Bill English mixes and mingles at Big Gay Out

Big Gay Out newbie Bill English got a guided tour in Auckland on Sunday.

He was all up for a mix and mingle in the family stall area but shied away from taking the main stage like his predecessor John Key.

"It's like at a community event, so I don't speak if I don't need to," Mr English said.

He was more comfortable facing the crowds on Saturday at a shearing event but as his MPs helpfully pointed out, this is different.

When asked if he was going to have a bit of a boogie at the event, Mr English said: "No, no I don't think I've quite got the moves that some of them would have."

He left his deputy Paula Bennett to steal the limelight on and off the stage while his opponent, Labour leader Andrew Little, was more than happy to take his share of the limelight too.

"I will continue to come to the Big Gay Out and stand on the stage, and speak," he said.

For Mr English, a self-described proud Catholic, his track record on supporting the LGBT community is a vote against civil unions in 2003 and marriage equality in 2012.

But he pulled a convenient moral u-turn as soon as he was confirmed as National leader, saying he now supports marriage equality.

Mr English says he wouldn't call it a moral u-turn, "but we could have a long, complicated argument about that".

Mr Key cemented Big Gay Out as a political event by engaging in all the day had to offer - from pink shirts and glitter bombs to dancing with queens and beer pong.

But Mr English says that's not really his scene.

"I'm a new Prime Minister and I've done it a bit differently," he said.

It would've been a tough call to come to Big Gay Out, given Mr English's previous conservative stances.

Taking the stage would have been a massive gamble - no one could have predicted the reception he would get - so instead, he chose to play it safe.