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Have your say on self-identification changes

Have your say on the inquiry on proposed self-identification changes to the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill

The Governance and Administration Committee has opened an inquiry into the changes proposed in supplementary order paper (SOP) 59 on the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill. The committee is calling for submissions on this inquiry.

Barbara Kuriger, chairperson of the committee, says “The committee and I encourage the public to have their say by submitting on this inquiry. Even in Alert Level 4 lockdown committee members are receiving and considering all submissions. We welcome submissions from those with personal experiences, legal experts, and other interested parties.”

The inquiry is focused on the provisions in the SOP which would change the process by which people can self-identify their sex on their birth records. The committee has confined its terms of reference for this inquiry to the changes contained in the SOP. It is important to note that the committee will be focusing on submissions directly relevant to the SOP and encourages submitters to keep their submissions within the scope of these changes.

The current process for people to change their sex on their birth certificate involves a Family Court process including providing proof of having undergone medical treatment. The changes proposed in the SOP would enable people to self-identify their sex on their birth certificate by making a statutory declaration, similar to the current processes for changing sex on drivers’ licenses and passports.

The SOP aims to provide better support for the needs of transgender, non-binary, and intersex communities. Similar changes to self-identification provisions were recommended by the Governance and Administration Committee of the 52nd Parliament when it first considered the bill. However, these changes were recommended after the public consultation process on the bill had concluded. To allow the public to have its say on the self-identification provisions the Governance and Administration Committee of this Parliament has opened this inquiry.

Other proposed changes in the SOP include:

· an 18-month implementation period

· a built in statutory review of the self-identification provisions five years following commencement

· a recommendation that young people aged 16 or 17 can apply on their own behalf and choose to accompany this with consent from a guardian or suitably qualified third party

· allowing for multiple changes of a sex marker over time

· enabling sex markers other than male and female to be made through regulations following consultation

· that the self-identification provisions cannot be used to change the individual’s birth records from another country.

The committee encourages anyone who wants to have their voice heard about the provisions in the SOP to submit.

If you have any questions about how to do this, have any particular needs or requirements, or any questions more generally, please get in touch with the secretariat staff at ga@parliament.govt.nz or on 04 817 9520.

Tell the Governance and Administration Committee

Make a submission on the bill by midnight on 14 September 2021.

You can learn about how to make a submission here.

For more details about the SOP:

· Read the full content of the SOP

· What's been said in Parliament about the bill?

· Follow the committee's Facebook page for updates

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