Meet our GLBT parliamentary candidates: Tamati Coffey.

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Tamati Coffey is the Labour Party candidate for Rotorua.

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

The three greatest issues facing New Zealand right now, are child poverty (250,000 Kids below the poverty line), Jobs and the un-affordability of healthcare, which encourages people not to go.

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What have you done thus far to help?

As a first time candidate there isn’t much I have personally done to help alleviate these issues for the people of Rotorua, however the Labour Party have committed to strong policies which will help alleviate child poverty, like our Best Start policies. We will create jobs, especially in my region, with our focus on Regional Development and we have provide free doctors visits and prescriptions for children under 13, for pregnant mothers and for citizens over 65.

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

As the MP for Rotorua my job is to ensure that these policies are well-implemented. I repeatedly tell the people of Rotorua to hold me accountable, as I will hold the Labour Party accountable. As a first term MP, I pledge to make myself available to my people, to listen, to learn and to do everything I can to help.

Why should our readers give you their party vote?

I would hope that your readers would party vote Labour because of our strong record of campaigning and supporting all peoples of New Zealand. We are the party of the people and that is reflected in our inclusive policy for all New Zealanders. We have always been there for new migrants, workers and the Gay Community – fighting hard. We will continue to champion the rights of all people to be treated as equal under the law here in Aotearoa, we always have and we always will.

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

I believe that the biggest issue currently facing the GLBT Community is pushing for greater recognition for our Transgender whanau. We have made amazing progress for the equal rights of Gay and Lesbian and now it’s time for us to push forward so that all of us under the rainbow umbrella can stand tall and proud.

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

I am thinking of perhaps creating a multi-level approach to assisting the Transgender whanau. Firstly, I would like to push our schools in New Zealand to provide better facilities to cater for our young transgender kids. 4% of all Teenagers are registering themselves as “other” and yet are finding themselves without bathrooms or changing rooms they can use at school. This needs to be changed. I also think that we could create better resources to help normalise gender and sexuality changes for our GLBT kids, resources for teachers and also resources that are targeted at our kids, so that they as a social group can all accept any differences that may occur with their peers to aid understanding and acceptance for all. Lastly and perhaps the most difficult is making the changes to New Zealand law for the recognition of Transgender whanau, so that they have the equal rights they deserve as citizens of Aotearoa!

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

Please vote. It is the most powerful single tool you have to making sure that there is a government which best reflects your beliefs and attitude. In some areas, people are not motivated because the local candidate may not share their views, however there is a party out there that will – that’s Labour! We need your support to continue the work we have been doing for our community and your party vote matters to us. We are your party and I pledge to keep us a party for the people.

When I leave politics I would like my political career to be remembered for… being a politician who fought for the people of New Zealand, who stood for what’s right and fair, regardless of my personal welfare or the changing of political winds.

Winston Peters is… the wily old fox of New Zealand politics.

To be a great Prime Minister you need… to have humility and ensure that your party and yourself are always listening to the people of New Zealand.

Kim Dot Com is… a really tall, wealthy and german.

Nice guys finish.. the job and keep their word. The other guys are called Nats.

New Zealand is… our Kainga Tuturu. It’s my heart, my land, my people and I will fight for the ideals for equality and fairness for all, because that’s what our Grandparents fought for.

 Articles | Oliver Hall

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