Government consulting on new system for adoption laws

Wed 13 Jul 2022

This is the second round of consultation on reforming laws related to adoption.

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Government consultation on adoption system

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is seeking feedback on options to reform Aotearoa New Zealand's adoption laws and system.

The closing date to give feedback is 7 August 2022.

This is the government's second round of public consultation on reforming adoption laws. The feedback from this round will inform the development of final policy proposals for adoption law reform. The Government is asking for feedback on proposed options to reform the adoption system, noting:

"The options for reform the Government is considering would create a new adoption system that:

  • has a child-centred purpose of adoption
  • ensures legal connections to adoptive and birth family and whānau
  • supports meaningful participation of children and birth family and whānau
  • supports post-adoption contact to keep children connected to their birth family and whānau
  • creates automatic access to information on original birth record, with counselling available if requested
  • supports the adopted person to be connected to their birth culture."

The Government is asking for feedback on the discussion document - A new adoption system for Aotearoa New Zealand. The discussion document and a summary document are available in different languages and formats. There are several ways to give feedback including an online survey, face to face and online hui, and through written feedback. There are specific opportunities for people impacted by adoption, Tangata Whenua (including a Wānanga on whāngai), ethnic communities and Pacific Communities. Find information about all ways to give feedback from MOJ. Also see the online survey.

For questions email

The review is being led by the Ministry of Justice, working with Oranga Tamariki and other agencies.

Update: The government has released feedback from this secound round of consultation. The update from the Ministry of Justice also states "The National Iwi Chairs Forum Pou Tikanga, in collaboration with Ināia Tonu Nei(external link), held a Māori-led wānanga on whāngai in August 2022. The wānanga sought Māori views on whether there needs to be changes to the way the law treats whāngai and, if so, what the process for making those changes should look like."

Related news

This consultation does not include options relating to surrogacy. The Law Commission completed a Review of Surrogacy law and submitted a final report (NZLC Report 146) in May 2022. The report makes 63 recommendations to establish a new framework for determining legal parenthood in surrogacy arrangements and otherwise improve surrogacy law and practice. The Government will be considering the Law Commission’s recommendations for reforming surrogacy laws separately.

In addition, the Parliamentary Health Committee is asking for submissions on the Improving Arrangements for Surrogacy Bill. This Member's bill seeks to simplify surrogacy arrangements, ensure the completeness of birth certificate information, and provide a mechanism for enforcing surrogacy arrangements. The closing date to give feedback on the bill is 20 July 2022.

The Oranga Tamariki Action Plan was launched in July 2022. The Action Plan requires the Chief Executives of Oranga Tamariki, the Police, and the Ministries of Education, Social Development, Health, and Justice to work together to achieve the outcomes in the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy for children and young people. See Oranga Tamariki for more information including the Action Plan, implementation plan and related cabinet paper.

Related media

‘Nobody’s child’ – despite a compelling case for reform, NZ’s adoption laws remain stuck in the past, The Conversation, 08.08.2023

National iwi hui wants funding and resources to take care of whānau, Te Ao Māori News, 21.11.2022

Māori Women: Caught in the Contradictions of a Colonised Reality, E-Tangata, 25.09.2022

The myth of adoption as a social good, Newsroom, 22.07.2022

Kelvin Davis on the hunt for government departments failing vulnerable children, Stuff, 08.07.2022

What Māori want from reforms to the adoption system, Stuff, 06.07.2022

The law that failed the plight of ‘nobody’s child’, University of Auckland opinion: Mark Henaghan, 05.07.2022

Agencies agree on some guidelines for removal of babies from whānau, RNZ, 28.06.2022

No mountain, no river, Otago Daily Times, 07.02.2022

Image: Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels

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