TOP candidate to walk down the aisle on election eve to promote marriage equality
As if election campaigns are not busy enough, try running one while also planning a wedding for the eve of the election.
The Opportunities Party (TOP) Mt Albert candidate Dan Thurston will marry his partner Thomas Crow in Auckland on September 22.
The couple plan to video the ceremony in virtual reality and broadcast it to our neighbours across the ditch to highlight marriage equality.
Australia has long grappled with making same sex marriage legal. On Tuesday postal voting papers are being sent out to Australians asking a single question: Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couple to marry?
* Australia's highest court approves governments same-sex marriage survey
* Same-sex couples flocking to New Zealand to tie the knot
* Gay Aussie couple rush at chance to tie knot
* Same-sex couples flock to New Zealand to wed
Voters have until November 7 to return their forms, with a result due on November 15.
Thurston is new to politics, fresh from a couple of decades in business.
He spent 13 years running his own small business in Auckland and for the past four years lived in Beijing, China as the co-founder and chief product officer of a tech startup.
While in Beijing he met his partner. They met on the internet and it was "love at first sight".
Thurston proposed on November 1, 2014 but due to laws in China banning same-sex marriage they had to wait.
"We set a date to get married in Vietnam which I thought would be enough time to get a divorce. I was with my ex-wife for 25 years," Thurston said.
"By February 2016, the date of wedding rolled around and I still wasn't divorced so we had a ceremonial wedding."
Thurston's divorce finally came through in August and they went straight to get a marriage licence.
"We went to the births, deaths and marriages on Albert St and said we'll just do a registry thing to get married and they gave us September 22."
Facebook invites and save the dates went out and a friend in Australia heard about the wedding and pitched it to a advertising company.
An Australian production company would film the day in 360 degrees and promote it so people in Sydney could experience what a same-sex wedding is like through virtual reality goggles.
"The same-sex thing is so normalised here," Thurston said.
Coming out wasn't an easy process for Thurston, he said.
"The only knowledge of gay I had when I was growing up was Hudson and Hall ons TV."
The 49-year-old grew up on a farm and was quite conservative.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in New Zealand since August 19, 2013 and the bill for legislation was passed by the House of Representatives by 77 to 44.
New Zealand became the first country in Oceania, the fourth in the southern hemisphere and the fifteenth country worldwide to allow same-sex couples to marry.
In regards to politics and running in the election, Thurston and Crow watched the United States election unfold and were inspired by Bernie Sanders. Crow is originally from Austin, Texas.
"It's not about winning Mt Albert but getting TOP into Parliament and that voice of progressive change," Thurston said.
"I love New Zealand and I'm really proud of it. I think we've got some incredible potential and I just want to put my effort to helping us move forwards."