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Rainbow Wellington General Election Candidates Forum

Rainbow Wellington General Election Candidates Forum
Media Advisory - Public Event

Tuesday 29th of July at 18:00
St Andrew's on The Terrace
30 The Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

Expected candidates:
Chris McKenzie - Maori Party
Kevin Hague - Green Party
Maryan Street - Labour Party
Claudette Hauiti - National Party
Callum Valentine - Internet Party
Hone Hawawira - Mana Party

Kia Ora all,

We sent the above candidates the following information for discussion as a part of their invitation. The expected format for the evening’s event is that each candidate will be given the opportunity to speak to the points raised for 5 to 10 minutes. This is to be confirmed on the night. After candidates are given the chance to speak, we’ll open for questions at the end. It is clear that there is a lot to cover from the discussion points below, so we are asking that candidates respect time restraints declared at the start of the forum.

Kind Regards

Rawa Karetai
Rainbow Wellington Chairperson

Transgender reform: In many ways the transgender community is in a similar position now to that faced by lesbians and gay men a generation ago. It is having to face many of the same difficulties, often based on the same ignorance and prejudice, including from some who deny their very existence. New Zealand is fortunate in having a major report on transgender issues, To be who I am, published by the New Zealand Human Rights Commission in 2007. RW has campaigned from the outset for the implementation of all the recommendations in this report. There have been many successes, but the main area of difficulty remains the need to amend primary legislation, in particular the Human Rights Act (1993), the Citizenship Act (1977) and the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Act (1995). We strongly believe that it is up to Parliament to amend this legislation as appropriate as soon as possible, rather than relying on Court judgments as has appeared to be recent policy, so that the definitive intent of Parliament is made plain. Parliamentary time is expensive. For individual citizens paying for court time to discern Parliament’s intention the costs are prohibitive.

What priority does your party give to enacting the recommendations of the HRC (2007) report To be who I am? And to advancing the changes in primary legislation required for that?

Homophobic bullying in schools: The existence of bullying and in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools remains one the major issues, for younger LGBTI people in particular. It has become clear that legislation is needed, as has happened in other countries, to ensure that all schools follow policies to deal with bullying, and policies which cover homophobic and and transphobic bullying as specific types in particular. At present this only happens haphazardly, largely because of opposition from some quarters. That is why we believe that further legislation or specifically targeted regulations are needed to ensure the implementation of suitable policies and procedures that put the safety of young LGBTI people first. Successive Youth Health reports have highlighted the particular difficulties faced by younger members of the communities that Rainbow Wellington represents.

We want to know about the priorities you and your party places on protecting the younger members of our communities.

Adoption: The Adoption Act 1955 is becoming more of a farce every year, and patently fails to reflect 21st century society. Same-sex married couples can now adopt, but in reality this development simply contributes to the growing confusion, which is again being left to the Courts to sort out.

We are interested in hearing your party’s plans to reform this Act at long last.

Bill of Rights Act: RW submitted to the Constitution Conversation, arguing that NZ BORA needs to be strengthened, and the Commission supported this line. We are concerned at how easily the Executive in Parliament can ignore established human rights issues, despite the so-called safeguards in the NZ Bill of Rights Act and Human Rights Act. In particular, we urge the NZ Parliament to ensure that the UN international covenants and their protocols which we have signed up to, are fully supported in our legislation.

What is your party’s current views on these matters?

Sport: Homophobia and transphobia in sport are other problem areas for our communities, and NZ sporting associations are generally not well advanced in dealing with these issues. Whilst this is clearly primarily the responsibility of the sporting bodies themselves, we believe it is the role of Parliament and especially Government to encourage more action in this area.

How important is work in this area a priority for your party?

Government Rainbow Desk: The late Labour-led Govt established a Rainbow Desk within the core public service to monitor such issues. That was disbanded by the current Govt. What is your party's view on how to embed full equality for all GLBTI people within all Govt policies?

What priority will the next Govt you are a part of give to these issues?

ENDS

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