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Compulsory Marriage Bill a Disaster for Youth

Grant Tyrrell Young Nationals Chair

1 February 2002

Compulsory Marriage Bill a Disaster for Youth

Grant Tyrrell, NZ Young Nationals Chair, today described the new Matrimonial Property Bill as a ticking time-bomb waiting to explode on unsuspecting youth.

"This is another example of Margaret Wilson's PC agenda that is filling our statute books with bad law. The basic premise for the Act is questionable, the lumping of marriage, same sex and defacto relationships in the one pot is fundamentally flawed and the only winners from its passing will be lawyers," Grant Tyrrell stated.

"Young people especially are at risk of being caught up in the driftnet approach. Despite clear evidence that over 75% of long-term defacto type relationships break-up around the four year mark the Act defines a relationship as of a period over three years.

"The definition of a relationship is so nebulous as to encompass a wide range of relationships. Potentially flatmates and ex-lovers could all sue for recourse - there is not even a requirement that 'couples' must live together for the three years.

"Margaret Wilson blithely states that anyone with concerns can contract out of the Act but she obviously has not read her own piece of legislation. Even if a contract is signed the courts can still set it aside on the nebulous grounds of; 'in the interests of the weaker party.' In effect, New Zealander's daily, private lives, will be subject to judicial oversight and interference.

"I am constantly talking to young people who are concerned about this Act and the affect that it may have on their lives. In currently stable relationships, the overriding fear is that a breakdown in the future could result in the loss of hard earned property. Imagine being at 21, two years out of university and building a career, when your partner leaves - with half of your property. This will be a disastrous reality.

"If young people wanted to marry, they would. It is bad law and immoral for the Government, in a fit of moralistic judgement, to take this choice away.

Ends

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