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Labour deputy proud of party's diversity

Sun 6 Jul 2014 In: New Zealand Daily News

Deputy Leader David Parker Labour Deputy David Parker has expressed pride in being part of a “liberal and diverse party” is his speech to the Labour Party Congress in Wellington. “I know that affording rights to minorities – be they religious, ethnic or as to sexual orientation – takes nothing away from the majority,” Carter has told the gathering. “I am proud of the fact that we are a liberal and diverse party,” he said, adding however that is not his driving force in politics. “My political heart lies in what has become something of a quaint notion these days, the notion of an egalitarian society,” he said. You can read his whole speech here MC and gay MP Grant Robertson warmed up the Congress with his humour, assigning film titles to rivals. He gave Conservative Party leader Colin Craig Frozen, with the synopsis “a man wakes up after several decades, unable to understand the world around him, disturbed at women who leave the house and big silver birds that fly overhead with strange trails after them. But at least he still has Elvis”. Gay candidate Tamati Coffey Robertson described this year’s Labour candidates as a “talented and diverse” group, before introducing a handful of newbies who addressed the Congress, including gay Rotorua hopeful Tamati Coffey. Robertson joked that when you going out campaigning with the former TV presenter “you know who is more popular”. Coffey told those gathered “I know most of you know me as ‘that guy off TV’ and while that is me I’d rather that you knew the other side of me.” He said when it comes down to it he is “just a poor kid from Lower Hutt that’s done really good”. He shared the fact his parents worked in factories, and were proud union delegates. “They wanted me to have more opportunities than they ever did, so they encouraged me, they guided me, they pushed me at times very hard – but it worked and I thank them for it.” Coffey was the first in his whanau to go to university. “I make my family proud,” he said, to applause. “I’m standing for Parliament for my whanau,” he said, sharing a tale of how his dad finally did what he had always dreamed and trained as a chef – but couldn’t find a job for a year. “It wasn’t his fault. It was because our region isn’t growing.” He said his sisters have moved to the Gold Coast where they have opportunities they don’t have in New Zealand, and added how his nephew’s three-year-old son, who is living with him at the moment, inspires him to want to build a better New Zealand. A Rainbow Labour breakfast was held at Victoria St Café this morning, with Whangarei candidate and TransAdvocates founder Kelly Ellis the guest speaker: Picture / Rainbow Labour On Friday Rainbow Labour members heard from a queer youth mental health panel, and from Mani Mitchell who talked about what should be done to ensure safety and dignity for trans and intersex people.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Sunday, 6th July 2014 - 2:07pm

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