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Election: Grant Robertson

We asked a bunch of MPs and candidates the same five questions to help you decide where to cast your vote at the end of this month. Today we asked Labour’s Grant Robertson.

Just briefly, what are the five biggest issues this election?

1. Jobs, we need more of them, and a government committed to helping create them.
2. Closing the gap between the rich and the poor. This has grown under National and we need to get back to a fairer society.
3. Not selling assets like our power companies as National is planning. Once they are gone, they are gone forever.
4. Giving children the best start in life. Labour has plan to extend paid parental leave, 24/7 free doctors visits for under sixes and more funding for early childhood education.
5. Increasing incomes to meet the rising cost of living. Labour has policy to lift minimum wage to $15 per hour, first $5000 of income tax free and GST of fresh fruit and vegetables.

What is your stance on gay marriage?
I support marriage equality. We worked very hard to get civil unions which do accord most of the same rights as married couples, but I accept that they do not represent full equality. The promotion of civil unions came in part from those who did not want anything to do with marriage as a concept, so whatever way we achieve equality may well still need to have the choice of civil unions for some people.

What is your stance on gay couples being able to adopt?
I back a total re-write of the adoption law. It comes from the 1950s and does not take into account the way in which adoptions are done nowadays, nor other issues including same sex couples, wh?ngai and other cultural adoption practices. The main thing about a change to the adoption law is to put the interests of the child at the centre of any new law. The Law Commission has done some really good work on this (which includes same sex couples) and our policy is for them to update that work and present a bill to Parliament to be debated.

How can we lower the suicide and attempted suicide rate of GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) and questioning youth in New Zealand?
We do need a comprehensive youth suicide strategy, that includes explicit recognition of the issues of GLBT youth. Suicide is a very complex and sensitive issue, and we need to ensure that programmes undertaken with young people emphasise the importance of talking through issues and problems that they have. Specifically for GLBT youth we would like to see the growth of GSAs in schools and for groups such as Rainbow Youth to be able to undertake more support activities.

What is your view on the To Be Who I Am report?
It is an excellent piece of work, and Labour is committed to working with the HRC to follow through on its recommendations.

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