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NZers denied hearing on private lives

Bill English
National MP for Clutha-Southland

5 May 2000

NZers denied hearing on private lives

"The Government should not push to change the law to put marriage on the same legal footing as de-facto and same sex relationships without a full public hearing," Clutha-Southland MP Bill English said today.

"I have voted against the Government's move to include de-facto and same sex relationships in matrimonial property law for two reasons.

"Firstly I am opposed to making these relationships equal to marriage.

"Secondly I am opposed to the Government ramming this major change through Parliament without allowing New Zealanders to have a say.

"Almost all other legislation which impacts so directly on people's private lives goes to a select committee so the public has a chance to make submissions.

"Instead this Government is bringing in a major change by just tacking it on to another Bill that has gone through the full select committee process.

"I cannot understand why the Government has chosen to ignore the opinions of thousands of New Zealanders both married and unmarried who have strong views on a piece of law which has a direct impact on their personal lives.

"If this Bill is passed thousands of people who chose de-facto relationships to avoid the legal implications of marriage will find themselves with the same standing in the law as married couples.

"Thousands of married couples who have put effort into maintaining their marriages will find that the Government believes that marriage has no more status in the eyes of the law than de-facto or same sex relationships.

"This is as close as the Government can get to making rules for how people live, and ignoring people's personal feelings on deeply sensitive issues.

"This means that only a small number of MPs will get a say on this issue and the public will miss out. Obscure changes to tax law get more of a hearing than the public's views on laws applying to deeply personal relationships their lives."

Ends


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