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Select Committee Scrutiny A Must

The Matrimonial Property Bill must undergo Select Committee scrutiny so all New Zealanders, and not just Labour insiders, can consider and repair this piece of social engineering, said ACT MPs Stephen Franks and Donna Awatere Huata.

“This Bill calls Lawyers to a banquet. It gives enormous power and discretion to Judges. The drafting is obscure. But it is so bad in principle that even exemplary drafting would still drag thousands of unhappy, separating couples into a quagmire of litigation.

“Bitter people can’t avoid Lawyers exploiting uncertainty. Advice on either side will urge their party to “try it on” as no one knows what the Judge will think is fair. It may depend on the Judge. Is equality equity?

“The Government is dominated by academics. They think they are anointed to order the rest of us around. If not they would have wanted changes to go through the select committee process, to sort out the technical bugs.

“What about the women who has carefully saved a nest egg from her useless boyfriend. She could see half of it go with him if she lets him stay for over three years because she was lonely.

“All New Zealanders will be covered whether they like it or not. The Government has intentionally made it opt out rather than opt in legislation. You can’t protect your existing choice without going to lawyers,” said Stephen Franks.

“This certainty of litigation will impose great costs on Maori solo mothers and the legal aid system,” said Donna Awatere Huata.

“In Maori society it is practically always women who do the saving. This provides security for the children and herself when her partner abandons his responsibilities.

“Yet when this flawed legislation becomes law, Maori women will be at great risk of losing half of their hard earned assets to the absconding male.

“Placing the onus on the asset holder, predominately the Maori woman, to invest time and money to opt out of the legislation, will make nobody but the lawyers better off.

“This Bill needs to undergo Select Committee scrutiny so all New Zealanders, not just the academic elite, can help repair this dramatic social change,” said Donna Awatere Huata.


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