Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Georgina Beyer joins Mana Party

Georgina Beyer in her Wellington apartment. Photo / New Zealand Herald / Mark Mitchell
Georgina Beyer in her Wellington apartment. Photo / New Zealand Herald / Mark Mitchell

Fomer Labour MP Georgina Beyer will stand for the Mana Party in Te Tai Tonga, saying she was doing so partly to atone for voting for the Foreshore and Seabed Act in 2004.

Ms Beyer was New Zealand's first trans-sexual MP, serving under Labour from 1999 to 2007. She has struggled with kidney disease since last year but said her health was now steady and she was looking forward to a new challenge.

"When approached about the role, there were a few things to consider as there always are. Taking on this role is my way of making amends to Maori for voting for the foreshore and seabed bill which I was forced into and which totally broke me."

Mana leader Hone Harawira said Ms Beyer would help raise the profile of the Mana Party.

"Georgina's a respected household name in politics so she's an important part of helping achieve that goal. We feel honoured to have her."

Ms Beyer, a former Carterton Mayor, was elected as MP for Wairarapa in 1999 and served with the Labour Party until February 2007, taking a prominent role in bringing in prostitution reform and civil union legislation.

Mr Harawira said she was an ideal fit for the party.

"She's strong-minded, stands up to be counted, and has fought for the rights of those who haven't had any - and won."

She has links to the Te Tai Tonga electorate, which covers all of the South Island and part of the lower North Island, through her Te Ati Awa and Ngati Mutunga whakapapa.

In her valedictory speech to Parliament last week, Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia paid tribute to Ms Beyer, saying that when Mrs Turia left the Labour Party in 2004 Ms Beyer "sacrificed her political aspirations to stand alongside of me at Ratana."

- NZ Herald

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