Births Deaths & Marriages bill slammed by Law Com.
Sandra Goudie MP
National Party Internal Affairs Spokeswoman
12 November 2007
Births, Deaths and Marriages bill slammed by Law Commission
Law Commission President Sir Geoffrey Palmer has come out with scathing criticism of Labour’s ill-thought out amendments to the Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) Act.
Papers received under the Official Information Act by National Party Internal Affairs spokeswoman Sandra Goudie show the Law Commission has serious concerns about the need to restrict public access to the register.
Sir Geoffrey says ‘the access provisions proposed in the bill will not only affect the BDM registers, but may also have wider implications for access to other public registers’.
“Open and transparent access to the BDM register was called ‘of vital importance to the community’ as far back as 1836 when the first public register was established in England. Sir Geoffrey says the Law Commission believes the reasons for this ‘still underpin the access provisions of the current Act in New Zealand’.
“Labour says increased identity fraud is the reason for the change, but the Law Commission disagrees, saying ‘There is no evidence of how much identity fraud in New Zealand is made possible by access to BDM registers. Indeed, the information required for identity theft can be obtained from many other sources’.
“Like their blind, self-serving attempts to push through the Electoral Finance Bill, the BDM Amendment Bill is being promoted with little evidence of a public need or desire for change.
“Sir Geoffrey says, ‘there are no figures available as to how many people, if any, have actually expressed concern about the current availability of information of the BDM register’.
“How many more ways can this nanny-state government find to interfere in people’s lives? Their ‘I know best’ attitude is wearing very thin with most Kiwis, and their refusal to listen to the best advice is nothing short of arrogant.”
NB: OIA documents unavailable electronically but will be faxed on request