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Property Legislation Needs More Consideration

Property Relations Legislation Needs More Consideration

United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne told today's multiparty press conference he believes very strongly that de facto and same sex couples deserve the same protection of the law as far as common property rights are concerned as do married couples.

"Consequently, I do not want to see this necessary social reform delayed, and I consider there has already been substantial debate about its intent, and that many people's views will be clearly formed as a result. Indeed, I said as much when Parliament debated this issue a few weeks ago," he said.

"However, there are aspects of the proposed amendments that have become available only in the last week which appear to go beyond the scope of simply extending the existing legislation to include coverage of de facto and same sex couples, which was the proposition Parliament debated. They introduce far-reaching changes that will have implications for existing married couples they may be unaware of."

"Therefore, I have come to the view that it would be prudent for there to be a further period of limited public consultation on those particular issues before Parliament finally votes on this matter. I do not favour the measure being referred back to a Select Committee for an indefinite period. That would merely serve to delay and frustrate the process of change, and create more uncertainty in an area already fraught with too much uncertainty and bitterness. But I do think the Select Committee ought to be given a period of up to three months to consider further the new, widened definition of partnership property, including calling for and hearing public submissions on that point."

"A social reform measure of this magnitude is not a party political issue, and should not be treated as such. Parliament as a whole has to accept the responsibility for such a measure, and Parliament as a whole must be satisfied as to its fairness and workability before it is passed into law."

"It is on that basis that I join this press conference today, and call on the Attorney-General to heed the request for the supplementary order paper to be referred to a Select Committee," Mr Dunne said.

ENDS

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