Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Defacto Couples To Be Given Property Rights

Cabinet decided today to back a bill extending existing matrimonial property rights legislation to cover de facto relationships - including those between gay and lesbian couples.

The current Matrimonial Property Act outlines how a married couple's property is divided when they separate, and Parliament is already considering a bill updating it.

Associate Justice Minister Margaret Wilson now proposes to extend the law to cover the rights of couples in defacto relationships and same sex couples.

The changes would make all de-facto couples who lived together for more than 3 years become automatically eligible for a fifty per cent in their property.

The law is expected to affect at least 231,000 people presently living in defacto relationships. Ms Wilson said this afternoon that a publicity campaign was envisaged to accompany the bill which would provide for a transition period to the new provisions which would come into force on 1 July 2001.

The proposal would apply to both gay and straight couples without differentiation. Couples would have the opportunity of “opting out” of the property agreements as couples can at present “opt out” of the provisions in the Matrimonial Property Act by signing a “pre-nuptial” agreement.

The extension will make obsolete a bill currently before the house, which sets out separate property rights for gay and de-facto relationships outside of marital property laws.

Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley has criticised the move to extend the legislation regarding relationship property.

While she agreed the rights de-facto couples and gays should be protected, she said they should be treated differently to those of people who are married.

"There are many views in the community about this issue, and instead of dictating its position to Parliament and New Zealanders, the Government should be prepared to listen," Mrs Shipley said.

"National believes marriage represents a commitment and its sanctity should be recognised in law. “

She quoted a recent Law Commission report on the subject which advocated a separate rights system for de-facto and homosexual couples so as not to cause, “understandable considerable offence.”

However gay rights advocates and property law advocates for same sex couples have welcomed the move saying an overhaul of marital law was overdue. They question the move towards separate legislation as a, “apartheid measure.”

Prime Minister Helen Clark also criticised Mrs. Shipley’s stance saying it was hypocritical for a woman who attended the gay and lesbian Hero Parade to now be standing up for the views of Christian Heritage Party leader Graham Capill.

The new legislation is likely to be introduced as a Supplementary Order Paper – an amendment to the existing bill in the area – in May.

At a press conference this afternoon the Prime Minister said that voting on the SOP would likely by a conscience issue though she expected widespread support from inside the Labour, Alliance and Green caucuses.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Addiction To Chinese Student Fees

Last week, Australian PM Scott Morrison extended its ban on foreign visitors from or passing through from mainland China – including Chinese students - for a third week. New Zealand has dutifully followed suit, with our travel ban ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Coronavirus, And The Iowa Debacle

As Bloomberg says, the coronavirus shutdown is creating the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment. On the upside, the mortality rate with the current outbreak is lower than with SARS in 2003, but (for a number of reasons) the economic impact this time ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Dodging A Bullet Over The Transport Cost Over-Runs

As New Zealand gears up to begin its $6.8 billion programme of large scale roading projects all around the country, we should be aware of this morning’s sobering headlines from New South Wales, where the cost overruns on major transport projects ... More>>

Gordon Campbell:On Kobemania, Palestine And The Infrastructure Package

Quick quiz to end the week. What deserves the more attention – the death of a US basketball legend, or the end of Palestinian hopes for an independent state? Both died this week, but only one was met with almost total indifference by the global community. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Double Standard That’s Bound To Dominate The Election

Are National really better political managers than Labour, particularly when it comes to running the economy? For many voters – and the business community in particular - their belief in National’s inherent competence is a simple act of faith. More>>


Gordon Campbell : On Dealing With Impeccable, Impeachable Lies

By now, the end game the Republican Senate majority has in mind in their setting of the rules for the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump is pretty clear to everyone: first deny the Democrats the ability to call witnesses and offer evidence, and then derisively dismiss the charges for lack of evidence. For his part, does former security adviser John Bolton really, really want to testify against his former boss? If there was any competing faction within the Republican Party, there might be some point for Bolton in doing so – but there isn’t. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Why The Dice Are Loaded Against Women..

If they enter public life, women can expect a type of intense (and contradictory) scrutiny that is rarely applied to their male counterparts... More>>

 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog