I’m a proud supporter of the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender) community. Since I have been elected I have been clear that I intend to work hard to progress issues for the community and vote progressively in Parliament for the community. The Auckland Central electorate has one of the largest LGBT communities in the country. It is for this reason that I have attended about 90% of the LGBT events or meetings that I have been invited to. Our Government has also made some progress with the Ministry of Health, for the first time engaging in a formal contract with Body Positive Inc. which provides a broad range of services for people living with HIV.
I support the reform of adoption law in New Zealand. I believe the adoption law is outdated, archaic, and there are many anomalies. For instance, non-married couples aren’t currently permitted to adopt children, although people in non-marital relationships can adopt as individuals. I feel very sad that many New Zealanders who would make great parents are denied the opportunity to adopt. Everybody loses, including some of our most disadvantaged children. The guiding principle should be who would be the best parents, not what a person’s sexuality is.
There are many gay and lesbian parents doing a superb job bringing up children. Our adoption law is a barrier to this opportunity. Since last year I have been a member on a cross-party parliamentary group led by Kevin Hague MP looking at the reform of this law.I am proud of the fact that Auckland now has an annual Pride Festival. In 2011 I called for an Auckland Mardi Gras feasibility study to be considered, and have continued to support this Festival over the last four years. It not only creates a culture of greater tolerance and respect for the LGBT community.
There is also an economic benefit by bringing more international and domestic tourists to Auckland. The next few years will be exciting for the LGBT community in Auckland, with the 4th Annual Asia Pacific Outgames being hosted here in 2016. In 2015 both the Young Nats and I had a presence at the Auckland Pride Festival, participating in the events and manning a stand. I look forward to working to further LGBT issues throughout this Parliamentary term.