This afternoon the House debated a notice of motion proposed by Attorney General Margaret Wilson which will give the house the ability to combine bills on defacto property rights and same sex couples property rights.
The motion was needed because the level of ammendments to the bill proposed by the government exceed the scope of the Committee of the House as a whole to approve in ordinary circumstances. The government does not wish to allow the bill to be considered again by a Select Committee which would be the alternative.
At 5.45pm the motion was passed 64 votes to 54.
While the motion was voted on as a conscience matter the house split on party lines with ACT, National and NZ First voting against the Greens, The Alliance and Labour voting in favour.
United's Peter Dunne voted in favour.
The debate was passionate on both sides and the issue promises to remain controversial when it comes back for consideration in the Committee of the House as a whole.
The motion that was passed follows.
Hon. Margaret Wilson to move, That, when the House goes into
committee of the whole House on the Matrimonial Property
Amendment Bill, it be an Instruction to the committee
(a) that the committee have the power to consider and, if it thinks fit, adopt amendments to the bill that would otherwise be outside its scope by extending the Matrimonial Property Act 1976 to opposite sex de facto relationships and same sex relationships, and by amending the Family Proceedings Act 1980, the Administration Act 1969 and the Family Protection Act 1955:
(b) that on clause 1 (Short Title and commencement) the committee consider the following questions:
(i) whether the bill should be amended to include opposite sex de facto relationships:
(ii) whether the bill should be further amended to include same sex relationships:
(c) that the committee then proceed to a consideration of the provisions of the bill, with decisions to be consistent with the decisions made on the questions specified in paragraph (b).