Jacinda Ardern dodges Pride Parade debate, says diary will dictate if she marches

As controversy continues to surround the Auckland Pride Parade, veteran marcher Jacinda Ardern refused to say today whether she'll participate again next year.

But the Prime Minister suggested she might have an answer in a couple of weeks, declining also to jump into the debate about the ban on police officers marching in uniform.

"I have seen a lot of the debate that's swirling around at the moment," Ms Ardern told TVNZ 1's Breakfast today. "I've been involved and marched before, many years, and always enjoyed the fact it's been an inclusive parade. But those are matters for the organisers."

The main issue regarding her own involvement, the Prime Minister suggested today, is that she hasn't yet checked her diary to see if she will be in Auckland on the day of the parade.

"I get in trouble when I commit when I'm not there," she said, also declining to answer a hypothetical question from presenter Hayley Holt about whether she would march if it turns out her diary is clear. "Please let me check first. I'm not going to raise expectations until I go through that."

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    The Prime Minister was popular among the thousands of spectators on Auckland's Ponsonby Road. Source: 1 NEWS

    Over the past week, sponsors have abandoned the Pride Parade en masse over the decision to ban uniformed officers due to historical antagonism between law enforcement and the LGBTQI community. In recent years, New Zealand Police officers had participated in uniform and last year dedicated a rainbow-striped squad car to the procession.

    The Prime Minister's non-committal response today seemed to have at least one sceptic that she was being genuine.

    "That is super convenient," Breakfast co-host Jack Tame said of her diary issue immediately after the interview concluded, suggesting that she "take a stand".

    Among the companies that have backed out of the parade, citing intolerance towards police officers, are banks BNZ and ANZ, media company NZME and Vodafone. The Ponsonby Business Association and rainbow NZ Charitable trust have also withdrawn their support.

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      The PM has participated in the past, but a controversy this year over a ban on police in uniform has caused many former supporters to back out. Source: Breakfast

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