|The left has been dealt a stinging blow, with National romping to an easy victory. There are plenty of side notes too: Winston Peters has an entourage, there are lots of new MPs we don’t know much about, plenty of returning allies, but we’ve lost stalwart Labour lesbian and human rights defender Maryan Street.
Party by party, without Special Votes being counted, here’s a look at the new Parliament:
National – 61 MPs with 48.06% of the vote They’ve romped home, securing a John Key led-Government for the next three years. Among National’s ranks are uber gay-friendly MPs like Maurice Williamson and Nykki Kaye, while there are also plenty of newbies we know little about. National will always be a mixed bag, with MPs like Tim McIndoe who tried to alter marriage equality laws so businesses could discriminate against same-sex couples - and plenty of senior MPs like Bill English and Gerry Brownlee who voted against marriage equality – along with the party’s single remaining openly-gay MP (that we are aware of) Chris Finlayson.
While we can’t expect the party to lead the way on any major socially divisive lgbti issues, we have seen a 100,000 boost in funding for the lgbt youth sector under its watch thanks to Nikki Kaye, who was also important in getting Auckland Pride up and running. Rules for passports and driver’s licences were also been changed to allow three gender options under National. Judith Collins scuttled a bid to get trans people clearly protected from discrimination under the law. After falling from grace she’s back as an MP, but it remains to be seen whether she will weasel her way back into cabinet.
Labour –32 MPs with 24.69% of the vote
Back for Labour: Grant Robertson, Meka Whaitiri and Louisa Wall One horrible aspect of Labour’s awful result is that it looks like Maryan Street’s nine years as an MP are over. It’s only brought in five list MPs and she won’t be one of them. The strong voice of the lesbian advocate for queer youth and human rights in New Zealand and around the world will be missed.
A number of promising out candidates also missed out, with Christchurch Central becoming even bluer despite a strong campaign from Tony Milne and Tamati Coffey failing to wrest Rotorua. Richard Hills and Kelly Ellis were always long shots but are both strong advocates for our communities.
Louisa Wall, Meka Whaitiri and Grant Robertson are the three Rainbow Labour MPs to be re-elected. It leaves plenty of responsibility on the more than capable shoulders of Wall - after her trailblazing first term.
Overall, after a bit of wound-licking, it’s time Labour to regroup and regather. The big question is whether David Cunliffe will remain leader. Robertson says he can’t deny his interest in the job. A leadership team of Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern is a popular suggestion on social media.
Greens – 13 MPs with 10.02% of the vote Jan Logie and Kevin Hague are back for the Greens While they hoped for 15 per cent, the Greens result means out stalwarts Jan Logie and Kevin Hague will be back to continue their advocacy work for lgbti New Zealanders. This will be even more important with the reduction of strong lgbti voices in Parliament.
The Greens bring in a couple of new MPs too (how many exactly could depend on special votes) and we don’t even need to delve into their profiles to know they will have our back – it’s simply the Green Party way.
(Interestingly, despite the Greens campaigning for party votes only, those that went to Greens candidate Denise Roche in Auckland Central could have got Jacinda Ardern over the line in her ever-close battle with National’s Nikki Kaye)
New Zealand First, 11 MPs with 8.85% of the vote Blessedly, Asenati Lole-Taylor was dumped so far down the New Zealand First list she will not be back, so we’ll be spared her uneducated ramblings about transgender people. Back in are Tracey Martin, who was totally pro marriage equality but had to toe the party line and vote against it because her leader Winston Peters wanted a referendum on the issue. Also back is Denis O’Rourke who was at the centre of a weird story about how he’s “deliberately” not in a relationship with a man he employs who lives at his property. There are reports he was incredibly upset about having to vote against marriage equality. He’s also expressed support to Louisa Wall for specific protection for transgender people from discrimination.
Also back is Richard Prosser and Barbara Stewart, along with returning former NZ First MPs Ron Mark – who ultimately voted against civil unions in the final reading – and Pita Paraone, who was firmly against civil unions. Newbies are Fletcher Tabuteau and Darroch Ball, who are both against marriage and adoption equality, and Mahesh Bindra who we know little about.
Others: The gay-friendly Maori Party have two seats, while ACT and United Future each have one. We can expect all three to vote sensibly on any lgbti reform. The Mana Party and Hone Harawaira, who came around on marriage equality, are gone while the Internet Party never got a foot in the door. And with the Conservatives mustering just over four percent we can officially declare voting for Colin Craig “not normal”.
Overall? Can’t imagine much progress being made on lgbti rights this term unless we score big with another private member’s bill. However we can probably rest assured that at least none of our rights will be rolled back either.
Louisa Wall, Kevin Hague and Jan Logie can sure be counted on to give things a punt … so who knows, there could be movement on adoption, safety in schools and the neverending story of trying to get trans people clearly protected under the law. Election stats: There were 2,112,522 votes counted on election night. Special declaration votes still to be counted are estimated at 293,130 (12.2% of total votes). This includes an estimated 38,500 overseas votes. The total estimated votes (those counted on election night plus estimated special votes to be counted) is 2,405,652. Voter turnout for the 2014 General Election is estimated to be 77.04% of those enrolled as at 5pm Friday 19 September. This compares with a final 74.21% turnout of those enrolled in 2011. Jacqui Stanford - 21st September 2014