Green Party candidate based in Mana
Campaigning for party vote
express: You’re a new candidate for the Greens. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m primarily from a community background – I’ve worked in women’s organisations most of my life. I’m really passionate about social justice and the environment and as part of that – I came out when I worked at Women’s Refuge in the early ’90s… I’m a bit of a cliché! It was a place where really political women were working. Refuge has a policy of lesbian visibility so there’s that safety around acknowledging your sexuality. Lots of women come out through that process.
How did you get involved with the Green Party?
I was doing unpaid work in India, and came back to get a work permit so I could go back and do work in a paid capacity. When I got back, New Zealand was in the midst of the Section 59 debate around child discipline. I was struck by the problems being had here so I got a job working for Sue Bradford in Parliament and got sucked into the political world!
You’re standing in the Mana electorate, which you campaigned in already in November 2010. Will you be shifting focus towards getting party votes in this election?
The Greens don’t have enough money to run electorate and party vote campaigns, so as much as I love the electorate, it’s all about the party vote, and that’s what will get me into Parliament.
You’ve said before that Green Party policies that are “good for community, good for the economy and good for the environment”. Is this how the Greens shape all of their policies?
We have four core principles that all of our policies need to be consistent with – social justice, ecological wisdom, appropriate decision-making and non-violence. I think these principles set us apart because we have a holistic and coherent base for policy development in that we’re always questioning in terms of policy. I wish people had more of an idea that their vote meant the party they’re voting for will then act in a certain way. If you check out our website, the Greens have policies on everything under the sun – this means people know the way we’ll vote.
You’ve come into a party with a pretty strong gay MP. How will you work with Kevin to advance GLBT equality in New Zealand?
I’m hoping we can split the work – I can do the bois and he can do the boys! I’m number nine on the list, which means we need around the same proportion as we got in the last election for me to get into Parliament.
The hot GLBT topics right now are same-sex marriage and adoption reform. Where do you stand on these issues?
I absolutely support equality under the law. My personal instinct is around getting rid of marriage entirely, but if the dominant perspective is extending marriage, I can get behind it. As for adoption, we really need to reform this act entirely. It’s caused so much pain and hardship and it needs immediate attention.
What role do you think New Zealand has to play when it comes to advancing GLBT equality internationally?
New Zealand’s always played a lead role internationally and it’s a bit sad to see us lagging behind. It’s always added to my sense of identity as a New Zealander to feel like we’re the leaders. I would like us to catch up and get back to that leadership role.