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Shotgun Wedding For Property Bill

The Matrimonial Property Bill, which took another step down the aisle in Parliament today, will shackle thousands of New Zealanders with new obligations and an uncertain future, says Opposition Justice spokesman Tony Ryall.

"Mrs Wilson didn't even want to send the Bill to a select committee but National succeeded in getting other parties to agree to our amendment for an extra month to consider this complex issue. The select committee will now have three months to consider the Bill.

"Labour is determined to effectively marry thousands of New Zealanders and will only hear their views because National led the charge and rolled them in the House to send the Bill to select committee.

"This Bill will leave New Zealanders who had no intention of committing to one another to queue with thousands of others for a family court judge to decide on their entitlement.

"Lawyers expect to see 90% of matrimonial property cases in the courts as a result of this legislation - only 10% of cases end up there now.

"National supports the use of the spousal maintenance provision to redress economic disparity. But playing with the 50/50 split rule opens up a can of worms. The increased judicial discretion makes for a huge amount of uncertainty.

"If any New Zealander knows a reason why this bill should not be passed, they should speak quickly or forever hold their peace," Mr Ryall said.


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