The following statement has been issued by the Vodafone NZ Rainbow Whānau:
Following a consultation process, Vodafone New Zealand’s Rainbow Whānau, our LGBTQI+ employee network, has decided not to participate in this year’s Auckland Pride Parade in light of a decision by the Pride Board to ban police participation in uniform.
However, we remain hopeful the Board will change their minds, and in that spirit of optimism are proceeding with our plans to be there on the day. If our hope is realised and the ban is lifted, we will be the first to congratulate and thank the Board for their willingness to listen and respond to the overwhelming call for inclusion. If not, unfortunately, we will not be able to march in February.
Vodafone is proud to have the Rainbow Tick here in New Zealand, and to be recognised globally as a top employer of the LGBTQI+ community. We value and celebrate diversity and inclusion, and we partner with people, organisations and events who share that value.
We have met as a Rainbow Whānau and consulted with our colleagues across the business, and believe we must walk the talk of our value of inclusion, which, in this case, may mean not walking at all.
It’s simply the right thing to do to stand with the Police in this instance, as we would with any excluded group, and insist on inclusion for all. We cannot participate in an event that applies different rules for different groups and seems to be acting contrary to its kaupapa.
We are not in any way delegitimising or disrespecting the concerns of some in the rainbow community who have had bad experiences with the Police. However, we echo the sentiment of the Human Rights Commission and others who have applauded the Police for the steps they have taken to make the LGBTQI+ community feel safe and included, including the addition of 80 community Liaison Officers.
The Auckland Pride Board has said in a statement they have been engaged in ongoing dialogue with the Police since their decision, and we are hopeful that dialogue may result in a reversal of the decision.
If the Board does not opt for inclusion for all, we will not participate in this year’s parade and will look for alternative events for our Vodafone Rainbow Whānau to celebrate their pride.