A bill to update the adoption laws has been defeated at its first reading, after being rubbished by National MPs as a lazy, sloppy piece of work.
The bill, sponsored by Labour Party MP Jacinda Ardern, would have required the Law Commission to review childcare laws and draft replacement legislation.
Ms Ardern told MPs the country's adoption law is antiquated and unequal. She said, for example, a married gay couple could adopt but a gay couple in a civil union could not.
She said her bill would empower the Law Commission to draft updated legislation.
However, National Party MP Scott Simpson described the bill as sloppy and said it gave absolutely no direction to the Law Commission.
Mr Simpson said it would take at least four years before any change took place.
New Zealand First, Mana and Independent MP Brendan Horan joined Labour in voting for the bill, but it was defeated 78 votes to 42.
The Greens voted against the bill, saying their MP Kevin Hague has a much more comprehensive bill in the ballot which would overhaul adoption laws.