Green MP Jan Logie's 'Rainbow Ministry' idea dismissed by Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Ardern has dismissed a Green MP's idea for a Government ministry responsible for LGBTIQ+ New Zealanders. 

Jan Logie, Green Party spokesperson for rainbow issues, floated the idea of a dedicated 'Rainbow Ministry' at the Friday evening launch of the Wellington Pride Festival.

Speaking to attendees, she said LGBTIQ+ people represent a "significant proportion" of society, but added there is no direct channel for representation into Government.

"We need a voice, whether it's a unit in an existing ministry, or whether it's set up like youth development or the Office for Disability Services," the Parliamentary Under-Secretary said.  

Ms Logie said ministers put in budget bids, "but there's no natural home for where the rainbow budget would sit", hence her proposal for a ministry dedicated to rainbow issues. 

But the Green MP's proposal was dismissed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday, who addressed the issue during her weekly press conference in Wellington. 

"Do I think that there's work to be done on behalf of the LGBTIQ community? Yes. Do I think that's best pursued solely by setting up an agency or a ministry or a department? No," Ms Ardern said.  

Jacinda Ardern admitted there's "work to be done" on behalf of the LGBTIQ+ community.
Jacinda Ardern admitted there's "work to be done" on behalf of the LGBTIQ+ community. Photo credit: Newshub

"I think, actually, the responsibility for some of the issues that we need to pursue exists within the Ministry of Justice, within the Department of Internal Affairs, within education and within health," she added.

"I wouldn't want there to be a sense that the responsibility didn't sit across Government simply by having one agency deemed to assume responsibility."

When asked to respond to the Prime Minister's comments, Ms Logie told Newshub she agrees with Ms Ardern that responsibility for supporting and empowering LGBTIQ+ people and communities sits across many parts of Government.

"As I said at Wellington Pride, LGBTIQ+ people make up a significant proportion of society but have no dedicated channel for representation into Government," she said.

"What's important to me is not the specific mechanism we use to achieve that - it's that we have effective representation and input for LGBTIQ+ people and families in Government decision-making, a point of contact in Government to get help and advice, and the ability to clearly track our progress on these important issues."

Frances Arns, executive director of Rainbow Youth, told Newshub she supports the idea of a dedicated 'Rainbow Ministry', in that it could help LGBTIQ+ people be effectively advocated for and create long-term change in communities. 

"We've seen the 'ministry' structure work for other communities, and provide an effective platform for monitoring and improving the wellbeing of people in those communities. It's a well-established mechanism used by our Government," she said. 

Jan Logie has been an outspoken supporter of LGBTIQ+ people.
Jan Logie has been an outspoken supporter of LGBTIQ+ people. Photo credit: Green Party

"We think there is a lot of potential for it work for rainbow communities. We agree with the Prime Minister that this solely won't achieve the outcomes we need, and a multi prong approach is always most effective."

Ms Arns said New Zealand has a "long way to go" in terms of wellbeing and equity for rainbow communities. She said she was encouraged by the Labour Party's commitments to LGBTIQ+ people, including accurately collecting statistical data and funding research. 

She also recognised the Green Party for pledging $5 million towards establishing and developing peer-led LGBTIQ+ programmes and support in schools. 

Ms Logie has strongly advocated for the LGBTIQ+ community. She openly opposed the Government's decision last month to halt a proposed law for changing sex on birth certificates.