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Care of Children Bill updates half century old laws

Social Development Spokesperson
30 August 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
Care of Children Bill updates half century old laws

Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Jacinda Ardern is pleased that Parliament will have the chance to update and modernise New Zealand’s antiquated and discriminatory adoption laws after her Care of Children Law Reform Bill was drawn from the ballot today.

The Bill updates the current Adoption Act which governs children and the relationships between them and their wider families – both adoptive and biological.

A report by the Law Commission - Adoption and Alternatives: A Different Approach and A New Framework - provides the foundations for the Bill, which requires the Commission to review its original report and update adoption law to better reflect modern New Zealand, and put the interests of children at the heart of any decision-making about their future.

“The report is over 300 pages in length, and includes everything from the process someone must go through when adopting to accessing adoption information,” said Jacinda Ardern.

“Perhaps the most significant of its recommendation is that adoption laws should have the best interest of the child as its primary consideration, and reflect modern arrangements- including that families are taking a much more prominent role in adoption.

“Under current law – which dates from 1951 - only a single person or spouses are permitted to adopt and have a legal relationship with the child. It discriminates against many prospective parents, doesn’t take into account whangai adoption and prevents children from being cared for in the best possible family environment.

“The Bill would also have the effect of removing discrimination and inconsistencies in our current law. Currently a gay individual can adopt a child, a gay couple can’t. A de facto heterosexual couple can adopt, but a civil union heterosexual couple can’t. This makes no sense and needs to be fixed.

“This Bill would not be necessary if Judith Collins would agree to send a reference to the Law Commission to update adoption law as we have already requested, and for the sake of time and in the interest of children, I still urge Ms Collins to do that,” Jacinda Ardern said.



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