Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Green MP Keith Locke Speech Matrimonial Property

Green MP Keith Locke Speech notes for the

Matrimonial Property Amendment Bill May 4, 2000

I rise to speak as probably the member of this Parliament with the longest experience of a de facto relationship. I have been in a de facto relationship with my partner for over 20 years.

Before I go into the matter of de factos in detail, I wish to convey that every Green MP will be voting for this motion because it is a matter of principle for the Green Party that the Human Rights Act should apply to all legislation and all people regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation.

Without the bill today, we would be breaching the Human Rights Act in our legislation on property division at the time of a relationship breakdown. It is right to deal with it now, rather than wait until December 2001, when all our legislation is due to be consistent with the Human Rights Act.

The Greens strongly support the proposal to extend the law to include same sex and de facto relationships.

I would first like to explain why people like myself enter de facto relationships as a conscious choice. It is not because we are any less committed to each other. In fact, it is just the reverse. We want our relationship to be purely governed by love and concern for each other without the interference of legal processes and formal ceremonies.

In fact, sometimes the marriage law has sometimes been used to force people into loveless relationships.

The term "shotgun marriage" used to be very popular, meaning two young people being catapulted into marriage, often with extreme pressure from their families, because the young woman became pregnant.

And sometimes married couples who have lost affection for each other have stayed together longer than they should - sometimes because of the public stigma of divorce, sometimes because of the legal hurdles they have to jump to become divorced, which they shy away from. The combination of the public stigma and the legal hurdles put them off. It's just too hard.

I am not arguing for the superiority of either marriage or de facto relationships. I believe that people should have the choice of what suits them, and over 200,000 New Zealanders have chosen a de facto relationship.

And like my relationship, they are no less inherently solid than a marriage relation Or less spiritual, or anything else.

But I believe that in no sense is a long-term de facto relationship any weaker than a marriage relationship.

We de factos need the same protection for property division when the relationship breaks down. Sure, de facto couples can sign property division contracts, as can married couples.

But that doesn't overcome two problems: 1. First, that they can be unjust, often favouring the male partner or dominant earner. And it is no accident those de factos opposed to this bill are mainly male.

2. The reality that most de factos don't get around to signing a property agreement.

they don't want to waste money on it

there is always a reluctance to bring up the question, which may have the implication that the relationship may not last, or that there is some dimunition of love, and that preparations for a split are underway.

and any agreement is likely to date. That is the case with my relationship. We signed something inadequate years ago.

So I personally, and my partner have a vested interest in this bill, as do many, many de facto couples.

There are the appropriate qualifications in the bill, for example, that the asset division provision comes in after 3 years. And there are appropriate clauses to cover contracts with exceptional circumstances. I am thinking, for example, of the very late marriages, say 80 year olds, who still want their assets able to be passed onto their children.

However, the bill gets around the legal nightmares, where a de facto partner of decades standing could end up with nothing. And it also means that the very good provisions in the bill, where one's child-rearing status, disparities of income resulting from the breakup, and other injustices, usually to the female partner, are taken care of.

It is great that the bill proposes the same advantages for same sex couples as married and de facto couple.

This will not only be justice, but a huge step towards overcoming prejudice towards gay and lesbian couples.

Gay and lesbian couples still face other forms of discrimination in society.

Legislating their rights in this bill is a very good precedent.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Spying On Politicians, Activists, Iwi, Quake Victims: "Failings Across Public Service"

A State Services Commission investigation into the use of external security consultants by government agencies has uncovered failings across the public service, including breaches of the code of conduct...

However, the inquiry found no evidence of widespread inappropriate surveillance by external security consultants on behalf of government agencies. More>>

 

Doesn’t Compromise Sovereignty: NZ To Back UN Migration Compact

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand will support the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration after being satisfied fears about the document are unfounded. More>>

ALSO:

Children's Commissioner: Child Poverty Law "Historic Cause For Celebration"

...It represents a cross-party commitment to a fundamental shift of policy for our most disadvantaged children and should help undo 30 years of damage to children from our most vulnerable families. More>>

ALSO:

Dope News: Binding Cannabis Referendum To Be Held At 2020 Election

The referendum on cannabis for personal use is part of Labour's confidence and supply agreement with the Greens. It could be one of potentially three referenda - decisions have yet to be made about euthanasia and changes to electoral laws. More>>

ALSO:

Vic: Victoria University Name Change Rejected

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has declined Victoria University of Wellington Council’s application for a legal name change. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Post-Cab 17/12/18: Chief Justice, M Bovis

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's final post-cabinet press conference of the year focussed on announcing the appointment of Helen Winkelmann as the next Chief Justice, and an update on effort to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis from New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Law Commission Issues Paper: Use Of DNA In Criminal Investigations

In the 22 years since the Act came into force, it has become clear that the modern-day fingerprint analogy is increasingly inapt... Theoretically, whole genome sequencing could ultimately become the standard method of analysing a DNA sample. Such a development will give a new perspective on the concept of genetic surveillance in the criminal context. More>>

State Highways: $1.4 Billion For Road Safety Improvements

The Safe Network Programme will make 870 kilometres of high volume, high-risk State Highways safer by 2021 with improvements like median and side barriers, rumble strips, and shoulder widening. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels