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Street: Difficult years ahead for gay issues

Wed 24 Sep 2014 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Maryan Street Lesbian former MP Maryan Street says the next three years are going to be "extremely difficult" for progressing glbti issues. Street, a three-term MP and past president of the Labour Party, says she is "devastated" at Labour's collapse in the polls last weekend which saw her miss out on returning to Parliament. Nearly all legislative changes of the past three decades specifically benefiting glbti people have been spearheaded by Labour governments and MPs, with strong support from smaller parties such as the Greens. Reflecting on National's unprecedented majority in the house under MMP, "I can't see there being much progress regarding bullying of our students in schools, protecting our youth from the problems that contribute to self-harm and suicide and for working on the issues still faced by trans people," she says. "National won't be championing any of that." Currently in Wellington where she is sorting through her personal and office effects "and trying to be ruthless about it" before returning to Nelson to consider her future, Street believes centre-left voters became disenchanted with the political process following the Dirty Politics and Kim Dotcom affairs in the lead-up to the election. "Too many people decided not to vote," she says. She also noted that on current figures even National polled lower than in the last elections, although special votes have yet to be finalised. "We didn't capture the the imagination of the voters despite having messages I thought were important and clear," she says. Of two issues being touted by commentators as contributing to disenchantment with Labour, the so-called 'man-ban' and party leader David Cunliffe's apology 'for being a man' she says the basic issues of equity in representation of women and of violence by men against women were both "legitimate issues but extremely poorly handled by both leaders at the time." Although she is unsure what she will do now she is out of the House, Street says her commitment to Nelson-based glbti group Q Youth, for whom she is patron, remains strong. "My support will continue and I will do whatever they want," she says, though acknowledging "I may not be quite so useful, not now being an MP."    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 24th September 2014 - 11:16am

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