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Couples Will Have To Change Their Behaviour

March 29, 2001

Relationship property law means couples will have to change their behaviour
Couples throughout New Zealand will need to change their behaviour as a result of the Relationship Property Amendment Bill, which received its third and final reading in Parliament this afternoon.

Viv Maidaborn, Relationship Services chief executive, says money and property are two things people find very difficult to discuss, both at the beginning and throughout their relationships.

“This legislation will mean it’s more important than ever that couples make an explicit, formal decision about whether they are getting into a relationship, whether they want to share their property equally or whether they want to opt out of the law,” she says.

“The Government’s publicity campaign will need to make all of these issues clear to people and encourage them to change the way most couples act. That’s quite a challenge for a $200,000 campaign.”

Ms Maidaborn says the Government’s publicity campaign will also need to take account of the way different types of couples live.

“For instance, gay men who tend to have more independent financial arrangements, will need to get advice on how to keep it that way if that’s what they want to do,” she says.

However, Relationship Services believes the law does three important things. It:
* takes a significant step towards ensuring children who come from all kinds of couple relationships have their standard of living protected if those relationships end,
* encourages couples to front up to the nature of their relationship early on, and
* removes one of the forms of discrimination facing de facto and same-sex couples.

For further information contact:
Viv Maidaborn
Chief Executive
Relationship Services
Tel: 04-472 8798; Mobile: 021-646 578

Issued by:
Anna Smith
Communications Adviser
Tel: 025 768 273

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