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Hague unveils Bill to totally overhaul adoption law

Sun 14 Oct 2012 In: New Zealand Daily News

Kevin Hague Gay Green MP Kevin Hague has released a Bill he says is a "comprehensive" overhaul of the nation's adoption law, including issues for same-sex parents, which he will enter into the next Member's ballot. It comes as another adoption Bill from Jacinda Ardern has been drawn from the first ballot and is awaiting its first reading. Where the two Bills differ is Ardern's would task the Law Commission to rewrite the law, while Hague, with the help of others, has already rewritten the law. This means it's more likely to be supported if it's drawn, as MPs are lukewarm on Ardern's bill due to the lengthy Law Commission process it would entail before the law is fully changed. The Green Party is among those who will vote against it. However Ardern is planning an amendment which would quickly remove the basic discrimination about who can adopt, a quick fix until the full law is rewritten by the Law Commission. Yet Hague says the Bill he has unveiled this morning would comprehensively overhaul adoption law and address related surrogacy issues. A crucial aspect for gay New Zealanders is that it would remove unnecessary restrictions on the kinds of people who may be considered to adopt, ensuring that adoptive parents can be selected from all the options, in the best interests of the child. "This Bill is the result of considerable work, and is a much more ambitious reform than is usually attempted through the Members' bill process," Hague says. He says the changes are based on the Law Commission's 2000 review. "We have also used previous Ministry of Justice advice, and more recently had assistance from other experts with an interest in these issues. I want to thank everyone for helping us get the Bill this far." Hague removed a previous Bill on same-sex and de-facto couple adoption from the Ballot because it became clear that comprehensive reform of adoption law was needed. "The Green Party convened a cross-party group to focus on this issue, and has worked with National MP Nikki Kaye to continue this work," he says. "There seems to be a very broad consensus across Parliament that the law, which dates from 1955, requires overhaul." Hague's bill will have to be drawn from the ballot - it will not be a Government bill because of the Government's firm stance that it's not a legislative priority this term. "I hope that this Bill will attract broad support and I intend to work across the House to build this while the Bill sits in the ballot waiting to be drawn," Hague says.     

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Sunday, 14th October 2012 - 10:00am

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