Social Engineering Unleashed Today
National today strongly opposed the final step in passing the Government's Property (Relationships) Amendment Bill into law.
"This Bill is social engineering and political correctness gone mad. We would not wish it on any couple in New Zealand whether they are a married, de facto or same sex couple," National MP Tony Ryall said in the debate today.
"This Bill leaves it up to judges to decide the division of assets on a case by case basis. There will be no certainty and different judges will produce different rulings.
"Judges will be required to predict future earnings when assessing the appropriate split of assets. What if they get it wrong?
"More cases will go to court. Lawyers predict 75-80% of relationship break-ups will go before the courts compared with only 10% now. The family courts are already clogged. Judges advise that at least six new judges will be required to cope with the increased workload.
"Loose definitions in key parts of the legislation mean courts will be making rules that Parliament should have made.
"But the worst con perpetrated by this legislation is in contracting out. Family lawyers say this will cost at least $1,000 per partner. The Government's answer is a quick and cheap form which won't be worth the paper it's written on.
"Many de facto partners won't agree to opt out of the legislation. This is unfair on the partner who wants to protect their assets. It will affect elderly widows or widowers who enter a de facto relationship for companionship when their husband or wife passes away, or divorcees with assets from a previous relationship.
"The Government is proposing to spend only $200,000 on publicity for the changes, compared to the over $1.2 million it spent on the Employment Relations Bill. This Bill affects 236,000 New Zealanders in de facto relationships and hundreds of thousands in marriages and they have a right to know about it.
"This Bill will have the unintended consequence of financially marrying every de facto couple in New Zealand," Mr Ryall said.