20 Nov 2018

Pride Parade supporters pull funding over police uniform ban

5:01 pm on 20 November 2018

Two long-time supporters of the Auckland Pride Parade have pulled their funding after police were banned from wearing their uniform.

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Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

There has been heated debate about the decision to ban police officers from wearing their uniforms as part of the annual celebrations.

The Auckland Pride Board said it wouldn't support police wearing their uniform at next year's pride festival - amid concerns the rainbow community still did not feel safe around police.

The Rainbow New Zealand Trust voted unanimously last night to not support any involvement in next year's parade, while the Ponsonby Business Association announced today that it would not support the parade while there were restrictions on people who choose to take part.

The Association said the police were an important part of the community and it could not support the event while they were excluded.

At a meeting last night, members of the Rainbow NZ Trust voted to pull its funding for the parade by seven votes to zero.

The Rainbow New Zealand Trust has helped to fund the parade for the past five years.

However, Trust chair and Auckland Pride Festival founder Gresham Bradley said next year's parade would receive no funding, unless the ban was overturned.

"We are very concerned about the long-term impact this will have on the viablity of Pride, on its reputation, on its credibility with sponsors and indeed within the community."

Mr Bradley said a number of newly-elected trustees were listening to the concerns of a small group within the community.

"While having some concerns that are worthy of being heard - [they] do not justify a decision that as we can see is going was going to jeopordise the entire viability of Auckland Pride itself."

In the past, the trust has provided $10,000 of financial support to the Auckland Pride Festival.

Mr Bradley said the trust would support other events at the festival.

"These events takes many years to build up trust and reputation within the business, government and corporate communities.

"The sponsorship of Auckland Pride is critical to its continuity - they're very expensive events to put on."

In an interview with Morning Report, Auckland Pride chairwoman Cissy Rock said the board wouldn't back down from its decision.

"We're not backtracking on our need to find a way forward and we just think there are so many ways that the police could participate in the parade and that's what we really want," she said.

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