New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says he would give initial support to potential legislation to let gay couples adopt.
Key told Radio Live today he would support a bill that looks to legalize gay adoption through its first reading in parliament.
'I'm not afraid to have debates on those areas,' he said.
Despite his ‘great sympathy’ for people who wanted to adopt but could not, he noted there are wider issues to consider.
'This is the issue with gay adoption it’s the same issue with heterosexual adoption and that is that there’s just not enough kids to adopt. I mean there were less than either 100 or 200 non-family adoptions last year.'
Three private member bills are either in the Parliamentary members' ballot or are being drafted, according to Fairfax NZ News. This matter is expected to be a conscience vote in Parliament.
National MP Nikki Kaye and gay Greens MP Kevin Hague have formed a cross-party alliance and expect to complete their own bill to overhaul adoption law in a few months.
The ruling National Party’s regional conference in Auckland also passed a remit in closed session over the weekend supporting adoption by couples in a civil union. Hague hopes this would encourage the government to put its own law forward.
Labour MP Jacinda Ardern had earlier introduced her own bill which would require the law to be rewritten to allow same-sex couples to adopt. Another Labour MP Louisa Wall is also drafting a bill to redefine marriage and allow gay adoption.
According to Kaye and Hague, there is a range of problems around current adoption laws in New Zealand for defacto heterosexual couples, same-sex couples, Maori customary adoption and surrogate children. A current problem is treating a child as if it were the property of its birth parents, severing all ties with the biological family.