Labour MP Tamati Coffey believes it’s time for New Zealand to create a ministerial portfolio for rainbow affairs.
“I personally think that we need a minister in government that’s actually in charge of rainbow issues,” he said during a Facebook Live interview with Newshub Nation.
“In Canada I know they’ve got a minister that’s in charge of I think it’s diversity and equity and equality, and I think that’s something we could absolutely do with someone in that kind of role down here in Wellington.”
Coffey said a minister dedicated to LGBTI issues would help end discrimination against the community, adding that he has “so much faith” in younger people to help improve the lives of LGBTI people.
“We’ve moved as a society into a place where actually being gay is not a terrible thing; it’s not illegal anymore, actually you can be the person you want to be and if you want to have a family you just need to make it happen,” he said.
Elected to parliament for the first time at the 2017 election as the MP for Waiariki, Coffey married his partner, Tim Smith, in 2011.
Coffey said he hopes to be the next MP to become a new parent with his husband, after initially believing when he was younger that he might never be able to have children.
“It’s not easy to be a gay couple that is trying to embark on having a family, there’s quite a few hoops we need to jump through but we feel ready,” he said.
“When I came out one of the reasons I didn’t want to come out was because I thought to myself, that means I won’t be able to have kids … but actually it’s 2018, we have the wonders of modern science.”
Coffey, who owns a small bar in Rotorua called Ponsonby Road, formerly worked as a television presenter, hosting New Zealand’s Got Talent, and was also a roving weather man on breakfast TV.
When Coffey won Dancing with the Stars in 2009 he donated his winnings to Rainbow Youth, an organisation advocating for young LGBTI people.