Key addresses Big Gay Out

The Prime Minister was running late at the Big Gay Out, but when he did turn up thousands flocked to see him.

John Key spent nearly two hours meeting and greeting some of the thousands at the gay pride event at Coyle Park in Point Chevalier, which was also attended by opposition leader Phil Goff and Auckland Mayor Len Brown.

Addressing the colourful crowd, Mr Key said the Government had been true to its word in not rolling back on any gains made for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, including the Civil Unions Bill, introduced by Labour, which Mr Key voted against.

Mr Key told the crowd National under his leadership had a strong record of standing up for gay rights.

But he refused to be drawn on his stance on civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.

Radio host Steven Oats invited Mr Key to his stall and asked him whether he would support civil unions should a conscience vote be held tomorrow.

"I'm leaving it until my book. I know the answer, but just wait until my book," Mr Key said.

The event also raised money for Northland lesbian couple Lindsay Curnow and Juliet Leigh, who lost tens of thousands of dollars when their small flower business was torched and destroyed in an apparent anti-gay attack last month.

A week before the fire, the couple's house, cars and shed were scrawled with abusive anti-gay messages.

Ms Curnow said they had been fearful since the attack and ramped-up security on their property, but had received overwhelming support from their community of Mangawhai.

"It's so important that people understand that labelling and bigotry is really, really such a wasteful, stupid thing and stops you from seeing the potential of a person."

Over $5000 had been raised for the couple.

Auckland Central MP Nicky Kaye said an Auckland Mardi Gras could be on the cards for next year, for which Mr Brown was doing an economic feasibility study.

- NZPA

- Newstalk ZB

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