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Copeland champions right to know parents, children

Media Statement
For immediate release
Thursday, 07 April 2005

Copeland champions right to know parents, children

Every human being has the right to know the names of their mother and father and every parent who their children are, United Future whip Gordon Copeland said in Parliament today.

In challenging Associate Justice Minister Marian Hobbs on the difficulties faced by men who cannot prove their paternity without the mother approving DNA testing, Mr Copeland called for an updated approach to non-invasive DNA testing.

He asked Ms Hobbs if such situations were not "totally unsatisfactory", in particular citing the case of a man who has undergone five years of legal battles right up to the Court of Appeal to establish the right of a relationship with a child he believed to be his.

He said the Government should be looking to change law to require birth certificates to have both parents' names wherever possible, "rather than have the farcical situation of the court needing to assume wardship of a child for a few hours to get a DNA sample" as was done in this case.

Mr Copeland said any naming requirement could allow for the information to be sealed until the child turns 18 in difficult personal circumstances, where privacy is in the best interests of some or all of the parties.

"But the base requirement should be built on the right of people to know their offspring or their parents," he said.


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