- It’s beaten the British parliament into second place for LGBT+ representation.
New Zealand now has 11 out LGBT+ politicians in its parliament, after general elections ushered in a ‘rainbow wave’.
New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern won a landslide victory with her Labour Party on Saturday (17 October). The party now holds 64 of the 120 seats and that includes seven LGBT+ members – the most of any party.
However, the Green Party has four LGBT+ politicians in the parliament out of its 10 MPs. That’s 40% of its total, making it proportionately the most LGBT+ inclusive.
Overall, the 11 LGBT+ politicians are 9% of the total in the one chamber parliament.
That means it is now even more inclusive than the UK’s House of Commons. It was previously the most LGBT+ parliament in the world with 45 out of 650 MPs, or 7% of the total.
Louisa Wall, a Labour MP, told The Australian:
‘Numbers do matter. We have a critical mass with high visibility and we’re seen as valid. If we do end up being the most LGBT representative parliament in the world, that would be simply great.’
Coronavirus control success
The out politicians include Finance Minister Grant Robertson. He celebrated the election victory by posting a photo on Twitter of Labour’s MPs outside the parliament.
Fellow LGBT+ Labour MP Louisa Wall submitted the bill which saw New Zealand legalize same-sex marriage in 2012. Also in the Labour party are Ayesha Verrall and Shanan Halbert.
The Greens already had Jan Logie and Chlöe Swarbrick but now Elizabeth Kerekere and Ricardo Menéndez March have joined them.
Meanwhile New Zealand’s main opposition party doesn’t have any openly LGBT+ representation, despite having 35 seats. Likewise, neither does the other right-wing opposition party, the ACT, which has 10 MPs.
In June, former National Party leader Todd Muller told APP he wasn’t focused on getting an LGBT+ representative into the house. He said:
‘It is not something I’m particularly focused on, ensuring that we find someone who may or may not represent the LGBTI community.’
Ardern’s landslide victory comes after her success in managing the coronavirus pandemic in the country. She swiftly shut the borders to international tourists and just 25 people have died from COVID-19 in the country.
She also enacted strict gun control measures after the Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019.