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Adoption Laws Under Review

New Zealand’s 66-year-old adoption laws are being reviewed, with public engagement beginning today.

Justice Minister Kris Faafoi said the Government is seeking views on options for change to our adoption laws and system.

“The Adoption Act has remained largely the same since 1955. We need our adoption laws to reflect the values and needs of contemporary New Zealand,” Kris Faafoi said.

“Adoption has significant and lifelong effects on the children involved, so our laws should have the rights of children at their heart.

“The Ministry of Justice today released Adoption in Aotearoa New Zealand, a discussion document to assist people in submitting on the review. Public consultation starts today and will run until 31 August. Targeted engagement with specific communities, including people affected by adoption, will run alongside public engagement.

“Feedback and ideas from the public will help the Government develop proposals for changes to adoption laws.

“In our Manifesto we committed to reviewing adoption laws and removing discriminatory provisions. This review fulfils that commitment, and will be an opportunity to ensure adequate support and information is available to people before, during and after an adoption.

In particular, the Government is seeking views on six key issues, including what is adoption and who is involved, cultural aspects of adoption (including whāngai), how the adoption process works in New Zealand and offshore, the impacts of adoption, and the adoption process works where a child is born by surrogacy.

The discussion document, and summary document which has been translated and produced in accessible formats, are available now on the Ministry of Justice website along with information on how to make a submission at: www.justice.govt.nz/adoption-law-reform

“The Government will embark on a second round of engagement after working through submissions and developing a set of policy proposals for reform based on what we hear from people.”

Last year the Government referred a separate review of surrogacy to Te Aka Matua o te Ture | the Law Commission. While the review of adoption laws will not include general surrogacy issues, it will consider ways to improve the current adoption process where a child is born by surrogacy. The Ministry of Justice and the Law Commission are working together on the issues of common interest in the adoption and surrogacy reviews.

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