Labour look to shake up adoption laws

by Mr Wainscotting

Jacinda Ardern, the Labour Party’s Youth Justice spokesperson, sent out a press release today announcing plans to table a Care of Children Law Reform Bill to modernise New Zealand’s adoption laws.

“The current Adoption Act needs changing. It is over 50 years old. It was written at a time when we had far more ‘stranger’ adoptions than we do now. It discriminates against prospective parents, doesn’t take into account whangai adoption and prevents children from being cared for in the best possible family environment.”

Also included would be opening adoption up to same-sex couples. Something that is long overdue in any state, let alone New Zealand.

“It also fails to take into account the number of legislative changes introduced over the past decade areas such as assisted reproduction technology, surrogacy and the legal status of de facto relationships and civil unions.”

Though the press release only implicitly references same-sex adoption, Ardern confirmed to me in a tweet that it would be the case.

Ardern’s bill comes hot on the heels of the group Adoption Action filing a claim with the Human Rights Review Tribunal against the government. According to their press release:

the Adoption Act 1955 and other adoption laws and practice notes are inconsistent with the anti-discrimination provisions of the Human Rights Act 1993 and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 in 15 different respects AND are inconsistent with fundamental rights and freedoms of the persons affected.

Adoption Action claims that adoption laws and practice notes discriminate against certain groups within society on the grounds of: Sex Marital status Religious or ethical belief Race or ethnic origin National origin Disability Age Sexual orientation.

Adoption Action is seeking a declaration under Part 1A Human Rights Act that various provisions of the Adoption Act and other adoption laws and practice notes are inconsistent with NZ’s anti-discrimination laws.

I’m going to watch with interest.

It’s been a long time coming, but it looks like, finally, one of the last legal barriers to total equality for queer people is coming down. I expect a lot of hand wringing and I foresee groups like Destiny and Family First buying up all the fainting couches in the country. I shall start collecting references to research that shows that children raised by same-sex parents do at least as well as those raised by heterosexual parents, and some research that shows that they’re actually better off.

Now, we just have to get them to work on adding transgender and intersex rights to the Human Rights Act…


3 thoughts on “Labour look to shake up adoption laws

  1. Pingback: I cede the floor to Mr Wainscotting « Ideologically Impure

  2. This is a great first step I suppose, but its a shame the decision of Jacinda’s party to tie up all of the members’ time with filibustering the VSM bill means this will never see the chamber.

    Still, I think there’s potentially some cross-party support for this obvious improvement: I think it was called for by Nikki Kaye in her Broadsides column a few weeks ago?

    • I thought so too, but then I read what Kevin Hague had to say on the matter —

      I’ve been meaning to blog on his response but I’ve been busy. But it just reminds us that even sensible bills in parliament get destroyed and dragged out through compromise and bargins and deals for no other reason than it was proposed by ‘the other guys.’

      As for Nikki Kaye, if memory serves me well, the Broadsides column featured both her and Ardern and both said the law needed a change, but seemed to imply that they’d wait for someone else to introduce the bill — the other problem with politics is that noone wants to touch anything that’s considered a hot potato, especially in an election year.

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