Meet our GLBT parliamentary candidates: Maryan Street.

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Maryan Street is the Labour Party candidate for Nelson.

What do you think are the three greatest problems New Zealanders are facing at the moment?

Finding decent jobs with fair wages, unaffordable and substandard housing, giving children the best start in life. Address these and we can all live with dignity and hope.

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What have you done thus far to help?

Worked with individuals and agencies in Nelson to access support and address need; argued in Parliament against detrimental policies; contributed to the development of a forward-looking set of policies designed to address the increasing inequality in NZ.

What do you intend to do as an MP to help?

Work hard as part of a Labour-led government to implement our manifesto.

Why should our readers give you their party vote?

Because Labour is putting people first and has policies which are fair. Jobs. Homes. Families. It doesn’t get much more basic than that, straight or queer. We will improve incomes, create new jobs, protect and enhance our environment and close educational and health inequality gaps.

What do you believe are the biggest issues specifically facing the GLBT community?

Access to appropriate health care for trans people; mental health issues, especially for young people; freedom from bullying and discrimination, including in schools; equal treatment under adoption law; standing up for our communities overseas where laws and cultural practices are still oppressing our people.

What have you done thus far to address these?

I have worked for 7 years with Q-Youth in Nelson which has set up Queer/Straight Alliances in all the high schools in Nelson. I have also launched this model nationwide as well because of its success. Its aim is to create safe places for young queer and enquiring people to grow up, in their schools, their communities, their cities and their country. I have been a co-Chair of Q-Youth and am now a patron. I have learned a lot about all the issues outlined above from these brave and positive young people. I have supported trans people at different stages in their journeys. I have voted against harmful legislation and for positive legislation. I have consistently stood up for human rights at home and abroad as Labour’s Human Rights spokesperson.

Do you intend to address any of those if are successful at the next election. If so, how?

Of course, by continuing to do what I have done. And by implementing Labour’s Rainbow policy (to be launched on Aug 26!). That policy includes implementing the recommendations of the ‘To Be Who I Am’ report; adoption law reform to permit GLBTI couples to adopt; inclusion of gender identity in the Human Rights Act for protection against discrimination; implementing programmes to stop bullying in schools; reinstating the GLBTI desk in the Ministry of Social Development to assess the impacts of laws and programmes on our communities.

What would be your message to the New Zealanders so disillusioned by politics that they are not planning to vote this election?

Last election, some 630,000 people on the electoral roll did not vote. If a third of those had bothered to turn out to vote, we could have had a different government today. Not voting is just as powerful as voting – except you won’t get change that way. You will get the status quo. So don’t imagine your vote doesn’t count – your non-vote sure as hell does! If you want to change the government, and many in our communities do, you need to vote Labour with your party vote. We have to be in the position to be able to form a government with other parties and we need a clear mandate to do that. No vote – no change.

Please complete the sentence:

  • When I leave politics I would like my political career to be remembered for… remembered for consistency, competence and compassion.
  • Winston Peters is… an extraordinary political phenomenon of Lazarus-like proportions!
  • To be a great Prime Minister you need to have… the constitution of an ox, a clear long term commitment to the welfare of this country, a positive vision of what NZ could truly be, the ability to work hard and sleep little, compassionate leadership qualities and a useful dose of self-doubt!
  • Kim Dot Com is… fun to watch.
  • Nice guys finish… knowing they have achieved their objectives without crucifying others along the way.
  • New Zealand is… the best little democracy in the world which needs to be protected by constant vigilance and an appreciation of what we have before we lose it.
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