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Mayor opens BGO, embraces glbt citizens (with VIDEO)

Sun 11 Feb 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News

1.45PM: Auckland's Big Gay Out has been officially opened with thousands of picnickers cheering an impromptu appearance by newly united couple Chris Carter MP and his partner, and a well received speech by mayor Dick Hubbard in which he says he gladly embraces Auckland's gays and lesbians. Speaking from the main entertainment stage which is visible from most of the increasingly crowded park, Hubbard confessed that when he became mayor two years ago he knew very few gay and lesbian people, but said he has since met many, many more in council and at events such as the Big Gay Out. He said he "admires and respects" Auckland's gays and lesbians and says his time in the mayoralty has opened his eyes to the wide diversity of people who make up his city. Although most people at the BGO are Aucklanders a crowd of Hamiltonians, whose trip was coordinated by that city's new Venom bar, have arrived to boost the numbers of people lugging chilly bins and picnic gear down Point Chevalier Road into the park. Parking space in the side streets is already at a premium and enterprising local children are offering paid parking spaces in the front lawns of their homes. Amongst the many colourful stalls Auckland's Rainbow Youth group is offering a magnificent prize in a $2 raffle. The winner will receive two tickets to next weekend's Hero Party, 2 tickets to the already sold out La Clique show at the Auckland Arts Festival, and a $100 tab from Ponsonby Road bar and cafe SPQR. Video footage of Labour MP Chris Carter's speech on stage at the Big Gay Out is available to view below.     Ref: (j)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Sunday, 11th February 2007 - 12:00pm

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