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ERB mess repeated with matrimonial property bill

Tony Ryall

National's Justice Spokesman

29 May 2000

ERB mess repeated with matrimonial property legislation

Cabinet will also have to back down on changes to matrimonial property laws proposed by Attorney General Margaret Wilson to avoid 'unintended consequences', says National's Justice spokesman Tony Ryall.

"Professor Wilson's proposals to change the rules for dealing with matrimonial property will also lead to practical problems. The Government didn't want public submissions but yielded after pressure from all opposition parties.

"But the two month select committee process is not long enough to do a good job on the detailed wording of the changes. The devil is in the detail.

"The matrimonial property changes will be the Employment Relations Bill all over again - impractical legislation, hurriedly drafted and not enough consultation resulting in 'unintended consequences'.

"National does agree with improving spousal maintenance provisions to provide better balance where one partner has, for example, given up their career for child-rearing. But we are concerned about breaching the 50/50 split, and we don't think the Government is prepared to properly fund the extra legal aid and Family Court costs associated with their proposals.

"Cabinet should slow down and get it right. They should also instruct Professor Wilson to release all Ministry of Justice and Family Law Section advice on the changes proposed," Mr Ryall said.


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