Meet our GLBT Parliamentary Candidates: Louisa Wall

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Louisa Wall is the Labour Party candidate for Manurewa.

What do you think are the three greatest problems New Zealanders are facing at the moment?
As a community and as a society I think our three greatest problems are:
1 Poverty, and child poverty specifically.
2 Growing inequality and the consequences of divisions between people.
3 Discrimination and the alienation of minority and marginalised groups.

What have you done thus far to help?
1 Negotiated with KidsCan to get food into Manurewa High School.
2 Lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission about cartoons published in two newspapers that negatively portrayed Maori and Pacific parents of children participating in breakfast in schools. I was joined by local Manurewa youth group Warriors of Change and the matter was heard by the Human Rights Review Tribunal. It will be a test case as to media standards regarding discrimination.
3 Following my suggestion to McDonalds that they consider offering books with Happy Meals, they offered me 1,000 sets of the DK eyewonder books which I am distributing to families and groups in the electorate through groups such as Maori Women’s Welfare League.
4 Because Manurewa is lacking early child care facilities, I have been working with a number of primary schools that are interested in offering early childhood education to children over 3 years to ensure they have some quality ECE before starting school. I have drafted a members’ bill to allow that to occur within the existing system where there is a shortfall. The Labour Party has adopted as part of our early childhood education policy a commitment to public ECE provision.
5 My Members bill to achieve Marriage Equality was passed into law.

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What do you intend to do as an MP to help?
I will continue to work with the Police, community leaders and businesses in Manurewa on solutions that address issues such as young people on the streets late at night and the behaviour that has involved police intervention. Issues of homelessness and food security are now a reality for members of our Manurewa community and I will continue to support an initiative led by Rev Ngahe and including the Salvation Army, from our local Methodist Church to meet these and other needs of our community.

Why should our readers give you their party vote?
Express readers should give me and therefore LABOUR their party vote because like us, they want to do something about the issues I have identified as problems and therefore agree that these must be priorities for government. Also, they trust me and LABOUR to prioritise addressing these issues based on my and our track record – with the support of voters we will address and find solutions to these problems.

What do you believe are the biggest issues specifically facing the GLBT community?
It continues to be the issue of discrimination in all its forms. Fundamentally, it is based on opposition to fundamental human rights and a premise that all people are not born free and equal in dignity and rights. Some people, some cultures, some religions believe that if you are LGBTIQ then you are sub-human and so are part of the undeserving and society might tolerate you but we won’t actively ensure your identity is valued and appreciated and that we are respect to be who we are.

What have you done thus far to address these?
Marriage equality is about fundamental human rights and a commitment to equality and non-discrimination. I led this agenda because I believe we are equal human beings and equal citizens. No state in a modern democracy can actively discriminate against any citizen and we were able, all those who engaged in the debates and discussions, to clearly articulate the clear separation of church and state, the principles of equality and non-discrimination and balancing freedom from discrimination with freedom of religion. Between 19 August 2013 and 23 July 2014 there have been 898 LGBTIQ marriages in NZ.

Do you intend to address any of those if are successful at the next election. If so, how?
In April 2014 the Statutes Amendment Bill (No 4) passed its first reading. During this debate I proposed an amendment to section 21(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act, so it would read: “sex, which includes gender identity, pregnancy, and childbirth.”
This was done to ensure the specific protection from discrimination on the basis of gender identity noting that the Human Rights Commission had recommended this amendment in their January 2008 publication “To Be Who I Am/Kia noho au ki toku ano ao” final report of its Transgender Inquiry. Although Justice Minister Collins and therefore the select committee have rejected the amendment, it provided an opportunity for our rainbow community to talk about how important it is for gender identity to be added to section 21 of the Human Rights Act. In the 51st parliament the LGBTIQ community have an opportunity to be clear about how this amendment should progress and I look forward to being involved in such discussions.

What would be your message to the New Zealanders so disillusioned by politics that they are not planning to vote this election?
I am proud to be LGBTIQ – there is nothing for us to be discouraged or disappointed about. There is so much more to be done and we’ve demonstrated that by working together we can change the law, change our culture and change the world we live in. Politics is part of the world we live in and the election provides too good an opportunity for change not to be part of it. We need your help and based on what we’ve achieved in opposition, imagine what LABOUR can do in government!

Please complete the sentence:

– When I leave politics I would like my political career to be remembered for…my commitment to human rights and the principles of equality and non-discrimination. I am proud to be a New Zealander and I want all of our citizens to have opportunities in life to dream and to achieve their aspirations. I was able to dream and with a loving family, community and society was provided with the opportunities necessary for me to be successful. And I believe to be successful we have to be proud of who we are and to be proud we have to know our history and have respect for our history. From this foundation, we can do anything.

 Winston Peters is…the leader of New Zealand First, a political party he founded in 1993.

– To be a great Prime Minister you need to have…leadership aspirations for others and the ability to help create an environment where all our children’s gifts, skills and passion are built upon with opportunities to lead happy and satisfying lives. Fundamentally, you have to care about, have regard for and a commitment to serving others. Great countries are built on inclusion, tolerance, understanding and mutual respect not poverty, inequality and discrimination.

– Kim Dot Com is…a German-Finnish person currently residing in New Zealand. He is the founder of file hosting service Mega as well as its now defunct predecessor Megaupload and is the patron of the Internet Party.

– Nice guys finish…growing up and become great men, who treat people with respect and also stand up for principles of fairness and justice.

– New Zealand is…the place that I am proud to call home and the country that as a citizen of, I am honoured to pledge allegiance to, and to have represented both in sport and politics.

Article | Oliver Hall. Photo | Tux Hika GABA Gold Auction.

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