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GABA members dine with PM

Thu 25 Aug 2005 In: Events

GABA members and friends turned out in force for a very glamorous and special event on 18th August at Sorrento Restaurant in One Tree Hill, joining the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, for dinner. 'Dinner with Helen' was the first time an NZ Prime Minister has addressed an audience of gays and lesbians at an event of this kind and to add to it all, the fact that we are in the middle of an election campaign added immediate political interest for the evening. But partisan politics were set aside for a while as the night was primarily a chance for GABA members and guests to celebrate Helen Clark's long standing personal support of our community and the huge achievements for equal rights brought into law under her government. Generously sponsored by Steve Rogers of Mortgage People, guests were welcomed with a glass of bubbles to set the evening off with a bit of sparkle. Pre-dinner drinks were accompanied by the talented Auckland City String Quartet. Following the PM's arrival and greeting by GABA President Johnny Givins, guests got a chance to meet and chat with the PM before dinner started. Following a formal introduction by MC Joe Gilfillan, the PM first enjoyed what she said was “the first good meal I've had all week!" Looking very relaxed and feeling welcomed and “amongst friends" she spoke about the long list of achievements she is proud to stand by in making New Zealand a tolerant and accepting country that “people will want to live in." These included revisions to the immigration act allowing same sex couples to live here, the property and relationships act, the Civil Union Bill and accompanying Omnibus Act, revisions to the adoption laws, and a raft of regulatory changes to the way non-traditional families are dealt with by government agencies. The PM moved on to talk about what life is like managing a minority government under MMP and told a few stories of the wrinkles she experienced in getting co-operation from other parties and politicians to pass some of the above legislation. In closing, following a short summary of her main policies in the current election, the PM took questions from the floor about issues concerning nursing and the DHB, Auckland transport, and help for small business. Following her departure guests enjoyed dessert before the draw for the sponsored door prizes was made and continued to enjoy the great feeling of having been part of this very special GABA evening. ALL CANDIDATES MEETING: ALL INVITED! In keeping with GABA's tradition in hosting all-candidates meetings during elections important to our members and our community, the September 7th Fruits in Suits will host the GABA All Candidates Election Forum: “WHY SHOULD WE VOTE FOR YOU?" We think its important that our community should have an opportunity to hear the answer to the question, “Why should anyone in the Gay and Lesbian Community vote for you or your party?"from representatives from each of the parties running in this election. Nine parties were invited by GABA and six have confirmed their participation as of press time. We've got a great line up of political talent, experience and divergent points of view including one Party Leader! This is a chance for you to directly ask the candidate of your choice the tricky and curly questions we'd all like to hear! So come along to welcome and then put onto the political grill Rodney Hide - ACT, Nandor Tancsoz - Greens, Judith Tizard (Labour), Pansy Wong (National), Susan Baragwanath (NZ First), Trevor Barnard (Progressives). The Maori and United Future Parties didn't even bother responding to GABA's invitation and so obviously the gay vote is not important to them. And Destiny NZ “respectfully "declined! I guess that tells us all something doesn't it? All the candidates will make a short presentation answering "the question" and then will be available for your questions from the floor. Candidates will be invited to stay and mingle afterwards to talk in person with anyone who wishes to continue to pursue a point or question. GABA encourages all who'd like to meet and talk to any of the candidates representing nine parties seeking your electoral and most importantly, your party vote, to come along to this community event. The venue for this Special Election Fruits is the Birdcage but we are taking over the larger Glasshouse space inside. Fruits will start at its usual time of 5:30 with the Candidates speaking from 6:15 onwards. The usual Fruits in Suits bar specials will be on offer and complementary nibbles will be provided. GABA members free, non-members $8 entry. Gresham Bradley of GABA - 25th August 2005    

Credit: Gresham Bradley of GABA

First published: Thursday, 25th August 2005 - 12:00pm

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