A initiative on Facebook is encouraging people to attend "Auckland Pride Parade dressed as a policeman!" in the wake of the event's controversial ban on uniformed officers.
The Facebook event established today is recruiting people to protest the "pathetic backward decision" of Pride Parade organisers by attending the February 16 event draped in police fancy dress.
Creator of the Facebook event, Stacey Emma Lismore, issued an ultimatum to Pride Parade organisers to reverse their police ban, and has so far recruited nearly 400 people interested in her cause.
"If the decision is not reversed to march in the parade in uniform, I'm turning up dressed as a policewoman in the crowd to support the police! Fancy dress only not imitation," Lismore wrote in the event description.
"Pathetic and immature to suit the pathetic backward decision they made!"
Yesterday Vodafone New Zealand's Rainbow Whānau announced it would pull out of the Pride Parade down Ponsonby Rd over the ban on police in uniform.
The New Zealand Defence Force has also axed its attendance while the Rainbow New Zealand Charitable Trust has pulled its funding in response to the ban.
The parade's board chair Cissy Rock said yesterday that they were committed to still holding the event.
"The 2019 Auckland Pride Parade was always intended to be a place to cultivate our roots in activism and protest. We have always welcomed business groups and institutions who wish to participate in a way that works for the safety of all members of our Rainbow community," Rock said in a statement.
Rock said the board tried to ensure that those who participated in the parade "worked proactively" with them to ensure the safety of the Rainbow community was at the forefront.
"Unfortunately, institutions such as the police were not able to compromise with the Pride board despite months of consultation with the community that highlighted more work needed to be done in order for participants to feel safe with the police's presence in the parade.
"The Pride Parade is so much more than its corporate sponsors or government institutions. It is about our Rainbow community coming together to both celebrate and fight for a future where everyone is free from systemic discrimination.
"We remain open to finding common ground with institutions that are working towards ensuring they are truly Rainbow inclusive, but have yet to get to that point."
Rock said they would continue work on the parade and festival once it had held an upcoming special general meeting with its members.
A Vodafone Rainbow community spokesperson said they remained hopeful the Pride board would change their minds.
"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."
Standing by police was "simply the right thing to do to ... as we would with any excluded group, and insist on inclusion for all".