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Most newborns not affected by citizenship changes

MEDIA RELEASE 7 December 2005

Most newborns not affected by next year’s citizenship changes

Law changes coming into effect on 1 January 2006 mean not every baby born in New Zealand will be a New Zealand citizen.

Brian Clarke, Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, says very few babies born here each year will not be citizens by birth.

“The new rules will not affect the vast majority of children born in New Zealand. If at least one parent is a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident their new baby will be a citizen of this country. This generally includes Australian citizens and permanent residents.

“It also applies where at least one parent is a permanent resident of the Cook Islands, Tokelau or Niue,” says Brian Clarke.

Children born to New Zealand citizens outside of New Zealand will generally acquire New Zealand citizenship by descent.

Brian Clarke emphasises the need for all parents of newborn babies to register their child’s birth.

“All babies born here must be registered, whether they are New Zealand citizens or not. Even if your child is not a New Zealand citizen, you will need a New Zealand birth record to register your child’s citizenship in your home country and to obtain a passport for your child,” Brian Clarke says.

Birth registration ensures that babies who are New Zealand citizens have access to their rights and entitlements, including education, healthcare and a New Zealand passport.

All new parents receive a birth registration form from their midwife or hospital. Birth registration is free and parents are legally required to register their child’s birth, he says.

The new provision is part of the Citizenship Amendment Act, passed in April of this year, and applies only to babies born on or after 1 January 2006. Anyone unsure about the changes can get more information by calling Freephone 0800 22 54 54 or by visiting the Internal Affairs website: www.dia.govt.nz

ENDS

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