:13:42] I think I think probably I felt where this is, this is a point at which [02:13:47] this debate is probably one for us, because the visual images of that March were pretty [02:13:53] hostile [02:13:55] in the way that lovely museum does wouldn't like. And I think that I think it, I think it would have been possible to design a campaign together. So you could have one, but I think once that bit of the campaign began, it was never going to win. So I felt that I felt a secondary feeling was okay, well, these people are probably helped us, which is the last thing they wanted to do so. And there's a man, I mean, it's hard, it was hard to get a positive image about prostitution, law reform, there were a few attempts at result, like kind of fear into humor, or veer into something that's too mysterious people to understand. There were few visual images, which we did use, which are quite effective. But by its nature, it's hard to do and the many more negative images around the sex industry, but when it came to civil union, the negative image of the market and the positive image of of loving couples is quite different. So I think probably they've been involved in the two campaigns taught me something about the importance of visual imagery to make a difference. [02:14:59] You were saying your there were quite a number of people and couples that were putting themselves out there publicly in terms of you know, we were a couple of we won't call right. What were some of the most memorable kind of images for you in the Soviet Union campaign. [02:15:17] I think we didn't, we had rallies outside parliament, the day that the vote, the third leading cause of high rating, and we had a big rally outside parliament. That was that was powerful. I think the the kind of engage the engagement with people from other parties, I think it was when we manage the side of the campaign, and then Katherine rich for their national party, and thanks to sue Bradford, again, for the Green Party. I mean, that the level of cooperation about those images important. And I think, john and dance, they're kind of the archetypal, older, gay capital, and when their submission to the Committee, which is very emotionally powerful, and their presence all through it, and then the FS, that's the union, which was one of the very, very first ones afterwards, but that was, that was powerful. I went to I went to about a dozen civil unions in the first year. And just watching the impact of the ceremony on the heterosexual family members of the couple, was pretty powerful. I think for some, they understood the first time about what this thing this relationship was about. And they have to see it more in totality, when you actually send me that will feel like a marriage. So that was, that was that was powerful. I think those images are probably more powerful. went before f7, capital was coming to select committee and it was locked or arguments were the same over here. And then again, but the media locally, Christchurch, soapland, Hamilton, and the media locally liked to tell us stories linked to the committee. And we and that was very important and building up a level of public understanding and [02:17:18] support. [02:17:19] What was the media response, like? [02:17:23] A lot more overwhelmingly favorable, and less mystery about the legislation. Even though it's largely the same, I'm sure borders, it was only here to the end of prostitution or forms the same people. And they, they were looking for human interest or is there was a more coherent public campaign, really two campaigns was the Auckland and Wellington campaigns and other clusters, other smaller campaigns. And, and they, the one page newspaper advert which the auction campaign organized to support at the right time. And so the media was seeing a lot of kind of wealth of external groups saying things we didn't have to worry about all that media explanation with which prostitution, the reforms loved enough to me, and my staff and my office, and whatever we could throw together in terms of briefing mode, so even having a functional website helped. So it just felt like a more sophisticated campaign. And we were able to get the email wizard working for the pressure before the final vote. So the MP is receiving lots of individual messages from people who nominated them to receive their messages. And so it'll be a lot different now in terms of Twitter, and some of the email functions. But it was it felt like an easier campaign. And it was a more empowering campaign for people who were involved, we could actually do something and be showered lots of be regarding See, I'm going to try and pressure them. [02:19:03] It's really interesting point about the technology, because I'm thinking that in the early 2000s, I mean, the internet hasn't been around or widely used for that one. I mean, at least some of the first campaigns we're you know, we things have been like mass emails and Miss submissions, slick committee, or was this stuff, [02:19:22] a mess? The mission was I've been around some time. In fact, most of them and even in those days were posted, or though it was allowed by email, I think towards the end of that period. But in terms of the lobby, emailing is the main lobby to was a lot more was easier between the two pieces of legislation. And the prostitutes collective spent many years trying to get their website together. I think they finally have they were never ready, shopping that stuff. Whereas the the young, young, queer people involved in civil union, it was a second nature to get that stuff off the ground. So a lot of people actually yeah, I mean, I got involved in campaign activity through civil union legislation, it was a very empowering campaign, and that many edges and there even saw because it was happening all over the place. So I'll central operation, but prostitution law reform, it was really a lot the lobby side was run from my parliamentary office. And there was no separate organization at all, it was me and Busters collective and a few of the other key MPs. And that was that with a few very generally fairly distant support organizations, but when it came to civil union, my office didn't need to deal with that we dealt with some of the media around it, but we have to do research. So we had a whole research project based in [02:20:42] our office around [02:20:46] analyzing the submissions, so and then able to use some of that analysis, when we went back for a second reading and 20 studies in the third reading, so that it was a lot more focused as a parliamentary organizing activity. And also the whereas the opponents and prostitution doors were managed to run an anti campaign that peaked at just about the right time, and very nearly one. And when it came to civil union, they didn't really manage to get the the negative stuff going there any any line they have, which really worked for some people was that we were trying to ape marriage, and that we were being dishonest. And what we should really be doing was saying, we believe in marriage. And that's what's going to happen. No more than one quite for me saying we're not about marriage, we're about we're about creating the legal status and protection. And so which, which could have become a hostage to fortune with the marriage equality debate, and none of us expected the marriage equality debate within within seven years. It was I means that there's a lot of reasons for that. But it was it was interesting. [02:22:01] When you're in the thick of something like so unions, that campaign, how many hours a week would you be spending on on that? [02:22:12] When when Parliament's not on you be writing stuff your mother, Gareth. occasions are meeting but when Parliament's there and you're, particularly when you're dealing with the legislation, when it's up for discussion would dominate your wake up with that. And your colleagues would would say the issue is being about you. And so they would create the space for you to do what you need to do. So it would be it would be, I don't know, 1516 hour days during the most intense period of the law reform? Absolutely. And it would be a combination of media conversations with employees, making sure written material is getting out a lot of contact from lobbyists just trying to find out good advice, and what to do, we had. We've had to produce lists for the lobby of which MP thought which way and then the lobby, we can talk to them and feed stuff back. And we would say to put up a picture of where we're at and see which employees were changing their mind or seem vulnerable to that. And it was never a civil union never seen that time, I'm going to find a majority I think was any time. But after having managed prostitution law reform, it felt it never felt is ever going to lose focus there was going to be reasonably timed. Just to help prices getting through, it was [02:23:36] pretty amazing. [02:23:37] Because it was a Government Bill, say man that I was a bit more protected. I didn't have to front up to everything. So there was a government minister involved and ended up being David Benton pipe, Associate Justice Minister, he wouldn't have been the first MP, it is a little tough to find a union. But actually did a real I thought a very kind of honorable job because it was a it was a task when he was a minister. And probably if it hadn't had this choice would have liked it to be few years down the track. But he was already well underway when he took over and he he never, he never made a mistake in my view is in front of it as a as a in a very straight Matter of fact way which are needed. Michael Cullen was very passionate about the the Soviet Union legislation the as the history lecture, he actually taught about his marriage history married so he could he could attack some of the the arguments that said that this was nothing that was it ever happened before, which causes the cycles of history that that this has happened previously in different forms. And there is support was great, because it was quite unexpected, which was good. active support was unexpected. And but it was, yeah, the internet. And there wasn't the same internal angst about the she was just that Cassandra mentioned earlier that this coming on top of the prostitution or form made things slightly tricky, difficult for for the political party that was promoting them badly. Well, let's be really wonderful. It is not. Not certainly New Zealand by any means. Me got it, I mean, done some pretty, pretty powerful things. [02:25:25] Can you talk about the toll that being so intimately involved in these types of legislation has on you. [02:25:34] Or if it has a total [02:25:37] you get stereotyped and [02:25:41] I mean, if the people that generally stereotype you, somebody who's fighting for important things, and it's not really a stereotype, but maybe I'm recognized as somebody who's absolutely support my monetarism, etc, etc, and doing stuff, which isn't it important. So some of the feedback I got was, was very warm and quite personal from people. And I think quite heartfelt, and from people who would normally feel fairly alienated from politics, they were seeing things happen, which I thought were pretty wonderful. Because they were set out there for New Zealand and it followed a pattern of New Zealand doing it doing things in terms of social legislation. So I think that I think that would apply to a lot of people, the Labour Party and got a lot of people in the greens and on the left of politics and people who've got no great interest with just liked that stuff being being worked on. That was one big one issue. And then I think secondly, as that was gratifying, then there was a group who regarded as old as a bit of a kind of a bit of output. And we were somehow putting the party at some political risk. So that was, that was kind of worrying, because because some of these people, people are sort of white light. And people who didn't believe in the issues just always said, there's a better time to do this. And the time is not bad. Because I mean, the reality of the political cycle is if it hadn't happened, then it would have been 10 or 15 years ahead, and would have been the same mess that Australia is in on, on some of these issues. And then with the people who were different stages of being a parent Is it ready got personal. And my staff [02:27:23] probably protected me from a [02:27:24] lot more than Avenue in terms of stuff that was said on the phone or written to me or whatever I didn't. There's a lot of stuff I wouldn't necessarily say, which was personally [02:27:34] abusive. [02:27:36] Got a few threats during the Soviet Union legislation that were [02:27:41] were [02:27:42] taken seriously, because they seem to be more than just [02:27:45] casual, sort of [02:27:48] references to stuff. But nothing that got me really scared. I think New Zealanders debate these things on the intellectual and fair and balanced level, I made sure that I was never denigrating of the opponents but respected their [02:28:04] right to say what they were saying. And that [02:28:06] was to make sure that they had their voices Select Committee and [02:28:09] so forth. [02:28:10] And if they ever did make a point that was was was persuasive, that that would be identified. And there were few examples, there were a few points made by opponents that were were relevant, I think, I mean, there's no fluff, it was just from the nitrate nonsense, but there was, there was some bits that were relevant, and which, [02:28:37] which we needed to make sure we thought about [02:28:39] carefully. [02:28:41] I thought, oddly enough, because we went, we went for legislation that created the difference for marriage. Lots of the opponents found it hard to voice their concerns, because because they were they they were pleased, it was a different, and they wants to make the difference as wide as possible. And obviously wanted to reduce the rights, whereas it was possible conceptually to do something that was parallel structure. That was quite a complicated debate, in terms of personal impact through that, but I guess, I mean, the upside to me is that it's helped to create a bit of a sense of a legacy in in terms of legislation and legacy that can be built on this has happened with marriage equality. That's, that's the upside. And, and do some weaving of the common ground between [02:29:32] political parties, which I think is quite [02:29:35] a good thing to do in our political system. And I think the negative is potentially, if I'd been very concerned about the kind of career path in politics, and it wasn't necessarily the best, best path to go out with. But it was combined with the work chairing the select committee, and up until the last few years, and then the job of being the senior whip. So had, I had a whole different narrative about my role and how so in that sense, these were, were kind of sidelines to the My mainstream career and representing the electric, but they're also the bits of people in you know, the bits people remember, so they're important, and that, but I look at look back on them. And I think we did things that have helped to improve people's lives individually, and as a class, or classes of people who are marginalized by sexuality or sexual activity, and who I know near the part of our society, then that's going to be a good thing. So I think that's, that's the one thing that would remain with me, as it happened. Not not necessarily evening. But in terms of prosecution, law reform, I mean, that led to some international work, and I think May May in the future, because there is some interest or quite a lot of interest globally in getting appropriate law around sex work, and the opponents of decriminalization have become more more powerful since our law reform. And it's it's quite deep and bitter and complex battle of ideas globally on that, on that issue, where New Zealand plays a uniquely important part. I mean, we are the country cited in, in papers and documents and presentations around the world is having the kind of law reform, the only kind of lower form that will actually sustain to be [02:31:27] protect, protect people, [02:31:29] I don't get protected by the society as well. So that's important. And that's an ongoing debate. And it will be ongoing for some time, I suspect. [02:31:38] You mentioned briefly about the political cycle. In terms of things coming random, like 1015 years, I can just describe to me what what that means. [02:31:48] And our means, I mean, I think there's a time I mean, if you believe that generally these issues are going to be more progressed under a Labour government, like the green government, a progressive government, and you tend to do things in your first two terms rather than your last term. And then there is broadly a cycle of two or three terms that government by led by the left and the right, which is actually survived into MMP mean different competition, but broadly. And so really, if you then look at the reality of the arithmetic, if, if you think of the Labour government between say 2000 and 2004, is being and reforming, ZO, and then think forward to when the next year Labour government, that period, but the normal cycle is going to be another nine to 12 [02:32:41] years ahead. [02:32:42] So there's moments in history when you're doing things and marriage equality came from a different place, because oddly regrets phase of the National Party completely changed my mind on the issue. For whatever reason, so that was a slight anomaly. But generally, a lot of the issues I mentioned, I'm not going to progress much and anything but progress the government and it needs preparation. And these government have a commitment that going with and needs, the right lobby groups and a whole lot of stuff lining up together, including the right MP to [02:33:14] to champion the issues. So when you're building policies and your Manifesto, you're thinking in that kind of nine to 12 year cycle. [02:33:25] Only, I mean, that you wouldn't necessarily get these been debated much in the manifesto, stage when that both of these pieces of legislation were justified and sentence for labor by being in a manifesto, but also part of our value base. But the big debates and manifesto of the Big Brother big spending items, rather than being about about issues like this, and but certainly you're if you're planning a debate on these issues, I think, [02:33:56] increasingly [02:34:00] comes initial a euthanasia, drug law reform, we will be looking to external bodies, which are not numerous in our society, external bodies to provide informed input on the issues and the law commission, Human Rights Commission, and potentially Research Institute or independent people's initiated discussions, there's something externally to really get people sort of getting an interest in the issue. And there's a lot nowadays, you get things out the vote program and TV where these these sort of issues are teased out. And so I think there's a lot more interest in, in how you actually achieve change. But I think it is still that magic confluent. So a series of things, including the government in power, including the individual, including getting the right policy of response. And I think in I think, in drug law reform, getting the right policy response is, is hellish later, and being able to tell lies about [02:35:05] the effect, the likely effect of any particular law is [02:35:10] it's considerable, [02:35:11] I think I think it makes that got a fraud area, euthanasia, to an extent the same. Because there are different models of of the process, better thing, I think it's possible to come up with a whole series of checks and balances there, which have been pretty well tested elsewhere. And abortion law reform or potentially law around gambling and so on. I mean, that's largely, [02:35:38] such as cyclical abortion, nor from retirement again, empowerment and as renovation, [02:35:45] dealing with that we're not because I think it's going to be a reversal of the law, just because it's the opponents of any liberalisation, the law, particularly violent and the [02:35:53] Catholic Church is that strong feelings on the tissue. [02:35:57] But they're interesting ones, but you really have to go underground a moment on some of them, [02:36:01] what was possible to plan [02:36:03] as one as one might want to? [02:36:07] The civil union bill passed, I think, on the ninth of December 19 2004. And that was by 65 to 55. And it's actually quite a large margin. Can you compare that to things like save prostitution reform, but also earlier to the homosexual law reform? We're very tight margins? [02:36:27] Yeah, I'm a social reform was [02:36:30] six or seven, it was it wasn't tied to the prosecution? [02:36:36] Oh, I think it's, [02:36:38] I think it's reflective of the fact that we have a pretty material and stable democracy in which there are two big physical groupings, which as I said, development survived and NP. And now we are the core of a wider group thing. But we're still there is the left and the right to the progressive and conservative. And there isn't a massive gap [02:36:58] generally in Parliament, but train them. I mean, the gap now, [02:37:03] people look at last election result is labor's worst for very many years. But look at the groupings in Parliament is it's sort of 61 to 59, and lots of vote. So still not many, because New Zealand First and the greens and labor can devote on block and lots of them. So that that thing that hasn't changed a lot. So the reason why my conscience folks, again, to be similar is that it's very hard to find issues that cut across this way that MP is independent, entirely other ideology. Maybe initially, euthanasia might do that, maybe that, that your ideology could be almost independent, or what you think on the issue, I don't see many people arguing if an idea in terms of, of political principle, around freedom, so [02:37:58] stay controlling whatever is [02:38:00] much more about their personal beliefs, their personal fears, their life experiences, and so forth. So that that might be a different, different issue. And certainly the voting so far. And that indicates there's quite a kind of complicated dynamic going on. But generally, this history and New Zealand have have two big blocks in Parliament fairly tight votes when it comes to these issues. And then once they're through, and the sky doesn't fall in, we move on. So I think that's, I think that's the same pattern we're seeing [02:38:29] again and again. [02:38:31] And euthanasia is one that has failed and it's had one if not two, first reading, that's where the lens of the draft legislation hasn't got through. [02:38:39] This clearly the one which [02:38:42] needs color work on it, nothing's been done. As a progressive person, I believe that should be legislation in that area. And drug law reform hasn't even really gotten as far as the voting, I'll give it will happen in lots of different ways. It wouldn't be one big debate on the issue would happen happening from mentally, what happened through policing practice. Now, a lot of other things. So that one, again, can be achieved in other ways. [02:39:07] Just kind of wrapping up now. And I'm just wondering if you can reflect on the marriage equality bill that has gone through this year, and also the Soviet Union bill in 2004. And just I'm just wondering, to get your thoughts on, you know, whether, in some ways you wish a happy marriage in 2004. But also, if the unions hadn't gone through with it, we would have succeeded with marriage in 2013. [02:39:40] I think if we hadn't done civil unions would have succeeded in something shorter manage, which I guess in Australia, the states can do something. So that would probably avoid them passing legislation that was federally, that would be some sort of marriage, but about a fear that will end up would have ended at this time. So many. I do think we deflected a lot of the opposition there. And I think we built a wider public support for the concept than was existing profit legislation. So I think that's a significant achievement politically. As I said, I think I think because I helped to champion civil union, that I didn't really want to be publicly involved [02:40:25] in [02:40:26] the marriage debate. So I think it [02:40:29] I think it would have been a confusing message to people. [02:40:33] And it was a genuine political surprise to me that the debate was happening so soon, and politically championed by some of the people who champion from the other side, politically, as I was, I felt meant to me like their debate rather than my debate in the sense. And having had a civil union, I felt pretty sort of happy with that status. But also knowing that the legislation would allow that to be translated through to management. We wanted to do that. So I think it was a gentle debate, manager quality, I mean, some of the same apartments were there. But the public mood was never really in dire to the parliamentary mood was never really in doubt. And it was handled very well by Lewis, sir, and by [02:41:19] Kevin Hagen, [02:41:20] and some of the other champions of it. So it was, it felt to me like something which was a lot more mature than what we'd had to go through. But was was innately helped on that earlier process. Sure. All the people involved in sort of promoting marriage equality sort of quite lightly. That was my view. And I thought that was my view is that important, I decided early as an early stage, my party had a pretty clear view. And my job was to be the general secretary of the party, and not to not to tend to engage in these arguments too much, [02:41:56] but didn't need to. [02:41:58] And I went to a couple of meetings of on the campaigns for marriage equality, and just talk a bit about the civil union experience and what people are likely to be up against, and particularly to talk about the process. And one of my other projects as an MP was to help to demystify the parliamentary process by training groups and how to lobby and so we use some of that material in writing a submission and presenting a submission when groups were telling their their input on marriage equality. And they were heap of massively talented people involved in that campaign. There was another revelation, I guess, if you look at prostitution, law, reform, very little public campaign in favor and then look at civil union, there was a public campaign, it was fairly tight, but it was certainly there. And then when it came to marriage equality was bubbling up all over the place, and people were happy to do big March. So the streets and there were more Public Allies from queer organizations, the media, didn't really voice any didn't get much publicity to the opposition. I mean, insofar as it made kind of entertaining reading they did, but their view was pretty clear. So there's a clear there was a kind of material worrying of the way that if you see all three pieces of legislation as being in the sense about similar issues, and there was a bit of an overlap, [02:43:19] and I think it was a very good stage, and the whole thing [02:43:24] is a pity the adoption issue was not so to clarify it, because that still remains as a tiny bit of an anomaly. And I, the issue of the realm of the clergy, and the role of churches, it's quite an interesting one, because I don't know that I'm not that convinced that the Human Rights Act is clear on whether or not churches really have an exemption. The whole area is very complex, in terms of law needs to be sorted. Without threatening the church [02:43:56] at all. I just think it's, [02:43:58] it's a bit anomalous. Public, public bodies can help pave in certain ways and old certain views in our society. Best a profit. So it is not a labor project. The police, I mean, this is, I guess, one thing is the reflection, it probably is more about the, the prostitution and for some more unique, New Zealand, Nathan, I think the combinations that were used in the marriage equality it's got is unusual globally, in the way it happened. And because civil union was pretty advanced, and then we've shifted one stage further to marriage equality. And but I think there's there are there are lessons about the lobby process and about expanding difficult issues and so on, which, particularly from the prosecution, or for we have yet to really be written up. I mean, it's a it's a complex thing to do. But I think there's a resource there that other countries can learn from in terms of whitelist was changed the effect it had on the ground, arguments that were used, and so forth. And I, when I was working in South Africa, on some of these issues, I was was using quite a lot of that material from my own head. And it was a real need to, for New Zealand to be less cautious about writing what we done, which we're proud of. Because we're not having done these things, we don't we as a country, we don't fly the flag. For them overseas. It's just the way things happen here. Whereas other countries, when they, when they deliver such lower forms are often a lot more upfront about [02:45:40] talking about the issues, [02:45:41] since we even [02:45:43] came up with a very different law around prostitution, which was to criminalize the client. But decriminalize the sex worker, which has many internal attentions, as you can imagine, that they their government promotes that lower form and a whole lot of international forums. Whereas I'll be surprised beyond the minimum if New Zealand ever spoken much about it slower on sex work, and so really had to globally so I think we're a bit I think we're a bit coy about that. I think it was a bit coy about the fact that we have a significant influence on countries very close to us Cook Island took a loan to value new way, where guys sex is still illegal, and sex workers are still criminal. But we don't really, yeah, we don't really work that through in the way that we should. So I think there's a bit I think, bits and 10 last night, these things [02:46:38] have been reflection, [02:46:39] more than anything, I was nothing. It was something to be proud of acting in our journey on them. And we don't need to be afraid about talking about that and seeking to persuade others who we have intimate side of that maybe they should be doing the same things.

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