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First Multi-member Bill Is Set To Become New Zealand Law

The Crimes (Definition of Female Genital Mutilation) Amendment Bill completed its third reading last night, with support from all parties in Parliament, and is set to become New Zealand law.

The bill is in the names of Jo Hayes MP (National), Priyanca Radhakrishnan MP (Labour), Golriz Ghahraman MP (Greens), and Jenny Marcroft MP (New Zealand First). It is the first time in history a Member’s Bill has been sponsored by more than one MP.

While most forms of female genital mutilation (FGM) were banned in New Zealand in 1996, through an amendment to the Crimes Act 1961 when s204A was added, this amendment will align the legislation with the World Health Organisation (WHO) classifications of all types of FGM and international best practice recommendations.

The bill is part of the work of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) New Zealand Group, who seek to better the lives of women and girls in Aotearoa. CWP New Zealand has collaborated with FGM Education to highlight the need for this legislative reform. Co-chairs Louisa Wall MP and Jo Hayes MP are grateful to have this important legislation complete all of its stages through the House before the dissolution of the 52nd Parliament.

“We are proud to have brought about this law to protect the lives of women and girls in Aotearoa. As women parliamentarians, we have listened to their concerns and are honoured to have contributed substantive legislative change to protect our wahine,” the co-chairs said.

The bill now awaits Royal Assent, this is the last formal step before a Bill passes and becomes law.

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