New Zealand: Labour MP who opposed equal marriage backs gay leadership hopeful

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A New Zealand MP who voted against same-sex marriage has endorsed a gay candidate for Labour party leader.

Out politician Grant Robertson is running to become leader of the Labour party, after current leader David Cunliffe resigned to trigger a leadership challenge and seek a new mandate.

However, he has received a surprise endorsement from MP Rino Tirikatene – one of the few Labour MPs who voted against equal marriage in parliament last year.

Mr Tirikatene – who is of Maori descent and represents the Te Tai Tonga constituency – was listed on Mr Robertson’s nomination form, alongside Mana MP Kris Faafoi, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Mr Robertson said previously: “There may well be some people who raise that. That’s fine. But that’s not where I think I’ll be judged.

“I’ll be judged, I’m sure, on my ability to reflect Labour values.

“It’s an aspect of who I am just as I like rugby and drink beer and a few other things.

“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 openly gay leader.


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