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PM avoids Big Gay Out speech

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/02/2017

Prime Minister Bill English has denied he avoided speaking at Sunday's Big Gay Out event in Auckland because of his past opposition to gay marriage.

His predecessor, John Key, enthusiastically embraced the event as a speaker each year, while deputy PM Paula Bennett on Sunday picked up the speaker's duty on behalf of the government.

Mr English told Radio NZ he did not expect to have been specially heckled at the event if he spoke because the gay community was politically diverse with many National supporters among its ranks.

"At community events, I also think if people are enjoying themselves there is no need to be political if you are just there to meet them," he said.

He said he had changed his mind on gay marriage and no longer opposed it or thought there was a need to change the law now it had become legal.

"As I explained yesterday, time's passed, the legislation's gone through, people are getting on with their lives," he said on Morning Report.

"It seems to be working fine, it doesn't affect other people's marriages and so there's no reason to change it."

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