Politicians flock to Big Gay Out
Auckland's annual Big Gay Out plans to be more extravagant than usual - and, being an election year, politicians are queuing up to attend.
Prime Minister John Key has always attended.
Troubled Auckland Mayor Len Brown has said he will be along at the February 9 event to celebrate sexual health. Labour leader David Cunliffe will also attend.
Last year's gathering at Coyle Park in Pt Chevalier attracted 13,000 people.
Organisers say they will bring back a popular attraction, "the Big Ball Drop". A helicopter will fly over the park releasing hundreds of brightly coloured ping-pong balls over the crowd.
One ball will offer a trip for two to the Sydney Mardi Gras.
Big Gay Out is part of the Auckland Pride Gala which opens on February 7 with a black-tie dress-up at Q Theatre hosted by broadcaster Alison Mau.
As well as a main stage, Coyle Park will have 120 market stalls offering everything from food and retail to information and support.