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Maxim Institute: Real issues -this week: No. 140

Fri, 10 Dec 2004

Maxim Institute

real issues. ============ this week: No. 140,

Contents: --------- * Civil Union Bill passes but debate continues

* New Zealand disassociates from family declaration

* Diversity report redefines commitment

* Got a passion for the future of New Zealand?

Civil Union Bill passes but debate continues ------------------------------------------------------------------------ The Civil Union Bill passed its third and final vote today by 65 votes to 55, only a week after the second reading. Debate on the Civil Union Bill has raised the profile of family and marriage in New Zealand - which is long overdue. Our hope is that the support for marriage and family shown by an unprecedented number of submissions will encourage future law and policy initiatives to promote the value of marriage.

Thank you to everyone to made the effort to make a submission to the Select Committee and took the time to contact MPs. Our website will soon display MPs final votes on the Bill. The companion Relationships Bill is requiring substantial amendments and is not expected to be reported back until well into the New Year. While the Civil Union Act will only provide for a ceremony and registration, it is the Relationships Bill that intends to grant rights and responsibilities equivalent to marriage. For the long term interests of children in New Zealand, it is vital that marriage is invigorated in law and culture.

Discuss this article in our on-line discussion forum: http://www.maxim.org.nz/discuss/?topic=140.1

New Zealand disassociates from family declaration ------------------------------------------------------------------------ In an important vote which has not yet been reported here, New Zealand this week disassociated itself from a major declaration on the family and marriage adopted by the United Nations; probably the most significant in two decades.

The declaration, known as the Doha Declaration for the Family was drawn up by representatives of governments and NGOs who met in Doha, Qatar, at the end of November for the Doha International Conference for the Family.

It affirms that "the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to the widest possible protection and assistance by society and the State."

Unofficially, 132 of the 192 countries adopted the declaration without reservation at the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. In supporting the declaration, Member States also agreed to "uphold, preserve and defend the institution of marriage." Unfortunately, New Zealand was not one of these countries, therefore 'civil unions come as no surprise.

The move from New Zealand to distance itself from the declaration is deeply ironic, as in every other respect the government is desperate to align New Zealand to UN declarations and conventions.

Discuss this article in our on-line discussion forum: http://www.maxim.org.nz/discuss/?topic=140.2

Diversity report redefines commitment ------------------------------------------------------------------------ A new report called "Patterns of Family Formation and Change in New Zealand" was released by the Ministry of Social Development last week.

The report is based on the idea that diversity of family form should be embraced and reinforced by public policy. Indeed, the trends the report highlights are said to "raise questions about whether public policies reflect the current reality of New Zealand families." The question we need to be asking is: "Should they?" Is it the government's role to encourage these trends or to try and help families stay together?

The report described several trends including a growing number of women (22%) who had lived in two or more unions before they reached 25 years of age.

The report also describes a new type of union called 'Living-apart-together relationships' this is described as the "tendency for couples to live separately, often with their parents, but at the same time to pursue a sexual relationship."

A union according to the dictionary is about being united, defining a union as broadly as the report does, undermines what true unions are about - commitment and mutual togetherness.

Discuss this article in our on-line discussion forum: http://www.maxim.org.nz/discuss/?topic=140.3

Got a passion for the future of New Zealand? ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Maxim Institute will be presenting a line-up of unique seminars at Parachute 05 that will look ahead to what New Zealand society might look like in 2020. Come along and hear Maxim speakers present at the parachute music festival in Hamilton, 28-31 January, 2005.

Visit http://www.parachutemusic.com for more information.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK - Will Rogers (1897-1935) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ I don't make jokes - I just watch the government and report the facts.

To subscribe send a blank email to: realissues@maxim.org.nz

Real Issues is a weekly email newsletter from the Maxim Institute. The focus is current New Zealand events with an attempt to provide insight into critical issues beyond what is usually presented in the media. This service is provided free of charge, although a donation to Maxim is appreciated. Items may be used for other purposes, such as teaching, research or civic action. If items are published elsewhere, Maxim should be acknowledged.

Key principles - The Building Blocks of Civil Society http://www.maxim.org.nz/main_pages/about_page/about_keyprinciples.html


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