Gay politician Grant Robertson has downplayed suggestions his sexuality will affect his chances at the New Zealand Labour Party leadership.
The MP for Wellington Central announced his intention to run for leadership yesterday after Dan Cunliffe said on Saturday that he would resign tomorrow and seek a new mandate.
Robertson told the New Zealand Herald, ‘There may well be some people who raise that. That’s fine. But that’s not where I think I’ll be judged.
‘I’ll be judged, I’m sure, on my ability to reflect Labour values.’
‘[My sexuality is] an aspect of who I am just as I like rugby and drink beer and a few other things.’
Some commentators say the candidate with the widest appeal to middle New Zealand will likely win the contest and in that context Robertson’s sexuality may become a relevant factor.
He said in his maiden statement as an MP, ‘My political view is defined by my sexuality only inasmuch as it has given me an insight into how people can be marginalised and discriminated against, and how much I abhor that.
‘I am lucky that I have largely grown up in a generation that is not fixated on issues such as sexual orientation. I am not—and neither should others be.’
Robertson entered into a civil partnership with his partner in 2009.
If successful, he will be the party’s first gay leader.