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AUKLAND, New Zealand – A senior Labour Party official was re-elected to Parliament in Saturday’s elections along with a lesbian representing the Greens.
Other than those two bright spots, the LGBT community of New Zealand also saw the election of known homophobic politician John Banks, who is expected to be named leader of the ACT Party.
New Zealand gave a resounding victory to Prime Minister John Key for a second term and his center-right National Party, which narrowly missed out on claiming a majority in Parliament. Observers said that Key’s handling of February’s powerful earthquake that hit Christchurch and killed 181 people was likely one of the major factors in his re-election. It didn’t hurt, either, that New Zealand’s beloved Blacks won the Rugby World Cup.
The Nationals are expected to build a coalition with ACT, the Maori Party and United Future, three of the minor parties.
MP Grant Robertson, the openly gay politician from Labour, won his Wellington Central seat by more than 5,000. Though he expressed his gratitude for his re-election, Robertson was quoted by gaynz.com as predicting a bleak future for LGBT issues after the National party retained its dominant position in Parliament and the election of Banks. Labour and the Greens are considered supportive of LGBT issues, and both parties have promised to tackle gay adoption again along with gender-identity issues involving transgender people.
LGBT people “haven’t seen any progress on our issues such as adoption under the National government and I can’t see a John Key-led government making any progress in the next Parliamentary term,” Robertson said.
He expressed concern about the return of Banks. “We didn’t want to see him in Parliament but John Key worked very hard to get him in and Banks will now be there helping National govern the country,” Robertson said.
Jan Logie, the newly elected lesbian MP with the Green Party representing the Kapiti Coast, also was disappointed with the election of Banks.
"It's a shame to have such a clearly homophobic voice back in Parliament," Logie said.
Banks became the scorn of the LGBT community while he was an MP representing the National Party, after he made homophobic statements in opposition to the Homosexual Law Reform Bill.
Both Logie and Robertson vowed to fight Banks in Parliament.
"That's one of the things about coming from the community and having spent a lot of my life doing advocacy work, is that I am really passionate about the importance of standing up and speaking out,” Logie told gaynz.com. “And I'm really looking forward to being a voice that can add to that chorus against those voices."
To read more election news from gaynz.com, click HERE.