A furore has erupted over Auckland Pride’s decision to exclude uniformed members of the New Zealand Police Force from marching in next years Pride March, which has now seen the Pride Treasurer resign and calls from across the country for the Board to be sacked.
In a statement, the Auckland Pride Board said they made the decision to exclude the police from marching in uniform after a series f community feedback sessions.
“These discussions indicated that whilst there is goodwill towards the NZ Police, as an institution, they do not currently meet the degree of safety and awareness of intersectionality required by our rainbow communities,” the Board statement stated.
“The Auckland Pride Board is committed to ensuring that the Auckland Pride Parade is a celebration of rainbow community visibility.
Police have now been told they can march as long as they do so in plain or fancy clothes.
As the divisive decision harnessed incredible backlash across social media, Auckland Pride Board Treasurer Matty Jackson announced his resignation from the board and his disapproval of the decision taken.
“I feel strongly about the decisions that were made and stand by my decision to support the police marching in uniform,” Jackson said in a statement on Facebook.
“I can’t honestly support the decisions that were made. My values and that of Auckland Pride are no longer aligned and this is not a decision I have made lightly.
“Being on a board is a difficult role and we all need to be kind to one another. I’ve seen the comments from both sides and whether you support or don’t support the board’s decision please be kind, all of the board are volunteers!”
Speaking with Stuff, Inspector Tracy Phillips, the self-appointed coordinator of the New Zealand Police’s diversity liaison officer (DLO) service said the NZ Police will no longer attend the parade if they weren’t allowed to wear their uniforms.
“We’re really proud of what we do for a job, who we are and the work that we’ve done – so if we’re not welcome, we’re certainly not going to force our way in, and we’ve taken that message as we are not welcome,” Phillips explained to Stuff.
Phillips said she had reached out to the board to find out what they could improve on to change the decision.
“We had said to the organisers, come to us and tell us what we can do better – but no one’s come back to us.
“Our entire police band was going to come this year, our police horses, or police dogs, our rainbow scarf and rainbow car – so I’m really disappointed. But we’ll just keep doing the Mahi in the background, and doing things because it’s the right thing to do.”