'Out' gay Greymouth man Kevin Hague has been simultaneously announced as the Green Party's candidate for the West Coast Tasman electorate and is the seventh ranked candidate on the Green Party list, behind only currently sitting MPs and co-leader Russell Norman. Kevin Hague "I have a strong personal commitment to the Green Party's principles, including real environmental sustainability with fairness and social justice," he explains. "I feel that more than ever New Zealand needs a strong Green Party presence in Parliament to work for these principles, as the impacts of climate change, environmental degradation, and the end of cheap oil begin to bite." Hague is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the West Coast District Health Board, and was previously the Executive Director of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation from 1998-2003. He was involved in the Homosexual Law Reform campaign in the 1980s but was particularly associated with the fight against HIV/AIDS and the long-running and eventually successful campaign for anti-discrimination legislation and human rights reform. He was also the co-chair (and co-organiser) of the 1989 landmark National Gay and Lesbian Conference, was one of the organisers of the first Hero Party, helped edit Terry Stewart's book Invisible Families - helping families come to terms with and support a lesbian daughter or gay son - and led the successful campaign to shut down the Auckland Star following homophobic editorials attacking a lesbian and gay youth group. He now says he's honoured and excited to have achieved such a high list placing in the list ranking process, in which all members of the Green Party vote for their preferred list, and these are then combined using the STV method. "It is nonsensical to suggest that these urgent and grave issues can be effectively tackled without making fundamental changes to the way we live, and I'm pleased to say that the Green Party does not shirk from this honest message." Hague believes the Green Party's commitment to social justice and celebrating diversity should strike the right chords for LGBT communities, who had an intimate understanding of the effects of marginalisation, difference and prejudice. "Many of the big legislative reforms that we worked so hard for have been won, but the reality is still that for a young person coming out, a stigmatising social environment still exists, and we have to change that. The Green Party's record on our issues is second to none, and I look forward with interest to see what ranking other political parties will give their rainbow candidates – if they have any."
Credit: GayNZ.com News Staff
First published: Tuesday, 13th May 2008 - 8:59am
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