Search Browse On This Day Map Quotations Timeline Research Free Datasets Remembered About Contact

Vote for me! - LGBT candidates

Mon 22 Aug 2005 In: Features forwarded a standard set of questions and topics to those openly LGBT candidates we are aware of who are standing for various parties in the 17 September general election. We are publishing those received by our deadline progressively, in alphabetical order. Later arrivals will be added after that. TIM BARNETT MP (Labour, Christchurch Central) Who are you and what's your background? See What characterises New Zealand's GLBT communities for you? Integrated to general society. Racially diverse; a contact point between NZs racial groups. Inclusive, of lesbians as well as gay men; and of transgender people. Leading in a variety of sectors. Mature and guarded. What are the best and worst things about being gay? Best Seeing the world from a different viewpoint to the majority Understanding prejudice and discrimination, and so empathising with others who face that daily. Worst Not having come out until I was 24. Role models? Nelson Mandela Fran Wilde Kofi Annan Favourite recent book, TV programme or movie? War of the Worlds (film) 50 Ways of Saying Fabulous (film) Relationship status? V happily partnered Worst habit? Working too hard Most pressing issue facing glbt voters? Sustaining the political and personal pressure for equal rights and treatment, in the face of apathy and hostility. What do you like best about your role as an out gay MP? The freedom to work on issues which I judge as important, in a political party which genuinely values Rainbow issues and input. What drew you to Labour? Values, history, love of diversity, the people involved. Are there too many or not enough gays in politics? Too many not open, too few open. Why should voters choose you and Labour? Because of Labour's unrivaled record, especially in the past 20 years. Because of the inclusive approach of the Labour Caucus to Rainbow MPs and of the Labour Party to Rainbow Labour, as a recognised Party sector. Because of the important work left to do in achieving full equality under the law – and the outstanding record of the current Labour caucus in this respect. Because of the leadership shown by Helen Clark on Rainbow issues. Choosing me is of much less importance – it is the party vote which delivers Labour in Government. GEORGINA BEYER (Labour, Wairarapa) Reply from Georgina Beyer MP Who are you and what's your background? [No answer supplied] What characterises New Zealand's GLBT communities for you? [No answer supplied] What are the best and worst things about being gay? [No answer supplied] Role models? [No answer supplied] Favourite recent book, TV programme or movie? [No answer supplied] Relationship status? [No answer supplied] Worst habit? [No answer supplied] Most pressing issue facing glbt voters? The re emergence of extreme homophobic views that openly wish to do harm to human rights we now benefit from, and the danger that some laws in that regard could be repealed if the 'right' of politics is to prevail. What do you like best about your role as an out gay MP? The Enough is Enough protest march, staged by the Destiny Church to Parliament in 2004 highlighted for me that I can provide a voice that I will denounce passionately to those who wish 'Queer' communities great political and social harm. Now is not a time to leave Parliament with the spectre of such a challenge on the horizon and my parliamentary experience to date helps our community to maintain strong representation. What drew you to Labour? The Labour Party provides policy and leadership I admire. Labour in government has secured human rights law to protect GLBT communities that has played a major role in encouraging tolerance, fairness and inclusiveness. Are there too many or not enough gays in politics? From a GLBT perceptive perhaps there will never be 'too many' Queers in politics. At the end of the day it shouldn't matter, people should be elected on merit, I was. Why should voters choose you and Labour? All the above. CHRIS CARTER MP (Labour, Te Atatu) Who are you and what's your background? I am a former teacher of many years. I have a Master's Degree in history (with Honours), and a teaching qualification. What characterises New Zealand's glbt communities for you? Our communities are incredibly diverse. I always like meeting members of our communities from provincial centres, or those who are members of ethnic communities. It shows that we come in all shapes and sizes. What are the best and worst things about being glbt? The best thing about being gay is the sense of belonging to a community. The worst is having to sometimes put up with homophobia and abuse. Role models? Some of my role models are Nelson Mandela, the Roman Emperor Hadrian, and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. Favourite recent book, TV programme or movie? Warriors of God by James Reston is an excellent read and I strongly recommend it. My favourite programme on television is West Wing, and a favourite recent movie was a Thai one called Beautiful Boxer. Relationship status? I have been with my partner Peter Kaiser since 1973. We live together in Te Atatu South. Worst habit? I can be a bit obsessive about my work. What is the most pressing issue facing GLBT people today? The most pressing issue facing the GLBT community in New Zealand today is ensuring that the achievements of the last twenty years, such as the Human Rights Act and the Civil Union Act, are protected from revisionism and entrenched in the culture of our society. Parliament has passed the laws that we sought, but it is up to us to ensure that these become part of societal standards. Why did you decide to stand for re-election, what do you like best about your roleas an out gay MP and cabinet minister? Through my work as a MP and Cabinet Minister, I have been able to make a real difference in our society. I am especially proud of my achievements in the conservation portfolio and of my advocacy on behalf of my constituents. What drew you to the political party you represent? Labour stands for justice and equal rights. Unlike some other parties, it is our policy that gay and lesbian people are part of the New Zealand mainstream and that they need to be recognised as such. Are there too many/not enough gays in politics? Assuming that 5-10% of New Zealand's adult population are gay or lesbian, there should be, in a perfectly representative Parliament, between 6 and 12 openly gay and lesbian legislators. Of course, MPs are elected on a range of factors, not just their sexuality. New Zealand is doing well in comparison to many countries, especially Australia. Why should voters choose you and your party? Only Labour is capable of delivering real gains for gay and lesbian people. Other parties, and National in particular, have an overwhelmingly negative stance towards our communities. Don Brash, for example, changed his vote on the Civil Union Bill simply because he thought a vote against would be more popular with some sections of the electorate. Labour has always been principled on gay and lesbian issues. CHARLES CHAUVEL (Labour, Ohariu-Belmont) Who are you and what's your background? Bachelor of Laws with Honours, Victoria University 1989; Master of Jurisprudence with Distinction, Auckland University 1994; Diploma in International Labour Standards, ILO University 2001. Board member, NZ Aids Foundation, 1990-93; 1995-96 (Chair, 1995); Member of the Public Health Commission Board, 1994; Deputy Chair, NZ Lotteries Commission, 2000-2004; Director, Meridian Energy, 2002-2005 (Deputy Chair, 2005). Currently a partner and board member, Minter Ellison Lawyers; formerly Crown Counsel, Crown Law Office; Legal Officer, Hotel Workers' Union; Chief Justice's Law Clerk. What characterises New Zealand's GLBT communities for you? The surprising diversity of views and cultures across what is actually a very small population. Oh, and the Mooloo picnic. What are the best and worst things about being GLBT? Worst thing: All your heterosexual friends assuming that you have a lovely home and exquisite taste. Best thing: Having a lovely home and exquisite taste. Role models? Maryan Street, Tony Milne and Louissa Wall (the other Labour GLBT candidates in this election campaign who are not yet MPs) Favourite recent book, TV programme or movie? I recently read and really enjoyed A Jealous Ghost, by AN Wilson Relationship status? Partnered - David. One son. Worst habit? Standing against MPs in safe seats who take homophobic positions (stood against Bill Birch, who opposed Homosexual Law Reform and adding sexual orientation to the Human Rights Act, in 1990; standing against Peter Dunne, who opposed the Civil Union Bill, in 2005). What is the most pressing issue facing GLBT people today? Completing the task of making of our country's laws consistent and non-discriminatory for GLBT people, and then moving on over time to change the policies, procedures and attitudes that prevent us from participating on a fully equal basis. Why did you decide to stand for election? I want to see a Labour-led government re-elected so that it can continue to deliver a strong economy and a just society. What drew you to the politcal party you represent? I joined the Labour Party at age 15 in 1985 during the Homosexual Law Reform campaign. Since then I have worked on every major piece of law reform affecting our communities. Overwhelmingly, Labour people have been in the forefront of those initiatives and they would not have been delivered without the Party's support. Are there too many/not enough gays in politics? You can never have too much of a good thing. Why should voters choose you and your party? On issues of specific concern to our communities, Labour's record for delivery is unmatched. On general matters, of the two major parties, Labour offers umatched integrity and experience. LUCI HIGHFIELD (Green, Rongotai) Who are you and what's your background? I am a lesbian, a feminist and a trade unionist. I have been employed by the Service Brothers Robert (partner Dora) and Brian (partner Pam) and Sister Janice (partner Zallan) , Aunty to Joshua, Aaliyah and Giacomo and partner Repeka History with the Labour Party (key points)includes: Member of the Avondale Branch 1998 - 2005;Member of the Mt Albert LEC1999 - 2005; Stood for Region 2 List in 2002 Member of the Policy Council 2002 - 2005; Member of the Science/Green and Internal Affairs/Arts/Sports Policy Committees 2002 - 2005 Work history: Policy Analyst, Te Kahui Tika Tangata/Human Rights Commission 2004 - . Manager Maori Health Research, Health Research Council of NZ 2001 - 2004. Care Co-ordinator, MOKO Services, Waitemata Health 2003-2004 Academic history: MPhil (Social Policy) 2002 (Massey University. Bachelor of Social Policy and Social Work 2000 (Massey University). Diploma in Sport and Recreation 1991 (Waikato University/Waikato Polytechnic). COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT Community involvement: Te Roopu Manaaki, Sport and Recreation NZ 2005 - ; Northern 'X' Ethics Committee 2004 - ; Te Roopu Manawa Mai, ACC 2003 - . Maori and Pacific Advisory Board, Netball NZ 2003 - ; Secretary, Te Rapunga o Poutama Work and Education Trust 1999 - 2005; Chair, Te Rapunga o Poutama Work and Education Trust 2005 - ; Te Tohu Takaaro O Aotearoa/Maori Sports Trust 2003 - . What characterises New Zealand's GLBT communities for you? We are hugely talented and motivated in all areas of life. We are unconventional and challenging of stereotypes, perceptions and traditional thought i.e. we are progressive and embrace the future with both hands. However, we probably need to be kind to each other and not so aggressive in our assessment of how well we are doing and learn to support the kaupapa over the personalities but overwhelmingly I think we are human beings that care about other human beings and we don't mind paying our taxes if they enable us to provide for the needs of fellow Kiwis. What are the best and worst things about being GLBT? The best thing about being a member of the GLBT community is the ability to be oneself in our own company. We are what we are and that's OK. We are incredibly inclusive and no-one not fits in our world. The worst thing is not being able to be out in all parts of the world i.e. there is a time and a place to assert oneself and when in Rome has another connotation. For me we must always be respectful and humble and sometimes cultural contexts have precedence over individual needs, wants and expressions. Role models? Other than my Dad Les and Mother Josie, Martina Navratilova was the first female sporting role model that I was aware of and interested about. I went to the library and read a biography of her life and found out all about her. In fact, when she was in New Zealand for the first time in February 2005 I went to watch her exhibition match against Monica Seles in Auckland and she amazed me, not because as a 48-year old women she was still playing elite tennis, but because of her efforts to connect with the people of Auckland and the indigenous people and culture. She greeted the people of Tamaki Makaarau and said a word she had learnt as a teenager one rainy day when she was bored. That was the longest place name in the world: Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu - the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as 'land eater,' played his flute to his loved one. I knew that this was the longest place name in the world but I could not say it off by heart and Martina's energy and enthusiasm motivated me to learn it, which I have and I am sure she has motivated others who were at the match to do so too. Favourite recent book, TV programme or movie? Book - The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown TV programme - Cold Case Movie - Zelare Relationship status? Living with my partner Repeka in Auckland. Worst habit? Brushing my teeth in the shower. What is the most pressing issue facing GLBT people today? The notion that Brash initially proposed that we are not part of the 'mainstream' of New Zealand society by virtue of being GLBT. This means then that by his definition we are abnormal and atypical and not fully a part of or valued by New Zealand society. For the leader of the main opposition party to marginalize and segregate the GLBT community says a lot about how he sees the world and the exclusiveness of his type of society. So hopefully, the decision of the GLBT community is clear about what political party to support. Why did you decide to stand for election? I had a dream based on an ideal notion of representation framed by my experience of working in the mental health field. I was 19, working for a provider of mental health services in Hamilton and I saw very quickly that the needs of people in care sometimes can get lost in the process of providing services. That is the voices of the people we were there to serve become silent as rationalization and competition for resources occurs. So, at 30 I put my hand up as a Labour List Candidate and 3-years later I have chosen to stand in the electorate of Port Waikato where I have a connection via my grandparents who were based in Tuakau, and where I attended Tuakau Primary School as a 5-year old. What drew you to the Labour party? The Labour Party has a proud history synonymous with the union movement. My mother Josie was a union member and I became one myself when I was a dish washer at Cobb 'n' Co in Taupo when I was 13. My whanau was involved with the Labour Party and so the values of Labour complimented our family values. Also, we are Ratana and the agreement that Ratana and Savage forged in 1935 facilitated my involvement in politics with only one political party of choice. I believe in the ethos of a "socially democratic" society which is the foundation of the Labour Party and for giving every one a fair go. The philosophy of a level playing field is one that requires bold leadership at times as policy sometimes has to target certain sectors of society as a prerequisite to the ethic of equity and equality being achieved. 4. Are there too many/not enough gays in politics? The Labour Party is developing a critical mass in terms of GLBT representation in parliament. We have Georgina, Chris and Tim already in parliament and Maryan Street, Charles Chauvel, Tony Milne and I on the Labour Party List and contesting electorates. There are no out MPs in any other political party. So, the Labour Party is doing our bit to increase GLBT representation and when Maryan Street enters parliament it will be as the first out lesbian representing the Labour Party. Why should voters choose you and your party? Labour is the only party that has created positive societal change to reinforce GLBT status as 'mainstream' New Zealanders. We work hard and contribute to this country and it is the Labour Party that has provided the formal framework for GLBT people to be treated with respect and dignity via the Civil Union Act, and the creation of GLBT positions in the Ministry of Social Development to ensure our specific needs are met. And, we have a great team that is diverse in age and ethnicity and we are all highly motivated to represent the interests of our GLBT community. Various - 22nd August 2005    

Credit: Various

First published: Monday, 22nd August 2005 - 12:00pm

Rights Information

This page displays a version of a article that was automatically harvested before the website closed. All of the formatting and images have been removed and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly. The article is provided here for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us