NZ Labour leadership hopeful says supporters are ‘better than’ judging him for being gay

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New Zealand Labour leadership hopeful Grant Robertson has reiterated his call for people to judge him on his politics, and not his sexuality.

Out politician Robertson threw his hat in the ring to become leader of the opposition party last week, after current leader David Cunliffe resigned to trigger a leadership challenge and seek a new mandate.

The MP for Wellington Central, who topped the party caucus ballot at the last leadership election in 2013 but lost out due to a split voting system, is currently polling in second place behind Mr Cunliffe.

According to NewsTalkZB, Mr Robertson has reiterated his belief that supporters will judge his candidacy based on politics rather than “whether a person is gay or straight.”

The response came after Managere MP Su’a William Sio’s indicated that Labour’s support base would take “private characteristics” into account.

Mr Robertson said: “I think New Zealanders are better than judging people just on one thing.

“I like beer, I like rugby. There’ll be some who judge me positively and negatively for that.

“I don’t think it’s relevant whether a person is gay or straight in terms of whether they’ll be a good leader.”

Last week, he argued: “What I am clear about is I think we need a new generation of leadership. That’s the generational change that we require now to meet the new challenges that the party has got.”

Mr Robertson entered into a civil partnership with his partner Alf – who he met through a gay rugby team – in 2009.

If successful, he would be the party’s first gay leader.