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NZ Greens seeking to fast track same-sex adoption

New Zealand’s Greens Party have moved forward with their own bill to ensure a couple’s suitability, not sexuality, is the only criteria used in deciding who is an appropriate person to adopt
Kevin Hague of the NZ Greens
Photo: Alan Liefting

New Zealand’s Greens Party has announced it will seek to put its own bill to legalize same-sex couple adoption before the nation’s parliament after identifying deficiencies in a Labour Party bill before the parliament.

A bill on same-sex couple adoption by Labour MP Jacinda Ardern is set to be voted on as soon as next month.

However the bill itself would not legalize same-sex adoption, but merely instruct the country’s Law Commission to draft legislation, and then instruct the country’s Minister of Social Development to introduce the legislation.

Under the Labour bill it could take as long as another three years before same-sex couples could begin to adopt.

Ardern had been working with a cross party group including the Greens’ Kevin Hague and the Nationals’ Nikki Kaye to develop legislation but last year broke from the group to push forward with her own bill.

A second Labour bill, by MP Louisa Wall, would legalize same-sex couple adoption along with same-sex marriage, but private members bills are picked by random ballot in the New Zealand Parliament so it could be months or years before the bill comes up for a vote.

Hague and Kaye have now finished their bill, which would allow same-sex adoption immediately if passed, and the Greens have added it to the ballot.

‘There seems to be a very broad consensus across Parliament that the law, which dates from 1955, requires overhaul,’ Hague said in a statement.

‘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.’

The bill also recognizes traditional Maori child fostering practices occurring under traditional law, and children born through altruistic surrogacy.

‘Drafting a bill of this size means that I'm sure there are further improvements that can be made,’ Hague said.

‘I will continue to work with interested parties to fine-tune the Bill while it sits in the ballot waiting to be drawn … Further opportunities to strengthen the Bill will also come through the select committee process once it has been drawn.'

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