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Labour steams on with rainbow proposals

Wed 6 Nov 2013 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

While delighted with the achievement of marriage equality, Louisa Wall says there is always more to be done. Labour has endorsed a number of policy proposals aimed at making life even better for glbti New Zealanders, from sorting out glaring transgender issues to addressing bullying in schools and  ending discrimination at school events Rainbow Labour MP Louisa Wall says all the rainbow policy suggestions were endorsed at the Party Conference, and the next phase is seeing which portfolios they best fit into, for example whether the anti-bullying plan should be under youth or education. “But crucially they’ve been endorsed so that means our constituents body has deemed that they are a priority for us when we are in Government.” The five mooted policies: Implementing the outstanding recommendations from the Human Right’s Commission’s 2008 report To Be Who I Am, which looked at discrimination faced by transgender/transsexual New Zealanders. An appeal of the outdated Adoption Act and reform of the Care of Children Act. Enacting a national sex and sexuality education programme. It would include a minimum standard for all state-funded schools, and encourage parent-engagement. Reducing discrimination in at school events, such as Balls, but also other gatherings. Taking action to eradicate discrimination, violence and bullying, and to combat suicide and self-harm. Labour would do this by improving the pastoral support given to queer youth in schools. It would also introduce mandatory anti-bullying reporting requirements, on which schools would have to report to the Education Review Office. Wall is also Youth Affairs spokesperson for Labour, and feels strongly about the proposals in regards to bullying, sex ed and school events. She has spoken to school principals in her electorate, Manurewa, and says none have same-sex school ball bans. “You can take whoever your partner is. It doesn’t matter who they are,” she says. Wall believes the focus in sex and sexuality education should be on ‘healthy relationships’ and providing youth with the skills and resources they need, particularly vulnerable young women. “From my perspective, the big question is what does a healthy relationship look like for a lot of our young people? And obviously the headlines in the last few days with the ‘Roast Busters’ we need to be looking more and more about some of the learning our young people need about what a healthy relationship is.” As for how likely Labour’s proposals are to actually become a reality, Wall is confident about how Labour is tracking heading towards the next election. “We believe we can win. We’ve got the team to win. And more importantly we’ve got a leadership and a leader who is inclusive and who is embracing of all the different constituent groups, across not only the party, but society.” Wall says it has been a great year, with the achievement of marriage equality from the opposition benches, “but we’ve got more to do, there is always more to do.”    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 6th November 2013 - 10:36am

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