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Labour demands vote on de facto property bill

2000 web siteLabour spokesperson on women's affairs Dianne Yates says that Justice Minister Tony Ryall is procrastinating on the De Facto Property Bill.

"The Minister flagged at select committee today that he would be releasing a public discussion paper on same sex relationships," Dianne Yates said.

"This will be seen by major women's organisations, lawyers, and those thousands of New Zealanders living in de facto relationships as procrastination. It means that the De Facto Property Bill will not be passed before the election.

"The Minister is attempting to manipulate public opinion rather than responding to it.

"The Government has clearly got cold feet on the issue despite the fact that there are over 236,397 (1996 census) de facto relationships in NZ and that these New Zealanders have property arrangements that are not covered by any adequate legislation.

"Women's groups and lawyers have indicated that the de facto bill should have priority over the Matrimonial Property Bill. While there is some law covering matrimonial property, de facto couples and families have no protection, despite it being urgently needed.

"Both bills have been before select committee together for months - public submissions were called for and heard together, and there has been ample discussion.

"The Government should give priority to this legislation and, given that there is to be a conscience vote on Phil Goff's supplementary order paper which would include same sex relationships under the de facto title, let the House decide.

"The Government did not delay the process when same sex relationships were included in ACC and Domestic Violence legislation, and there is no reason to avoid a vote on the De Facto bill and the accompanying supplementary order paper," Dianne Yates said.

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