Breaking down the 2020 New Zealand Green Party vision for rainbow communities

Also see the next post: The whitest rainbow: 2020 New Zealand Green Party's LGBTQIA+ policies

It's election season 2020 in Aotearoa and the Green Party has published a “vision” document with a range of interesting policies. I am interested in all of them, but especially the Rainbow communities policy (page 30). While much of the document was encouragingly progressive, I was disappointed to find a casual, lacklustre rainbow policy, whose premise and recommendations were implicitly racist, contradicted the rest of the vision, and especially defeated the Think ahead slogan of the season.

And yet, I see the policy being lauded on social media — especially by Pākehā LGBTQIA+ people.

So I'd like to break this policy down and hopefully show why it falls short of the standards the Greens set themselves.


My interest is personal, as a queer trans woman, and as a tauiwi immigrant from Chennai. I have been caught in a double-bind living between the Indian diaspora, and the very distinct and separate rainbow communities, in Aotearoa. This experience taught me to notice how gaps appear between pigeonholed categories of marginalized people, and how those at the intersections can fall through them.

As a nearly-definite Greens voter, finding fault with their policies is not likely to make me vote for a greater evil. But it still remains disappointing, and it still remains important to dispel misconceptions in policy-making for the future. I am not here to tell you how to vote.


The Greens are positioned as one of the most progressive parties in the field. That sets a high standard, and invites scrutiny of their policies, which tend to lead other parties'.

This election's Greens slogan, Think ahead, also promises a great deal, and provides a useful lens to analyze their policy with.

The vision document sets out promises for the next term that the Greens may be in power. So it's worth reading carefully and strictly. Even if a policy is in writing, politics is already a cynical place where the implementation may vary; if it's not in writing, we have a problem. So we can't risk being too charitable.

What's wrong with the rainbow communities policy?

To evaluate the rainbow policy, let's go through it closely — line-by-line. It's only a single page with two columns.

But first, let's reiterate our approach: Think ahead. What does this mean for rainbow communities? How can a policy respond to the challenges that rainbow communities face today and will in the future?

A minimal graphic of text on a green background, that reads 'Think ahead', 'Act now', followed by the line, 'Our green vision for Aotearoa'

Here are some Think ahead ideas to keep in mind as we dive in:

I would hope to find some recognition of these kinds of trends in the policy.

I would especially hope for some recognition of the different marginalizations faced by indigenous, nonwhite migrant and refugee, Disabled, and older people.

Let's see what the policy offers.

Reading the policy

We'll go left-to-right, top-to-bottom, line-by-line.

A reduced screenshot of a document page showing two columns, the first titled 'Rainbow communities', followed by a few paragraphs of text and blank space; the second titled, 'We will', followed by about eight bullet points in a list

The premise (first column)

We start with the title, “Rainbow communities”. This is promising, because it recognizes that there is no single, monolithic rainbow community. Now I'm curious to know what diversity the Greens have identified among rainbow communities.

The opening sentence is also promising:

Aotearoa is strongest when everyone can be themselves, free from discrimination.

It's broad, but good to establish the principle.

The next paragraph begins with a more revealing line:

The Green Party celebrates diversity and encourages understanding of all people […]

So far, so good.

[…] including diversity of gender, sex, and sexual orientation.

Ah. Now we have a problem.

The picture the Greens are painting shows how reductively they view the LGBTQIA+ communities. This must be a predominantly white, likely affluent group, for whom the key difference internally is only the variety of gender, sex or sexual orientation. White stripes.

The true picture of the LGBTQIA+ community is a multicultural, multi-hued mosaic of race, ethnicity, class, wealth, disability, age, and more. Importantly, these variations affect the kinds of discrimination people face, and the power they are afforded — which should make a difference in how policies are drafted. But it is not mentioned.

The paragraph continues with:

In Government, we’ve started to make changes such as ensuring the next Census contains questions about gender identity, and secured funding to start clearing decades long waiting lists for gender affirming surgeries.

I won't digress into the coalition government's record, except to say it is like a sad, wilted lettuce.

The wording, “starting to make changes such as ensuring […]“, is something out of a '70s political comedy. The Census changes have not been decisive; one Census has already run without amendments; the next one may be changed subject to an embarrassing informal referendum (feedback survey) rather than expert design. If this is the leading item to promote their record, it must be entirely dismal.

The second claim about gender affirming surgeries is interesting in that it makes no reference to the differential access that people have to the service — poorer, Disabled, nonwhite people may face greater barriers and that should be identified as a problem to address. Instead, it goes unmentioned, to support the myth of a successful executive and legislative record.

The final paragraph begins:

Rainbow communities deserve acceptance, and equal opportunities in law and in practice.

That's another laudable applause line. But we already established this kind of generality at the top. It's frustrating to see a stubborn refusal to acknowledge the internal diversity of LGBTQIA+ people — especially indigenous people — and instead inflating the page with filler text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

The paragraph goes on:

For too long, people have been marginalised through legislative barriers, discrimination, prejudice, and a lack of awareness and understanding.

Listen to me when I tell you: this is “all lives matter” in more words. It raises questions like, “which people?”, “what are the barriers then?”, “precisely who is discriminating?”, “say it: who is facing which prejudice?“, and, “which groups are lacking awareness and understanding, and how can it be appropriately addressed?”.

That lack of specific understanding of intersectional experiences suggests that, firstly, the party machinery is dominated by cis-heteronormative people who view the rainbow policy as throwing a bone to a single-issue constituency; and secondly, that the policy was drafted by people who are out of touch with the depth of diversity in the community, most likely because they are Pākehā and of affluent means. They have enabled each other to end up with this hot mess on page 30.

None of the premises' vagaries get at the kinds of issues we came up with under the Think ahead slogan. Tino rangatiratanga? Takatāpui Māori self-determination? Ethnic diversity, including nonwhite migrants and refugees? Disabled, aging, unhoused LGBTQIA+ people? Some combination of all of these? No word, just a telling silence.

See, where the prevailing norm in society is to promote Pākehā representation and power over all else (especially in rainbow media and organizations), and a policy fails to be explicitly anti-racist, it becomes like, “I don't see colour”, “non-racist”, or, in other words, racist by omission. We can say the same for disableism and so on.

But perhaps I am being too harsh? Maybe the tangible recommendations will save us?

The tangible recommendations (second column)

The recommendations are given in a bullet-point list of about eight items, plus a breakout highlight that invokes recommendations from an external report. Let's work through the list.

An excerpt of a screenshot showing an orange heading that reads, 'We will'

Office for Rainbow Communities

We will:

Create an Office for Rainbow Communities, tasked with developing and implementing a plan to improve LGBTQIA* rights, championing rainbow issues, and providing a point of government contact for rainbow communities

Sounds reasonable, right?

What if I proposed an alternative policy?

We will:

Create a partnership agency with takatāpui Māori in the spirit of te Tiriti, including LGBTQIA+ representation from Aotearoa's diverse, multicultural communities, to determine plans to improve rights through their own communities, and oversee service delivery of healthcare and support systems, and providing points of contact for rainbow individuals, whānau, or communities.

I made this up in a few minutes; but it's already a substantively better approach to advance tino rangatiratanga through equal partnership and enabling self-determination, while including multicultural Aotearoa at the table. It does not propose to create another wonky, settler-colonial Crown entity embedded into an inaccessible, Pākehā-dominated parliamentary structure. Such a conventional body would inevitably, and by design, be run by more-privileged, more-white, more-wealthy people, rather than the grassroots community representatives among tangata whenua, or nonwhite migrant and refugee, or Disabled communities.

If we must Think ahead, then we must create new partnerships that substantially share power beyond Parliament. If we must Think ahead, we must also look to serve the under-served LGBTQIA+ populations from our ethnically-diverse minorities, as we anticipate even more growth among those demographics.

The alternative policy should seem familiar if you have read the rest of the Greens' vision document. The Kaupapa Māori healthcare policy tells us:

We will:

Fund primary health care provision through Māori organisations, overseen by a new Māori health agency, with particular focus on remote areas with significant health disparities.

So why wasn't a similar principled approach taken for the rainbow communities policy? Is the rainbow constituency so deeply-entrenched as a white-coded population that it never even occurred to mention takatāpui Māori even once on the page, let alone to propose an equal partnership according to the Kaupapa Māori policy? Did the Rainbow communities policy author(s) not speak or listen to the Māori policy author(s)? Something has gone terribly wrong.

Now, you might rebut this by saying there is a Kaupapa Māori policy, after all, and it states, “We will prioritise policies that promote iwi and hapū self-determination across all areas, …”. So any charitable reader must understand that where an Office for Rainbow Communities is to be created, it will — reading between the lines — include takatāpui Māori at some stage of its implementation. I mean, the Greens are the good guys, so won't they do the right thing?

Nonsense. Give it to me in writing or I won't even begin to believe it. Reading charitably between the lines is excessively naïve. Desperately marginalized people will be looking to progressive parties like the Greens to set a truly Think ahead standard, and if good intentions will not even get written explicitly in a high-level vision document, it doesn't exist. This is exactly how people at the intersections of identities (and policies) fall through the cracks.

A race-uninformed policy like this may be well-intentioned, but it has the opposite effect. A better way to re-read the original policy goes like:

We will:

Create an Office for Pākehā Rainbow Communities, tasked with developing and implementing a plan to improve Pākehā LGBTQIA* rights, championing Pākehā rainbow issues, and providing a point of Pākehā government contact for Pākehā rainbow communities.

That is how it looks when the default, prevailing view of society is applied literally, and left unchallenged. That is what this Office for Rainbow Communities looks like to me. It looks like every other governmental or non-governmental organization that has anything to do with the rainbow communities. Another institution likely to be dominated by Pākehā and their interests; another queue to join at the back; another external authority to appeal to for mercy and support. It does not look like representation or self-determination — not to me, as a tauiwi migrant, and I would guess, not to tangata whenua.

There is an irony in all of this. As we argue about whether to explicitly highlight racial and disability inequities within the rainbow communities, you might be tempted to suggest that it need not be said at all, because, anyway, the general categories of diversity in sex, gender and sexual orientation are sufficient. Those umbrella headings presume some racial or ethnic diversity among them. Right?

If that's so, then why do we even need an Office for Rainbow Communities. If that's so, then why is it not enough to operate under a broad umbrella of human rights law? If LGBTQIA+ rights are human rights already, why is a special Office necessary?

Obviously, the motivation for the Office is that there are failures in the application or interpretation of human rights law generally. There is work to do, to improve the way policies and laws are made, to account for the interests of the mosaic of rainbow communities, who often fall through the gaps.

So then why not apply the same logic within the rainbow policy? If we are intent upon locating the more-discriminated people who fall through the gaps at intersections of broader policy, then must we not recognize those within the rainbow communities who are under-served? Must we not explicitly name those groups and propose policy responses to bridge the gaps?

Conversion therapy

The second recommendation is, simply:

We will:

Ban conversion therapy.

I appreciate how short and decisive it is as a policy statement. But it raises more questions, which probably could have been noted in the bullet point.

Firstly, what does the policy mean for those who have already been traumatized by conversion therapy? Will there be a support package, or some kind of targeted care made available?

Secondly, what does the policy mean for the future (thinking ahead), and how it will deal with unintended consequences? For instance, it may drive conversion therapy underground, perhaps reducing the number of victims, but raising the risk for those who would be still subjected to it. At a high level, is there a strategic approach the Greens would take to address this risk? What would be the policy to reach and divert, say, families contemplating conversion therapy (even if it is illegal)?

Thirdly, considering that the nature of conversion therapy varies, often along racial, ethnic or cultural lines, what sensitive and targeted variations in policy would the ban's enforcement and support services take to be more effective? For example, those with roots overseas may be able to refer dependent family members to conversion therapy outside Aotearoa; can this be mitigated?

The questions it raises could be presumed to be more relevant for a select committee or parliamentary analysis, and not worth mentioning in a high-level vision statement. But that isn't the case. Many of the other policies in the vision document get very specific, in terms of numbers to three significant figures, percentages, and the like. Some policies name names. I feel like a reductive three-word policy could be expanded with a couple of clauses to at least indicate that the Greens are aware of the seriousness and complexities of conversion therapy in the real world, and what needs to be done beyond declaring a ban (which could otherwise be only symbolic).

As a reader and prospective voter, I am left with the impression that this was a hastily arranged policy, and not the product of a representative policy development group or process.

The world's great white hope

The third bullet point goes:

We will:

Take an active role internationally to promote human rights issues in relation to rainbow communities throughout the world.

Now this is laughable, in the context of the shambolic proposal for an Office for Rainbow Communities, which neglected to even mention takatāpui Māori, let alone those of other international origins actually living in this country and being under-served.

The proposal reeks of white saviour-ism.

Something to note about this recommendation is its striking similarity to the policy on Global affairs, both of which wholly overlook the role of tangata whenua in foreign relations. The settler government takes a seemingly condescendingly-paternalistic view of liaising with the rest of the world; let the grown-up Pākehā do it, rather than (co-equal) Māori.

Before the settler government takes its brow-beating stick to remind the world of human rights, I humbly suggest that it does something more like this:

The Crown's government does not know how to reach out to and relate to migrants and refugees who are already resident within its own claimed jurisdiction. It doesn't know how to extend its policies and services to support marginalized minorities within minorities, who (at the risk of being repetitive) keep falling through the gaps. How can the Crown expect to promote human rights in the countries of those people's origin? It's wishful thinking. Snap out of it.

Institutional education

This recommendation says:

We will:

Support initiatives to educate institutions, including Local and Central Government, about Rainbow issues.

This need not have been a disputable recommendation, if the Office for Rainbow Communities (which will doubtless be involved) had been a partnership with Māori and others. It could also have been more acceptable, had the Office been proposed with a more limited remit, perhaps to act as an internal quality-control agency, a support service for other government bodies, or a sort of think tank. In that case, it would have been a means to promote education on rainbow issues, within the Crown's own ecosystem of institutions — little more than a footnote in the policy programme.

Instead, the Office for Rainbow Communities is a key item, and it takes away oxygen from the idea of forming partnerships with takatāpui Māori, who could well lead efforts to educate not only Pākehā institutions, but also determine how to relate to iwi, hapū and whānau on rainbow issues. An inclusive programme like this could be extended with tauiwi communities owning their own cultural education on rainbow issues. Another lost opportunity.

The Human Rights Commission's recommendations

This breakout item (which, incidentally, is formatted in low-contrast text, which is a disableist design) outsources the bulk of the Greens' rainbow policy to the Human Rights Commission's Prism report and its recommendations.

While that does significantly improve the Greens' policy so far, it is still limited in many of the same ways as we have already seen.

The Prism report is afflicted by the same blinkered view of “SOGIESC” (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Expression, Sexual Characteristics) communities being predominantly white. Although the report claims it makes recommendations according to te Tiriti, it isn't clear to me that is the case. Many of the policy recommendations, in my view, do not satisfy te Tiriti obligations, but merely tinker around the edges of existing oppressive policy (such as incarceration of takatāpui Māori). Because it is limited in its scope to such changes, it only gives token recognition to the co-equal partner in te Tiriti.

The bulk of the Prism report neglects the needs of nonwhite migrant and refugee SOGIESC folks. Although there are rare references to such diversity in some of the research notes, the recommendations fall well short. Besides a perfunctory recommendation about managing identity documents issued in other countries, it fails to capture the nature of the problems these minorities face, or what could be done to address them.

As just one example, some folks from nonwhite, migrant or refugee, and heavily-religious backgrounds, which may also be more collectivist/familial in orientation, face a hard time dealing with the double-bind of retaining their traditional roots but finding space for their own SOGIESC identity. In policy terms, this can affect the kind of mental health support that should be offered, or the ways other healthcare should be delivered, or how messaging in education should be designed, or the kinds of community links and partnerships that need to be built (perhaps with an Office of Rainbow Communities — if it is to be useful), or how transitional housing services could be more accommodating, and so on. There needs to be a recognition of how these people get undercounted in data collection — they may not appear in the statistics for worse outcomes, but rather disappear because they are not in the inputs for those statistics. That is, they may be forced to remain closeted, avoid (culturally-inappropriate) support services, or fear acknowledging their own identities even if it is in an anonymous survey.

There are many more variations of intersectional situations like this — think about disability, poverty, etc.

For all the good in the Prism report, it buries inclusion of this kind of diversity under the word “all”, such as:

Develop, implement, and monitor anti-discrimination workplace policies through community consultation which are inclusive of all people with a diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics.

Notice how it chooses to break down the SOGIESC categories, but does not acknowledge the racialized and class-based divisions too.

The Prism report itself notes that, when collecting data, it may be that people with diverse cultural identification beyond the Western constructs of gender, sex or sexual orientation, can become excluded where those colonial terms are imposed, instead of acknowledging a variety of identities. Then the report goes on to frame its analysis and recommendations in exactly those ill-fitting, reductive terms throughout.

The introduction and framing of the whole report fails to acknowledge future trends — it is more of a backward-looking, recent snapshot. So it further misses out on the significance of ethnic diversity and the growing demands that will be put on the ecosystem of rainbow services and institutions.

While the report identifies a high incidence of disability in the SOGIESC community, it makes few (if any) substantive recommendations to address problems like accessibility of already-limited services and support systems.

In all these ways and more, the Prism report is itself a lacklustre presentation. It does not broaden the horizons of the Greens' rainbow policy except by proposing more of the same, i.e. Pākehā benefits. It does no harm to support the Prism report's recommendations, if that support expanded on it in ways that made up for its shortcomings. Sadly, the Greens' policy does not add much to the Prism report.

The Human Rights Act

At last, a reasonable recommendation:

We will:

Amend the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics.

This is perhaps the most straightforward policy item and the only disappointment is that it represents the apex of the Greens' surviving policy proposals for rainbow communities.

An amendment to the Human Rights Act is long overdue and I hope the Greens are not so far ahead that other parties will not support it.

One thing to note is that this is one of the Prism report's recommendations, so the Greens are repeating themselves. Or they have selectively highlighted it as a key policy item, but then it would raise questions about what parts of the Prism report they value more than others.

The Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill

Another policy item that gives effect to a Prism report recommendation:

We will:

Pass the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill so the process of changing gender markers on birth certificates is based on self-identification.

Firstly, I support passing the BDMRR Bill. So I am glad to see this is also a Greens policy recommendation.

Secondly, it continues to be disappointing in much the same way as other policies. The BDMRR amendment is so banal and limited that it is surprising it would become a focal point of transphobic attack. But, here we are.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and I have not fully understood the intricacies of the current law, let alone the new amendment.

But by my layperson's reading of the change, it mainly proposes to bypass the Family Court for updating birth certificates, and to require a statutory declaration to self-identify, similar to the process for updating a passport. What may be misunderstood in the public, is that the statutory declaration process is itself clumsy and daunting (especially for those divided by racial or ethnic privilege). I certainly find it hard to navigate the system for passports as it is. So I view the BDMRR change as unambitious — certainly, it is not a Think ahead policy, which might have modernized the entire identity system for the 21st century.

Besides this, I am also struggling to navigate the system for birth certificates, considering that mine was issued by another country and probably could not be updated to reflect gender transition. When I see a policy like the BDMRR change, I don't see a policy for me — it doesn't streamline the process of perhaps re-issuing a birth certificate locally and updating its details. Something like this was part of the Prism report, as a token nod to SOGIESC immigrants and refugees. It is interesting that, of the Prism recommendations, the Greens chose to highlight the BDMRR change but did not offer anything to do with handling foreign documents (that's left buried in a wonky, third-party policy report). This is what being at the back of the line looks like, sometimes.

Healthcare priorities

This could be a big topic, but it's vaguely summarized:

We will:

Address the healthcare needs of rainbow people by prioritising the needs of intersex, transgender, and non-binary people, giving them the respect they deserve.

That reads as indecisive fluff. I want to know: what healthcare needs have the Greens identified? Is it back to the inadequate Prism report again? What does “prioritising” mean? As a trans woman, will I now have the privilege of bumping cis people off my GP's calendar to fit in an urgent booking? Or something less facetious?

This is a vision document, so I don't want fine details. I still want to know if the healthcare needs they secretly identified happen to account for racial and ethnic disparities (in measurable system outputs but also uncounted inputs). I want to know if priority in healthcare means changes to PHARMAC's treatment for hormone replacement medication (not an indicated use, currently).

How does this exemplify Think ahead thinking? Where does rainbow healthcare policy land in terms of Māori sovereignty? How would it tie into the Kaupapa Māori healthcare policy of introducing a new Māori health agency? Where do tauiwi migrants and refugees fit in, considering the growing demographics? How does climate change disruption to pharmaceutical supply chains affect marginalized groups like trans people dependent on PHARMAC's non-indicated medication?

The whole point is a vague bundle of feel-good vibes and not a serious policy recommendation. I must now urgently visit my doctor to remedy my grievously pulled leg.

Very specifically, schools and/or workplaces

What is this?

We will:

Ensure schools are inclusive and safe, and workplaces are free from discrimination.

What does it mean?

Are these words?

Of course, I have questions about what an inclusive schools policy looks like, or how a discrimination-free workplace will come about from this policy. Of course, the Prism report makes slightly more specific recommendations — but then why highlight these vague ideas here?

It makes no sense.

Why stop at schools? Why not tertiary institutions too? Or is that colloquially included in the “schools” umbrella?

Do words mean things?

Why stop at workplaces? Is it because the comfortable Ponsonby Pākehā collective that wrote this policy is unconcerned by unemployment? The Prism report also mentions “unemployment” a grand total of three times, and never in its recommendations. How affluent. It's as if discrimination at WINZ isn't a problem to the authors.

Was this written five minutes before a deadline? Did the author have to call it a night and submit their work incomplete? Are they expecting a barely-passing grade for this exercise?

Space intentionally left blank

The conspicuous blank spaces after the first and second columns tell a lot.


They tell us the authors weren't constrained by space limits when they left out all that they left out. It says they intentionally left out words that would make their promises explicitly anti-racist, anti-disableist, anti-discriminatory. It says they chose to perpetuate systems of inequity within the rainbow communities they purport to represent.

What all recommendations could have taken up that space? What a demonstrable waste.

We could have had policies touching on HIV+ rainbow folks. I am badly-informed about this issue, but as a voter, who tries to listen to others in the rainbow communities, I am aware there are concerns and policy wishes which are unaddressed. Yes, the Prism report. No, I don't care if it makes a passing mention. Yes, the generic “healthcare” statement. No, it isn't clear enough.

We could have had policies reaching an aging cohort of LGBTQIA+ elders. What does effective regulation of aged care services look like that protect folks who may be vulnerable to discrimination late in life? Yes, the Prism report mentions it in its notes and in a general recommendation about promoting more information to institutes. No, that isn't enough.

We could have had policies focusing on Disabled rainbow folks. Not only from the aging cohort but all those who are at that intersection already today, including Disabled Māori and other ethnic minorities facing triple threats. The Disability policy, separately from the Rainbow communities policy, is also very racially white-coded, and there is no mention of intersecting issues, such as inaccessibility of rainbow-specific care and support services and resources.

We could have had policies about housing LGBTQIA+ people who are more prone to insecure accommodation due to discrimination and poverty. The Housing policy neglects this subset of the population. The Rainbow communities policy neglects the same subset. So into the gaps we fall. The Prism report? It will “provide comprehensive resources”, to landlords, “outlining how [SOGIESC people] are protected under [law]“. I'm sure all those extra brochures will make for fine insulation material when those landlords get around to complying with the dry homes policy.

We could have had policies about embracing rainbow immigrants and refugees, for whom finding safety can be difficult. An explicit recommendation could expand the share of rainbow asylum seekers and refugees among the increased total quota of 5,000 named in the Immigration and refugees policy. Between both policies, there could be an orientation programme to welcome and support rainbow folks (not only providing English, te Reo, kaupapa Māori and civics education). The Immigration and refugees policy aims for impartiality “regarding countries of origin, ethnicities, cultures, age, gender, and sexual orientation”, but fails to distinguish sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual characteristics, which might leave intersex people to fall between the gaps. One might expect the Rainbow communities policy to pick up these points.

There's so much more that could have been part of this rainbow policy, perhaps even instead of founding a misguided Crown office and international evangelism.


Words matter, because this document is a promise that marginalized people can use to hold the Greens to account later. If those words are missing, the promise is missing.

The Greens' rainbow policy falls under a category called, unironically, “Fairer communities”. Yes, it is truly a policy for the fairer communities among us.

Among other policy pages in the same category of social issues, a very trivial analysis shows that almost every one somehow incorporates te reo Māori in its presentation. Sometimes it is a minimal, token effort — most clearly in white-coded, paternalistic policy areas like Disability, and Global affairs. But all the same, for a superficial analysis, there is some acknowledgement of whose whenua we are on. In other cases, like the Kaupapa Māori policy, it is not just kupu Māori but substantive power-sharing embedded in the policy that perhaps reveals a sensibility towards respecting mana whenua and te Tiriti.

On the rainbow policy page? Not a word. Zero acknowledgement of takatāpui Māori. Not a nod towards te Tiriti. Doesn't figure into the policy at all. Not even silently in substance.

The strongest policy point is, supposedly, the outsourced Prism report's recommendations, which itself is arguably a weak platform for its own oversights.

It is an odd experience reading through the Greens' vision document and getting a feeling of unevenness in the policy development. Clearly, some policies were produced by and for Pākehā. Clearly, others were made with involvement or leadership by tangata whenua. Clearly, almost none were inclusive of tauiwi nonwhite migrants and refugees.


Is it a good policy? Relatively. Probably. If this is what the Greens can do, then this is the best we are likely to get this election.

Will I review other parties' policies like this? Probably not. I am judging this policy by the standards the party has set for itself, and the hopes I project onto it. I have less faith in most other parties.

Should votes change for this policy? I mean, as deficient as this policy is, it shows how much work is left to do. As a queer and trans person, I would still choose to vote Green for this obnoxiously misguided if well-intentioned policy. And then I would ask how the mess can be cleaned up for next time.