'Rainbow Ministry' idea dismissed

From GayNZ Team, 12 March 2019

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has dismissed a Green MP's idea for a Government ministry responsible for LGBTIQ+ New Zealanders.

Jan Logie who is the Green Party spokesperson for rainbow issues has floated the idea of a dedicated 'Rainbow Ministry' at the launch of the Wellington Pride Festival last week.

She said LGBTIQ+ people represent a "significant proportion" of society, but added there is no direct channel for representation into Government.

"We need a voice, whether it's a unit in an existing ministry, or whether it's set up like youth development or the Office for Disability Services," she said.

Ms Logie said ministers put in budget bids, "but there's no natural home for where the rainbow budget would sit", hence her proposal for a ministry dedicated to rainbow issues.

The proposal was dismissed by Ms Ardern on Monday, who addressed the issue during her weekly press conference in Wellington.

"Do I think that there's work to be done on behalf of the LGBTIQ community? Yes. Do I think that's best pursued solely by setting up an agency or a ministry or a department? No," Ms Ardern said.

"I think, actually, the responsibility for some of the issues that we need to pursue exists within the Ministry of Justice, within the Department of Internal Affairs, within education and within health," she added.

"I wouldn't want there to be a sense that the responsibility didn't sit across Government simply by having one agency deemed to assume responsibility."

When asked to respond to the Prime Minister's comments, Ms Logie told Newshub she agrees with Ms Ardern that responsibility for supporting and empowering LGBTIQ+ people and communities sits across many parts of Government.

"What's important to me is not the specific mechanism we use to achieve that - it's that we have effective representation and input for LGBTIQ+ people and families in Government decision-making, a point of contact in Government to get help and advice, and the ability to clearly track our progress on these important issues."