An Auckland Pride board member has resigned following the ban on police officers wearing their uniforms during the parade.
Board treasurer Matty Jackson announced he would be stepping down in an emotional post on Facebook.
The Auckland Pride board voted in a majority decision that ‘officers will not be marching in uniform in the 2019 Auckland Pride Parade,’ they said in a statement on Friday (9 November).
Jackson said he made his decision ‘with a heavy heart’, though maintained his support for police officers being allowed to march in uniform, Newshub reported.
‘I can’t honestly support the decisions that were made. My values and that of Auckland Pride are no longer aligned and this is not a decision I have made lightly,’ Jackson said.
‘Being on a board is a difficult role and we all need to be kind to one another,’ he added. ‘I’ve seen the comments from both sides and whether you support or don’t support the board’s decision, please be kind, all of the board volunteers!’
‘Really, really sad’
Auckland Pride organizers have stood by their decision to ban police uniforms from the Pride event.
In a statement, the board said: ‘These discussions indicated that whilst there is goodwill towards the NZ Police, as an institution they do not currently meet the degree of safety and awareness of intersectionality required by our rainbow communities.’
Following the decision by the organizers, the Auckland police department announced its officers would not be attending next year’s Pride event.
Inspector Tracy Phillips, who is the coordinator of the New Zealand Police’s diversity liaison officer service, said she found the organizer’s decision to be ‘really, really sad’.
‘We’re really proud of what we do for a job, who we are and the work that we’ve done – so if we’re not welcome, we’re certainly not going to force our way in, and we’ve taken that message as we are not welcome,’ Phillips said.
Auckland Pride will run from 1-17 February 2019.