Police Inspector ‘really offended’ in email to-and-fro with Auckland Pride

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It provides insight into the furore after police were asked to march out-of-uniform in the parade, then withdrew participation, along with the Defence Force. Rainbow New Zealand Charitable Trust pulled its funding, along with a number of other sponsors.

A rival group, Rainbow Pride AKL, has now been launched as a response, and plans to run its own parade complete with uniformed police next year.

Inspector Phillips, coordinator of the police's diversity liaison officerservice, said the additions to the draft joint release weren't "accurate or balanced".

Auckland Pride chairperson Cissy Rock replied,"We felt like we were putting forward a compromise with the 'no uniform but still participating', and you were clear that not one police person would come if not in uniform.

"This is when it did become apparent that finding a way forward was getting less likely. I like how we did try to find a way forward, even though you felt our release wasn't balanced."

The decision to ask police not to march in uniform came after "difficult discussions and community feedback".

"Our intention is to honour our rainbow people that are part of the NZ Police and who are proud of their involvement in progressing policy within the police," Rock wrote.

"However, we do see the police as an institution and it is the institution that we feel doesn't meet the degree of safety and awareness of intersectionality that is needed to satisfy the current community feedback."

Phillips expressed frustration over not understanding what Pride wanted police to change.

Auckland Pride chairperson Cissy Rock speaking at 'Our March' on February 9, 2019 in Auckland.
HANNAH PETERS/GETTY
Auckland Pride chairperson Cissy Rock speaking at 'Our March' on February 9, 2019 in Auckland.

"In order to have effective and positive change we need to understand what you want, I am not sure what that is yet... we are keen to understand what Pride think we need to do."

It also revealed her reasoning as to why the police objected to leaving their uniforms at home.

"The uniform... is part of who we are. We do think that without branding... we are just people walking down the road. Our staff who publicly outed themselves to ensure that we could march are hurting. I don't want to fight – it's exhausting and unproductive.

"What we want is to work with you ... to make things better. Let's find solutions fast and ensure everyone's mana and the parade are intact and celebrated as it should be."

'Our March' arose out of the controversy surrounding the usual pride parade down Ponsonby Rd in Auckland, and instead marched through inner-city Auckland.
ABIGAIL DOUGHERTY/STUFF
'Our March' arose out of the controversy surrounding the usual pride parade down Ponsonby Rd in Auckland, and instead marched through inner-city Auckland.