25 Jun 2021

Decades old adoption act being reviewed

From Nine To Noon, 9:17 am on 25 June 2021

Justice Minister Kris Faafoi has released a discussion document on potential reform of New Zealand's adoption laws, including the Adoption Act, which hasn't been updated since 1955.

There have been calls to update the Act for decades - and attempts to do within Parliament have ultimately gone nowhere.

This despite reviews by the Law Commission in 2000 recommending an overhaul, and the Human Rights Tribunal finding in 2016 that seven provisions of the legislation was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights. Including single men applying to adopt to have 'special circumstances' before being allowed to adopt a girl, and the inability for same-sex couples to adopt.

In 2018 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated adoption reform was a priority for the Labour-led government.

Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll is a Māori health and wellbeing lecture at the University of Canterbury who was adopted, and has investigated the impact of adoption on children. 

Paper people chain, books and judge's gavel. Law, family politics and gay marriage legalization.

Photo: 123RF