Labour lose New Zealand general election as Parliament gains new gay MPs

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Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand since 1999, has announced she is to step down as leader of the Labour party after defeat in a national election on Saturday.

There will be six gay and lesbian MPs in the new Parliament, the same number as were elected in 2005.

Two are newcomers – former AIDS Foundation chief Kevin Hague was elected as a Green MP on the party’s list.

Grant Robertson was elected for Wellington Central for Labour.

The 121-member NZ Parliament is elected as follows: 70 from geographical constituencies and the remainder from party lists.

The National Party won 59 seats, a gain of 11.

Labour won 43, down 7, and the Greens won 8. Two minor parties won five seats each and the Progressives took one.

The other gay and lesbian people elected were Chris Carter, Maryan Street and Charles Chauvel for Labour and Christopher Finlayson for the National Party.

During Labour’s nine years in office there has been progress on LGBT rights in New Zealand.

The Civil Unions Act passed into law in 2004 and the abolition of discriminatory measures against same sex couples became law in 2005.

On Saturday National Party leader John Key, who will be New Zealand’s 38th Prime Minister, said:

“Ladies and gentlemen, today New Zealand has spoken. In their hundreds of thousands across the country, they have voted for change

“I can tell you there will be a new National-led government in New Zealand.

“So let me start by thanking every New Zealander who has cast their vote for National today.

“Thank you for your support and thank you for your trust. Some of you have stuck with National through nine long years and tonight your patience has been rewarded.

“For others, you have heard National’s message that New Zealand can do better and you have come to share our beliefs.

“So to all of you, I simply say thank you.”