So much has happened since the hastily called Hui to discuss the police uniform ban by Auckland Pride last weekend, so we have decided to give you a wrap up of all the actions that have flowed in the past week.
Special Meeting Called
At the Hui a motion was put to call a Special General Meeting of the Auckland Pride Board and this has been set for 6 pm on Thursday 6 December at Pitt Street Methodist Church, 78 Pitt Street Newton.
All Festival Work Paused
The Board also pauses all work on the Parade and Festival for 2019 until the Special meeting takes place.
Sponsors Leave in Droves
Rainbow NZ Charitable Trust (RNZCT) unanimously vote to withdraw sponsorship of the Pride Parade but will support the Pride Festival. Chairperson Gresham Bradley speaking with 1 NEWS labelled the decision by Auckland Pride in banning police uniforms as, “foolhardy, ill-considered and politically naive.”
ANZ Bank pulls support given the conflict. Robbie Ellis from ANZ’s Pride Network said ANZ’s workers had always found the parade to be fun and inclusive. But given the conflict, it was no longer confident that going would be a positive experience. Mr Ellis said ANZ would continue to support the rainbow community, but its resources will be focused on other events.
Bank of New Zealand pulled support for the parade but would intend on being part of other pride events.
Vodafone’s LGBTQI workers said they would not take part in the parade unless the Pride board lifted the ban. The company’s Rainbow Whānau chair Darren Mendonsa said they could not participate in an event that applied different rules for different groups. “Ultimately we believed that we should walk the value of inclusion, which in this case is not working at all if the police were not allowed to wear uniforms at the parade.”
Westpac New Zealand confirmed while the bank would not be taking part in Auckland’s Parade, employees would still be attending Pride in Wellington and Christchurch. “The decision was made by employees who represent and advocate for the rainbow community at Westpac,” he said.
Ponsonby Business Association withdraws support from the parade. “Following the decision of the Auckland Pride Parade 2019 to restrict the New Zealand Police from marching in uniform, the Ponsonby Business Association (PBA) has announced it will be withdrawing all support,” they said in a statement. General Manager of the PBA, Viv Rosenberg, said the police uniform ban means the parade “excludes a valued member of our community in the capacity of which they want to be represented.”
Media Organisation NZME, which publishes the NZ Herald and owns a radio network including Newstalk ZB and ZM, confirmed it was withdrawing as a sponsor. The head of NZME’s diversity committee, Kylie Telford, said: “NZME has made the decision to remove its sponsorship of the Auckland Pride Parade following the board’s decision not to let New Zealand Police walk the parade in uniform.
Other Forces Leave in Support
The New Zealand Defence Force announced they would not be participating in next year’s parade saying they were uncomfortable with the ban on uniformed police participating. 2019 Auckland Pride Parade the Squadron Leader Stu Pearce confirmed to Express Magazine that OverWatch (the NZDF’s LGBTI support network) was consulted for their feelings on whether the NZDF should participate in the Parade if NZ Police were prevented from marching in uniform.
“The unanimous verdict was that we should not be part of an event that discriminates against a fellow uniformed Service. Our Chief People Officer and our senior leadership team were briefed and the decision made that NZDF would look to support other Pride events around NZ.”
Board Members Fall
Board member Verity George left the Pride board following the Hui, which followed on from Treasurer Matty Jackson resigning earlier in the week. George posted on Facebook, “It is with a heavy heart that I announce tonight that I have resigned from my position as an Auckland Pride Festival Board member due to irreconcilable differences.”
Politicians Awaken, Finally
Police Minister Stuart Nash said he was extremely disappointed at the Pride board’s decision. “In the New Zealand of the 21st century, police celebrate diversity and promote inclusion,” he said in a statement.
National’s police spokesman Chris Bishop also said National was opposed to the decision. “It’s a regrettable decision … I think it’s quite sad. As police spokesperson, I know how hard the police have worked to be a more inclusive and diverse organisation.”
ACT party leader David Seymour said it was a shame that the Pride board was practising the politics of exclusion instead of the politics of inclusion. “ACT had planned to enter a float but will not unless there are changes,” Seymour said.
The Prime Minister, who was the first to march in a Pride Parade, took the soft option by sitting on the fence and basically saying nothing in a statement that took Gay Nation almost 12 days to receive. “I do think the parade is at its best when it’s an inclusive event but it’s not a matter for me to determine how the parade is run and who participates in it.”
Ban Supporters Call For Funds
To combat the loss in funding for the parade, supporters of Pride’s Police uniform ban have started a givealittle page to ‘replace Pride’s corporate funding with community pūtea.’ A statement on the page, explains how these funds will be used:
“Pending the results of the upcoming Special General Meeting (SGM) where Auckland Pride members will decide if the current Board stays or not, donations will be gifted to the Auckland Pride Festival Inc to run the Pride parade in 2019.