Adoption law needs revamp

Published: Fri 2 Mar 2012 01:56 PM
Associate Justice Spokesperson
Adoption law needs revamp
The plight of mothers like Merilyn McAuslin, who was forced to give up her baby for adoption, gives the government a timely opportunity to address out-dated legislation, says Labour’s Associate Justice spokesperson Lianne Dalziel.
Her comments follow on from debate sparked in Australia around the conditions under which unwed mothers were forced by the state to give up their babies between 1940 and 1970.
“New Zealand’s Adoption Act was passed before I was born. The legislation as it stands is no longer in the interests of those it seeks to protect. It no longer reflects social attitudes and it’s time the Government overhauled it,” Lianne Dalziel said.
“Current law severs the legal relationship between the child and the birth parents. That is now out of step with the Adult Adoption Information Act and the desire of many parents and adopted children who wish to meet each other and have an on-going relationship.
“When I was the Associate Minister of Justice it was always my intention to bring adoption into the Care of Children Act. The current Act’s exclusion of whangai adoption, for example, is something that could be brought into a modern day legal framework which frames adoption as a form of enduring guardianship.
“Labour is already looking to kick-start changes with Jacinda Ardern’s Members Bill,” Lianne Dalziel said.
“There is a need for people like Merilyn to be heard. Next week I will take her concerns formally to the Labour caucus asking for support for a select committee inquiry into past practices.
“I will also be raising with the Minister the need to reform the law, something her predecessor, Simon Power, urged Parliament to address in his valedictory,” Lianne Dalziel said.

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