Georgina Beyer, the world’s first transsexual mayor and a former Labour MP, warned in late August 2013 that New Zealand is not yet ready for a “gay” prime minister and may be seeing a social conservative backlash.
With the Labour leadership yet again up for grabs, it again raises the question of whether Grant Robertson, the “gay” deputy leader, could be elevated to head the party, making him a strong possibility for prime minister [in the future].
But Beyer, who was an MP for eight years until 2007, said in late August 2013 that Labour needed to be realistic.
“I don’t think we’re ready yet,” she said…..
Grant Robertson, who is currently contending for the Party’s leadership against David Cunliffe, who recently resigned, acknowledged on TV3’s The Nation on Sunday 28 November 2014 that the fact he was “gay”, might stop some people voting for him, just as the fact “I like rugby and drink beer might be an issue with some people as well”. In trying to trivialise the “gay” issue which has proven problematic and cuts very deep with his Party’s largely conservative Polynesian base, he may well run the risk of being perceived as insensitive to their deeply-held cultural and religious views.
On this issue, former National MP Tau Henare told The Nation he had people calling him to say: “I’m not voting for a homo[sexual] prime minister’.
John Tamihere, a former Labour MP turned radio presenter has said:
“The problem for Robertson, was that the Labour Party was associated with a string of pieces of legislation which amounted to “extraordinary [“gay-rights”] activism“.
This ranged from reform of matrimonial property legislation to cover same-sex relationships, the introduction of civil unions and gay marriage, which Tamihere said was effectively Labour legislation.
“”Because of the contemporaneous nature of where Labour has taken gay rights [activim], it’s very hard to distance a Grant Robertson from the authority that the rainbow division has within the party.”
Beyer said she was “leaning towards” [David] Cunliffe [as preferred Labour leader].
Former TV presenter Ms Alison Mau, who has a same-sex partner, also believes New Zealanders’ attitudes had changed sufficiently to allow an openly gay man or woman to lead the country.
Should Robertson be elected leader of the Labour Party, his homosexuality could even lead to a groundswell of support, [Alison] Mau believes….
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1. Georgina Beyer was The Te Tai Tonga candidate for the Internet-Mana Party in the 2014 election.
2. In early September 2013 TV3 asked the public: will public opinion about Mr Robertson’s homosexuality affect his chances of becoming Prime Minister? More than half of voters, 58.5 percent, said yes, and 41.5 percent said no.
Labour voters were split on this too, with 48.3 percent saying yes, it would affect his chances, and 51.7 percent saying no.
There have been only two openly-gay world leaders – Iceland’s Johanna Sigurdardottir and Belgium’s Elio Di Rupo.