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Kevin Hague upbeat on chances of progress

Wed 30 Nov 2011 In: New Zealand Daily News

Kevin Hague Kevin Hague is taking an optimistic approach to the possibility of glbti issues being advanced in Parliament over the next term, and has the plight of youth, adoption and transgender equality in his sights as three key areas where change is needed. The returning gay Green MP's assessment is not as bleak as that of Labour MP Grant Robertson, who told Daily News on election night there hasn't been any progress for the past three years and he can't see a John Key-led government making any progress in the next Parliamentary term. Hague's top priority will be trying to advance the recommendations in the How do we make it better? report he commissioned this year, on improving the social environment for young LGBT people. "I think many of these will have broad support," he says. "I'm certainly also committed to trying to revive the cross-party approach to overhauling adoption law that I began last term. This had significant support, including for the same-sex couples parenting aspect, from people in all parties and I have no reason to suppose that has changed." Hague says implementing the recommendations in the Human Rights Commission's To Be Who I Am report on transgender issues is also a priority for his party. "Certainly I remain convinced that being in Opposition does not mean that we should give up on achieving any change for another three years," he says. "In the last parliament the Greens achieved over $400m of 'green change', and with a stronger presence in this term and a narrower Government majority, there's no reason to suppose that we can't do even better this time around - especially considering that many of our priorities don't require significant or any expenditure." Hague is proud of his party's strong showing in the election, saying the goal of 10 per cent of the party vote seemed ambitious when it was set, yet after Special Votes are counted the Greens expect to have more than 11 per cent overall. "This is by far our biggest representation in Parliament, achieved against a background of completing the process of replacing the last of our original MPs, including much-loved co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons," he says. "I'm really excited by the group of new MPs we are bringing in too - our list consists entirely of people with strong backgrounds and professional expertise who will unquestionably add to our contribution, in contrast to some others." Hague is confident the Green Party received a lot of support from glbti voters, which he thinks the Green Party genuinely deserves. "We really do have the best policy and the best voting record, and in the last term of parliament we continued to be active to try to advance glbti issues," he says, adding it's going to be fantastic to have incoming lesbian MP Jan Logie join him in the House. In regards to the issue of John Banks returning to Parliament, Hague says he feels like he spent decades combating the homophobia of the National MP, turned talkback host, turned Auckland Mayor, turned ACT MP. "Strangely he didn't start that way when he worked in the restaurant trade in the 1970s, but he's consistently been opposed to human rights for the past 25 years at least - so not much evidence to give us hope he'll change his views any time soon," Hague says, "In a sense though, he's just one person, and I think what's now needed is some careful sounding out of all MPs. For example, New Zealand First has brought in eight MPs: who knows where they stand on our issues?"    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 30th November 2011 - 11:24am

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