Hansard and Journals
Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill — In Committee
[Sitting date: 27 March 2013. Volume:688;Page:9020. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill
Clauses 1 to 7 and schedules 1 and 2
KEVIN HAGUE (Green) : It is a pleasure to take the first call in this Committee stage on the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill. This is, in fact, a bill with a narrow scope, and it is a bill with a pretty straightforward purpose. It is one of the shorter bills that this House considers, but it has been a bill that has engendered some impassioned submissions, both for and against, and passionate debate in this Chamber, which has stood Parliament in good stead with the public. The public have appreciated the tone with which members on all sides have debated the bill. But although those submissions that have been heard against the bill and the speeches against the bill that have been made in this Chamber have, I am sure, been sincere, they have largely been motivated by fear—fear of concerns that are largely imaginary, and fear that has been whipped up by a campaign in the community led, particularly, by a couple of individuals, on a totally false basis.
I know that in this debate this evening we are going to be considering a number of Supplementary Order Papers to address imaginary concerns. I do not in any way impugn the genuine nature of the members who are bringing those amendments. They believe that they are bringing those amendments to do something that is important, but the concerns that they are raising are either ones that have already been dealt with in the bill or ones that are false concerns, where there is no problem whatsoever. I will be taking, I expect, some further calls during the evening to address those Supplementary Order Papers.
I want to particularly note that none of the Supplementary Order Papers that have so far been tabled to amend the bill have come from a member of the Government Administration Committee. I want to say I believe that that is because all of those members who sat through the bulk of the submissions—and I acknowledge that Tim Macindoe did, in fact, participate in a meeting right towards the end. All of those who sat through the submissions—
Tim Macindoe: Two.
KEVIN HAGUE: Sorry, it was two meetings at the end. All of those who sat through the analysis of the submissions appreciate the complexity of the issues and understand why the select committee has made the very precise amendments to this bill that we have. All of the matters—literally all of the matters—that have been raised in the Supplementary Order Papers so far tabled are ones that were very seriously considered by the select committee and were rejected.
I want to come to the Supplementary Order Papers about referendums, because there are two that we are considering tonight. The idea was rejected in the second reading of this bill, and, along with all the other Supplementary Order Papers that have been tabled to date, will be opposed by our party and, I am sure, by most members tonight. The thing about referendums is that they are good for some situations. They are great for constitutional matters, for example, but they are a terrible, terrible way of addressing matters of human rights. Human rights are, by their very nature, inalienable. They are not an appropriate topic for referendums. They are also not an appropriate topic for the issue of minority rights, because minority rights will, of course, be rejected by a majority. I take the particular case of the vote for women in Switzerland. Because of the nature of referendums and the use of referendums in that country, it was achieved only in 1971.
Hon RUTH DYSON (Labour—Port Hills) : Can I first of all acknowledge the member who has just resumed his seat, Kevin Hague. I hope that at some point during the rest of the Committee stage of the debate on the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill he is able to elaborate on that issue he raised, because I think the voting ability for citizens and the proud record that New Zealand has in comparison with those countries where that right to vote was determined by referendum is very worthy of comparison. I know there may be some who think the downfall of our society started when women won the right to vote, but I am not one of those who share that view, and I know David Bennett does not agree with that either. He supports the right of women to vote.
I want to acknowledge the work of the Government Administration Committee on this process, particularly in relation to the Supplementary Order Papers that the Committee of the whole House will be considering, but also the work of the select committee generally. This is not an easy issue for us to have considered as a select committee, and I want to pay tribute to all the members of the select committee, those who sat on every single day of it, and those who joined us just at some times. Some of the stories that we heard were really hard to listen to. Some of the stories told of how people, from when they are very, very young, feel about being excluded from their families and being excluded from their communities, always feeling different, and how frustrating and how demoralising that was, and, actually, the worst part, how suicidal that made people feel, particularly young people. We heard factual evidence of the much higher rate of suicide amongst young people whose sexual orientation was different from what they had expected it to be and different from what their families and their communities had expected it to be. They were gay and lesbian and were not that out of their own choice; they were that because that is how they were born.
More than anything in this Parliament we should strive to make sure that our laws and our leadership and our attitude ensure that people who do others no harm are made to feel part of our community, and are made to feel as valued as they are valuable. In my view, every gay and lesbian law-abiding citizen in our country deserves the support of our Parliament to ensure that they never feel second-rate, that they never feel less worthy than anyone else, and that our law backs them in their love, which is the proposal that we are progressing tonight.
I also want to acknowledge the officials of our select committee. We did not give them an easy time, frankly, and that, again, is directly in relation to some of the issues that we will be debating tonight. We had some interesting tensions. The tension between religious freedom and protecting human rights was one that we found quite difficult to resolve. I think we have got it absolutely right, and that is why I would be urging every member of the Committee to oppose the Supplementary Order Papers that extend discrimination provisions to all marriage celebrants. I do not agree with that. I think that when we say in this House “What should we tolerate as discrimination? What should we accept as being actions that clearly breach our human rights provisions?”—because, you know, they have been in place for how long? A long time—two decades. They are old provisions. They are sacred provisions. When we say “What actions should breach our human rights provisions?”, I think we should do it with care, and we did that at the select committee.
We said that religious freedoms should be exempt from those human rights provisions, and therefore that marriage celebrants who are associated with religious associations should lawfully be backed to decline the obligation of solemnising a same-sex marriage. Our view was that it was already covered in the law, but we took a belt and braces approach to make sure that that religious freedom is maintained. We have specified it in our amendments to the legislation. Any further amendment, whether it is Supplementary Order Paper 202 in the name of Su’a William Sio or the amendment in the name of Dr Paul Hutchison, goes beyond what I think is fair and reasonable for this Parliament to justify. The Supplementary Order Paper in the name of Su’a William Sio actually extends it and narrows it at the same time, in a way that I think will give a confused message—
Su’a WILLIAM SIO (Labour—Māngere) : I want to introduce to the Committee for consideration Supplementary Order Paper 202 in my name. I want to make some preliminary remarks about the Supplementary Order Paper and the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill and then introduce the new clause that I have.
When President Obama indicated that he would support same-sex marriage most New Zealanders who believe in the sanctity of traditional marriage between a man and a woman did not expect that such change would occur so quickly in New Zealand, especially given that New Zealand already had civil union laws, which gave legal rights to same-sex couples, and, in particular, given that promises were made in this House that marriage would not be interfered with. I took a stance then in favour of the minority view of this House to not support the bill. I did so in accordance with the rights of freedom of conscience afforded to me on this issue, and the need to represent the views held by many throughout my constituency, by my family and friends, as well as the views expressed to me by religious groups.
Many in the religious and faith communities, whether they are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, or other faiths, have expressed and continue to express a view that marriage is a union of a man and a woman. These beliefs are real and genuine. They are not made up; they are not fairy tales. They are true and heartfelt and many trace the source of this belief back through history to their deity. In addition, views expressed by my colleagues, friends, and family members are also genuine and strongly held in favour of their right to be married irrespective of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. I called on everyone then on both sides of the argument to keep the debate respectful and dignified, as this issue impacted on colleagues, friends, and family members, and I acknowledge that the House has conducted itself in that manner.
The basis for my introducing my amendment at this late hour is because many of the Churches prefer that this bill not pass at all. However, as reflected in the votes so far on this bill, it appears that, if we are honest with ourselves, this bill may pass, thus launching New Zealand into new territory where we elevate same-sex unions from civil unions and provide new legal marriage freedoms for two people regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. If this be the will of the House that this bill pass at its third reading, then my amendments become critical in creating a balance between the religious freedoms currently enjoyed by religious and faith groups and the new same-sex marriage freedoms provided for by this bill.
My amendments aim to ensure that the newly created rights for same-sex couples do not infringe on the existing long-held rights of church groups to continue to conduct their affairs with the freedom to hold on to their belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. My amendments make an appropriate distinction between the affairs of the State to protect the equality of rights for all citizens and the affairs of a Church and how it conducts its affairs with its members who have a traditional view of marriage. My amendment is in accordance with the desire of the Government Administration Committee statement in its report: “It is our intention that the passage of this bill should not impact negatively upon people’s religious freedoms.”
I acknowledge that the select committee has worked hard to address the issues of religious freedoms of belief and expression. With the greatest respect, however, the select committee’s recommendations do not protect the freedom of expression of persons and organisations outside the context of clergy who are authorised by their organisation to refuse to perform a specific marriage. The select committee recommendations do not protect church organisations from refusing to allow their premises that are occupied and used for religious purposes to be used for, or in connection with, same-sex marriage ceremonies. The principles in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 do not have supremacy in our laws and can be overridden by other legislation, and because of the provisions in the main bill, specific provision is also now needed to protect the rights of those who believe that marriage can be between only a man and a woman. My amendments provide protections that are clear in their intent and designed to avoid unintentional conflicts.
My Supplementary Order Paper includes three new paragraphs. In the first new paragraph, section 29(2)(a), my amendment provides protection to religiously affiliated celebrants or Church ministers if their personal beliefs are that marriage must be between a man and a woman even if their religion is not absolutely against same-sex marriages. The select committee’s efforts refer to “the religious beliefs of a religious body”. That is the denomination as a whole. This means that all the ministers of religion within a church are bound or otherwise by the religious belief of the Church in relation to same-sex marriage. There are currently two Churches today that I am aware of that have not yet confirmed a formal position as a whole as to whether to accept marriage of same-sex couples or not. There is no protection for individual Church ministers to conduct their religious role in accordance with their own conscience in the absence of a formal position by the body of their Church.
I have tweaked the select committee amendment to include protection of freedoms of belief and expression for individual church ministers whose religious organisations have not yet formalised a view on whether or not to accept same-sex marriage, or where the church organisation has refused to adopt an official position on the issue. My amendment provides this individual right to a church minister, pastor, or rabbi in a situation where there is absence of a view by the whole body of their Church. My amendment does not broaden out this individual right to civil celebrants and registrars. Civil celebrants and registrars would not have this protection, because they are performing a paid, public service, and this is in accordance with the positions of Canada and the United Kingdom.
In the second new paragraph, my amendment provides in section 29(2)(b) that a person or a religious organisation will continue to have the freedom to express their views and provide counselling that marriage should be the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others. The select committee is to be commended for repealing section 56 of the Marriage Act, which was not compatible with the rights and freedoms set out in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act and the Human Rights Act. My amendment, however, explicitly removes all doubt and provides greater certainty of these freedoms of religious belief and expression.
And in the final new paragraph, my amendment in section 29(2)(c) provides for a religious organisation to refuse to allow its consecrated premises, premises that are occupied and used for religious purposes, to be used for, or in connection with, a marriage that is not a marriage between a man and a woman. My amendment aligns with the Crown Law Office recommendations in its report: “Therefore if Parliament intends that religious congregations not be required to permit their place of worship to be used for the solemnisation of same sex marriages contrary to their religious beliefs, we recommend that this be made explicit in the legislation to put the issue beyond doubt.” My amendment provides clarity and certainty of this right. I am not asking that we extend the rights to commercial, for-profit, or investment property; it is solely for properties that are consecrated and occupied and used for religious purposes. I believe that without this amendment and the necessary safeguard it provides for religious freedom, the recognition of same-sex marriages will lead to socially divisive and entirely unnecessary conflict.
My Supplementary Order Paper is in alignment with the intent and the statement by the select committee. It reaffirms with certainty the freedoms of religious belief, conscience, and manifestation as provided in sections 13 and 15 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. Despite the wonderful efforts of the select committee, which I acknowledge and thank it for, the intention of Parliament is not clear with this legislation as it now stands, hence my amendments, which clarify and provide greater certainty of religious freedoms in light of the new marriage freedoms for same-sex couples. It is important that Parliament’s intentions are crystal clear, otherwise what may occur is that Parliament’s intention may be challenged in a court of law in the future.
I have attached for the sake of members of this Committee in my Supplementary Order Paper references to Canadian law. Canada, for people’s information, has some experience in maintaining this balance, given it has had same-sex marriage since 2001. I seek consideration by this Committee and I ask that you find in favour of my Supplementary Order Paper.
Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) : We have heard that none of the proponents of Supplementary Order Papers on this matter were members of the Government Administration Committee, and as a consequence they did not hear the arguments. They were not part of understanding the analysis, and they did not appreciate the intensity of submissions. Then we were also told that a referendum was rejected by MPs because it is good for some situations but it is a bad way of addressing human rights issues. I wonder what Abraham Lincoln would have thought in the 1860s to hear that an issue that went in the end because of its expansion—not the cause but the expansion of slavery—and the cessation of it led to the Civil War in the United States. I wonder what Abraham Lincoln, this magnificent leader when it comes to human rights, would have thought of such an argument.
At the beginning of this debate last year the proponents of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill talked a lot about public opinion. One was reported as saying: “twice as many New Zealanders support marriage equality as oppose it so we can now make it law,” or that “We campaigned on this.” Really? I have got the manifesto here of the party that said that. It said on this issue: “Review and update relationship and relationship property law”. That is it. With the greatest of respect, please make claims in this House that can be sustained by how it was pre-warned to the electorate as to what was intended to be done. But some of us have been around long enough to know one thing: that the public on this matter is seriously concerned, and it is all over the place and divided on this issue. Opponents say one thing and the proponents say something else. What we want to know is where does the majority lie in New Zealand? It should not be reposed in 121 temporarily empowered members of Parliament. That is the fundamental issue here. Then to come to the House and start disputing the efficacy of an expanded democracy, where you share your views with the public of this country in this computerised age, is an extremely astonishing and alarming development.
I note that there are people who want to ignore the public and pass laws. We have seen it on asset sales and all sorts of other things, but a lot of the people who were lining up for a public referendum on asset sales and Mighty River Power now say: “Oh, but you cannot have it on this issue.” So we can trust the public on Mighty River Power and assets, but we cannot trust them on moral issues. I will ask you again: where did some of the members of this Parliament ever attain that intellectual, moral, and ethical superiority where they could shamefacedly, in front of the whole public and recorded by Hansard, tell New Zealanders what they think of their views? How did it happen to our democracy in 2013 that people could be so bold? No pre-election warning, just a post-election onslaught.
The select committee process has shown that the public are split. The public meetings show that the public are split. Letters to the editor say the public are split. Talkback radio, social media—all indicators suggest that this is a polarising and divisive issue in the community. Everyone here knows what my view of polls is. They are so erroneous in New Zealand, they are so unprofessional, that these things should be banned. Internationally, you get a 3 percent spread between five major pollsters, and they meet to try to sort out what is wrong with their methodology. Here we have a 14 percent spread and they carry on regardless. But when a poll is within 10 percent either way, then no one can tell me, in this House or outside, that they know what their neighbour, who is the voter of this country and whom we are meant to be the servants of, really thinks. So what is wrong with asking them? The work place is split. Churches are split.
Barbara Stewart: That’s right.
Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: It is true. Inside the Church churches are split. Families are split. “Where lies the majority?” is the issue that should be the most compelling for a member of Parliament who campaigned at the last election on the principle of democracy. There is no consensus. There is no majority. There is no mandate. You know, you can ridicule it by saying: “Well, the New Zealand First leader wants a ‘man-date’.”, and try to make out that a democratic dream is an issue of hilarity and humour or comedy. Let me tell that person who wrote that sort of thing that they would be the first victims if that was what resided in this country—a contempt for democracy itself. Yet we are here as Parliament about to totally disregard public opinion, and all a referendum asks is not that you do not get to have a vote, that you do not get to have a say, or that you even have a majority in this House; all we ask you is to await a public referendum to endorse your claims of having a majority. Is that so bad? Can that be so wrong? Again I ask those members whether on other issues of importance they would say: “My conscience, right or wrong, regardless of the constituency.”
As you know, our position is well-known. We have been consistent all along on this for years. We have never got up on a stage and said that we are going to debunk that person’s view or despise that person’s view. What we have said, day after day and night after night, and in more public meetings than most people here have ever had—and with bigger audiences, I might say—is: why do we not trust the people, have a fully fledged public debate, and even finance the quality of the debate so that it reaches above the blind and the bigoted to some rational and sane argument, and then ask the public what they think? We stand by that policy and tonight we are repeating our call. We want to find out where the truth lies.
I have asked people I know, friends of mine and acquaintances who are not ashamed to know me, who are both homosexual and lesbian, what they think. I have been astonished by the answer of those who said: “Well, I never asked for the civil union in law and nor am I asking for this. I am happy with what I have got.”—or to be ambushed in the middle of the parliamentary night to find out that “Now that you are living in a long-term relationship, you are subject to a claim of 50 percent of your assets.” These people were never asked, and they are homosexual. Perhaps they should have had a survey or a poll amongst them, but I have not seen that yet. All I am hearing is people claiming to represent a certain view. If that view was correct, then why were there so few actions following the passing of the Civil Union Bill? Why have so few sought that path if they have a massive majority even amongst a certain section in our society who they claim to be in support of this bill?
To those who say it was in their election manifesto, we have to say: “Well, show me.”, because it cannot be what I am reading. I would be hard-pressed to find any reference to this pre-2011. I have the manifesto. Nowhere in the document is there any statement of Labour’s intent, for example, to change the definition of marriage. It is not there. We get, as I say, on page 374 that commitment to review and update relationship and relationship property law, whatever that means. Apparently, the media did not know what it meant either. There was not one news story regarding Labour’s stance on marriage in 2011—not one. We have a report that says Labour supports gay adoption. We have reports saying Labour wants to prevent homophobia in schools, but no mention of marriage equality. I am not here to criticise people other than they put this in contention when they said it. So if you are going to contend it, be prepared for the examination of whether it is truth or not. No billboards, no mail outs, no TV ads, no speeches—just a deafening silence.
Hon Trevor Mallard: Nonsense. What nonsense.
Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: No, no, no. Mr Goff said in July 2011 that he saw no need to redefine marriage. He was the leader of the Labour Party right up to the last election when whatever mandate or not we all got came into effect.
Let us not forget what we are talking about when we talk about this, because, frankly, around New Zealand are a whole lot of voters—and this is not a threat—who are going to make up their mind on this issue, and I say to some of my colleagues in this Parliament that they have put in serious jeopardy the next election result. That goes for National as well. It is a funny thing, is it not? In the National Party it is the list members who are going for this bill, and the ones who have got a constituency seat, in the main, are going against it. Many of those are going for the referendum. I say one more time that if you want to survive—
- Sitting suspended from 6 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.
The CHAIRPERSON (H V Ross Robertson): The Committee of the whole House is resumed. Kia ora tātou, nō reira e te Whare, e ngā iwi, e ngā reo, e ngā hau e whā. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.
Hon Judith Collins: Kia ora.
The CHAIRPERSON (H V Ross Robertson): Well, thank you, Mrs Collins. Honourable members, when we were debating this prior to the dinner break, the Rt Hon Winston Peters had the call and he had just completed his call. I remember him doing so. So I am going to invite some other member to seek the call.
JACINDA ARDERN (Labour) : This is the first and only speech that I will make on this bill, the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill. Although I sat through all the stages, I have never felt like it was my place to take a speaking slot. There are just too many other people in this House who have played a far greater role or who are more personally affected by it than I. But does that not say something in and of itself—the fact that, whether this bill passes or not, my rights and my privileges as a heterosexual woman will continue. I can choose to marry, or not. I can choose to enter a civil union, or not. I am not the one who has experienced limitations on my rights or freedoms, and yet here I am, privileged enough to have a vote to determine whether that right should be extended to others. And when it comes to whether or not that right should be granted, for me there is no question. The answer has always been yes.
I say “always” for a reason. Debates of conscience such as these do tend to lead to questions over an individual member of Parliament’s set of values. I understand the natural curiosity that comes around our religious upbringings. They help people understand how we have come to a position or they simply cause to confuse. My story probably lends itself more to the latter. I was reminded of it recently while cleaning out some old university papers. I stumbled across an essay I had written for a comparative policy class, in roughly the year 2000, arguing the case for civil unions. This was a fairly unremarkable thing—I was, after all, a staunch member of the Labour Party. But I was also at that time a member of the Mormon Church. It is fair to say that I know what cognitive dissonance feels like. When I started campaigning for civil unions some time later, I decided that I could not sustain such competing value sets any longer, and I left the Church.
I understand the internal battle that some members in this House have shared during the course of this debate, but I can honestly say that my battle was never over choosing equality or not, but rather how to deal with the fact that the values of equality and fairness were in fact the only things I never ever doubted.
Although I am no longer a member of the Mormon Church, I greatly respect it and I respect its members. I also respect their right to choose how marriage is expressed within their religion and therefore whom they perform marriages on behalf of. I would not support any part of a bill that removed that freedom from them. This Parliament is giving the assurance to such religious institutions today that this protection exists.
Although section 29 of the Marriage Act 1955 already states that “A marriage licence shall authorize but not oblige any marriage celebrant to solemnize the marriage to which it relates.”, the Government Administration Committee went even further with drafting that assures that “no celebrant who is a minister of religion recognised by a religious body” and “no celebrant who is a person nominated to solemnize a marriage by an approved organisation, is obliged to solemnize if solemnizing that marriage would contravene the religious beliefs …”. Not only does the law contain this protection; Hansard, the record of this Parliament, will record it also. Put simply, the requests laid out for us by institutions like the Mormon Church have been heard and have been met within the bill. No amendment is required.
I could not end my small contribution to this debate without acknowledging the roles of those who have paved the way for the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill: Fran Wilde with homosexual law reform, Tim Barnett with civil unions, and, of course, Louisa Wall for marriage equality. But behind each of these sat community members who have fought hard, with pride and in spite of personal anguish and attacks, to get us where we are today, and they deserve our thanks.
In 1948 my great-uncle was imprisoned for no other reason than his sexuality. He was in a State prison for 3 years for what was then considered to be a crime. Although in the eyes of the law we no longer criminalise the expression of someone’s sexuality, I do not believe we will have a fully inclusive society until we remove all forms of discrimination, be they physical bars or the stigma imposed by legal differentiation. That is why today I cast my vote on behalf of queer and questioning youth, on behalf of my friends, and on behalf of my uncle.
Hon Members: Brendan.
The CHAIRPERSON (H V Ross Robertson): Brendan. I am sorry. I will put my glasses on.
BRENDAN HORAN (Independent) : Apology accepted, Mr Chair. Thank you, Mr Chair. I take a call tonight to urge every member of this Committee to vote for a public referendum by postal vote to bring this bill, the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, into effect. That is provided for in Supplementary Order Paper 187, which is in my name. The opportunity to have a decision made by the public of New Zealand should be welcomed by those in support of, and opposed to, the bill. There is nothing to be afraid of and everything to embrace.
Two speakers previous to me, two members whom I respect very much, the honourable Kevin Hague and the Hon Ruth Dyson, said words that actually disturbed me in so far as they suggested that a referendum is contrary to the minority view. The connotation was, therefore, that somehow if this went to a referendum, the will of New Zealanders would be against this bill. To hear fellow MPs suggest that leaves me in a conundrum, because I was under the impression that we were here by the will of the people of New Zealand and, therefore, should be exercising that will.
All of us in this Chamber have been inundated with mail and emails about this reform of marriage. It has generated strong passions on both sides of the debate. Same-sex marriage is an issue that many New Zealanders have a very firm view on, and no one can argue that it does not have long-term social ramifications for our society. Consultation by referendum with New Zealanders is something that Parliament should do, rather than asserting a right to a conscience vote on a dramatic social change such as this, and, importantly, I would defend the right of every voter to be able to choose either yes or no. There will be a clear choice made. New Zealanders will make that choice in a referendum. It is the fairest and most sensible way forward. If the 121 men and women in this House purport to make the final decision on this major social change, then I fear that it will not be readily accepted by broader New Zealand. There is a potential to be creating a new group—to use Louisa Wall’s words—of second-class citizens, whose feelings of injustice and resentment will last for years. I am concerned that bitterness, acrimony, and bigotry could linger. However, if we have a referendum and we go to the people of New Zealand, there is a far greater likelihood of broad acceptance of the outcome, and, consequently, harmony in New Zealand.
I would like to address some of the things that have been said. The honourable member Chris Auchinvole said 2 weeks ago that a referendum is something you call for when you cannot make up your mind. On the contrary, I say that a referendum recognises that there are times when this House needs to recognise that there are prudent limits to the changes that it can initiate, limits when it is necessary to obtain the endorsement of the public of New Zealand, who, after all, gave us the mandate to be here.
The honourable member Kevin Hague in the second reading identified the key divide: those New Zealanders, on the one hand, who see us as a pluralistic society, in which Parliament creates a supportive framework, and those on the other hand, who see that Parliament should legislate for a strict code of behaviour. The referendum I propose is not to appease the chronologically advanced. It would not be able to be hijacked to become an election bandwagon. Rather, this referendum is for all New Zealanders. It is for young New Zealanders, including those too young to understand and also those not yet born. It is also for those New Zealanders who feel a sense of helplessness, who have not been able to exercise their voice. This is about the new world.
For the people in New Zealand who in 10 years’ time look back and ask whether this change, this dramatic decision, was the view of the nation or the decision of the State, this referendum will give that decision to the nation and divorce it from simply being the view of the State. To give the decision to the nation and for the harmony and the oneness that our country’s future depends upon, I ask members to vote for this Supplementary Order Paper. I would reiterate that there is no need to be afraid. We are not in a totalitarian State. There is no need to fear giving power to the people of New Zealand, for, after all, we are one country, we are one nation, and together we are all New Zealanders.
MOANA MACKEY (Labour) : I am happy to be filling in for my colleague Louisa Wall, who cannot be here tonight. I was also happy to be a member who sat in on the Government Administration Committee for the passage of this piece of legislation, the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill. Can I, first of all, thank members for their interest in this debate and the tenor in which the debate is being carried out, and for the Supplementary Order Papers that people have drafted. I appreciate that they have been done in the full sincerity of trying to get the best possible law that we can, and I am hoping that my contribution may actually be able to provide some clarification, because I think we are actually a lot closer than members might believe in terms of being in agreement on a lot of these issues.
The Government Administration Committee worked very, very hard on the issues that have been raised both in speeches and in Supplementary Order Papers, because we knew that when dealing with the area of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act and the Human Rights Act, we had to be very careful about the wording. We had to be very careful about unintended consequences that might come from drafting that has not had that kind of consideration given to it, and that is how we came up with the wording that we did.
So if I can move first to the main issue that people have been raising, which is the protection of religious freedom and the concerns that Churches and religious organisations might be forced against their own beliefs to marry gay couples. Well, members may or may not know that section 29 of the Marriage Act, which has been in place since 1955, actually states that “A marriage licence shall authorize but not oblige any marriage celebrant to solemnize the marriage to which it relates.” That has been in place since 1955. There has not been an issue with that, at all—not even since the civil unions legislation was passed in 2004 has this ended up going into some kind of legal stoush.
But concerns were raised that the refusal to solemnise on the grounds of sexual orientation might breach the Human Rights Act. The Human Rights Commission, which is the body that would investigate any such claim, has said that it would not uphold a complaint of discrimination against a celebrant who declined to solemnise a marriage. So that is in place there, as well. So there is that protection of section 29. But to put it beyond doubt, because we recognised the genuine concerns that were being raised by submitters, the select committee actually proposed an amendment to make it clear—because we appreciate that the Marriage Act pre-dates the Human Rights Act and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act—that in this day and age we do not believe that freedom of religious expression should be overruled by this piece of legislation and that any celebrant acting on behalf of or appointed by a Church can refuse to marry any couple, if to do so would contravene their religious beliefs. We deliberately included celebrants in that, so this applies not just to religious ministers but to celebrants who are associated with those religious organisations, as well.
So the issue has now come down to what we call independent celebrants, who are not acting on the authority of any Church. I want to remind members of the very important distinction between the role of the Church and the role of the State here. Religious celebrants are acting on behalf of the religious organisation to which they belong and the State. Independent celebrants are acting solely on behalf of the State. I want to direct members to section 5 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. This is the official information that we got from officials, which says that, indeed, it does allow rights affirmed under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act to be justifiably limited. Accordingly: “An exemption could be justified where it would be contrary to their recognised purpose [of religious bodies and approved organisations] to require [their celebrants] to solemnise certain marriages. In contrast, independent marriage celebrants and registrars are appointed by the Registrar-General to perform a public function, not to promote their own religious or personal beliefs.”
That separation between Church and State is very important, because if we now say that these public servants, effectively, who are carrying out a public function are not subject to the Human Rights Act, then what does that say for the civil servants who work in the Department of Internal Affairs, for example, issuing the marriage certificates? What the select committee did was we left the door open to those celebrants who do have firm religious beliefs to go to their Church and have their Church appoint them as acting under its authority. That way, they are given the full protection of this new clause that the select committee has put in. So I believe we have covered off that issue very, very carefully, and I would be concerned if we were to vote up amendments that might muddy that, because it was a very deliberate decision to not only make a separation between Church and State but to provide an avenue for those celebrants who are currently independent and who want to be able to exercise their own religious beliefs and their own religious freedoms.
And can I just point out an issue of reality, which is that this is unlikely to be a problem. On one of the most important days of your life, I do not think that any couple is going to want to have someone presiding over their ceremony who does not want to be there and who is there only under the threat of legal action. That is why this has never been an issue since 1955. It has not been an issue since the Civil Union Act came in, in 2004. I do not believe it is going to be an issue going on into the future. I accept the principle of the matter, but in reality I do not believe that anyone is going to be under the genuine threat of prosecution.
So we come to the issue of the use of church buildings and the ability to refuse to supply facilities or services. Can we be clear that churches will not, across the board, be required to provide their facilities for same-sex marriages if this bill passes. I want to read to members from the Human Rights Commission opinion on this. It said: “In part this reflects the fact that religious ceremonies and services are not an area of public life covered by the [Human Rights Act]. Similarly ceremonial or consecrated spaces, or any other religious premises that are not made available for the public to hire, are not covered by the [Human Rights Act]. However, when religious organisations provide goods or services or accommodation to the public they are held to the same non-discrimination standards as others.” This was actually backed up in the legal opinion of Family First.
So the idea that this is going to be carte blanche and that everyone has to provide their facilities is not true. Can I say to members that it has been the law for 20 years that if you provide a commercial service, you must do so in an anti-discriminatory way. You may not discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation. If members want to do that, then they should put forward a bill to amend the Human Rights Act, which is actually where this sits, not the Marriage Act. It is a major winding back of our human rights legislation if we now say that the law that has been in place for 20 years, where we have not had any issues, is now going to try to be wound back by an amendment to the Marriage Act.
Can I then come to the issue of freedom of speech and the concerns that the passage of this bill may mean that some people cannot express their views on gay marriage. One thing that came up was that there is section 56 of the Marriage Act—which none of us, I believe, knew existed—which makes it an offence to deny the validity of someone’s marriage. There were fears that this could be used against those who now recognise the validity of same-sex marriages. Well, it has never been used. This penalty has never been exercised. It is a “100 pound” fine and the select committee basically said: “Let’s get rid of it. It’s no longer appropriate.”, so members do not need to worry that section 56 may be used against people who speak out against same-sex marriages.
If I could move on to the issue of the referendum and the Supplementary Order Papers that are in place, the Rt Hon Winston Peters said that we are saying you can have a referendum on asset sales but not on this issue, and I want to say, absolutely, that that is not the case. Yes, you can have a referendum on this issue, but there is a process that we go through in this country to initiate referenda. That is absolutely open to members who oppose this bill, just as it was to members who oppose asset sales. What the Supplementary Order Papers are actually asking we do is to bypass that process, to override that process that is currently in place. From my own personal view I do strongly believe there are some issues that should not be determined by a referendum, and I do not believe that the rights of any minority group should be subjected and upheld only on the will of the majority.
Members mentioned Switzerland, where they do these issues by referenda all the time and as a result women did not get the vote until 1971—1971. I want to tell members the reasons that were given at the time were that men and women are fundamentally different—men and women are fundamentally different! On the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs website they point out, saying—
The CHAIRPERSON (H V Ross Robertson): Order! I am sorry to interrupt the member. Can I just remind members that you can interject on the speaker who has the floor, but you cannot interject on each other when you do not have the floor. If you want to do that, then it is not done in this place.
MOANA MACKEY: What the department said at the time—one of the reasons given as to why women should not be given the vote—was that “... it wouldn’t promote equality because their natural modesty would stop them going out to vote when pregnant, and since rural women have more babies than those in towns, this would give an unfair advantage to the latter.” So I think there are some intrinsic dangers in putting an issue like this to the vote at a referendum.
More generally, I want to address the issue that a number of people who have emailed us have talked about, and that is children and what this might mean for children. I think we all agree in this Chamber that marriage does afford benefits, both legal and social. It provides stability. My question to members would be: why should every child in this country not have access to those benefits? Why are we saying to children who are currently living with parents in same-sex relationships—they are there now and if this bill does not pass that is not going to change—that they do not get the full protections and benefits of marriage because some adults disagree with the relationship that their parents are in? I think if we are looking at the rights of children in this country, then this bill actually does afford more legal rights and protections, as well as social protections and stability, to those children who are being raised in those families.
In terms of other matters—very quickly—this bill will address an issue for transgender people who, when they go through that process, have to annul their marriage or choose to remain listed with their original sex on their birth certificate, which puts a number of them in a horrible situation. This bill will address this. Some members say that some gay people do not want to marry; that is true. They do not have to do it. But if they do not do it, it will be because they choose not to do it, not because the State knowingly and deliberately excludes them from the institution.
Dr RAJEN PRASAD (Labour) : Like a number of previous speakers, I was not able to take a call in the first two readings of this bill, the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill. It is a pleasure to take this call. I want to speak specifically to clause 5A, but before I do that I just want to reflect on the bill and how I have gone about making my decision on it.
When we are asked to exercise our conscience, there is no guidance in this Parliament as to how that conscience needs to be exercised. So I did a number of things. One was certainly to consult my own community. As I went about consulting the ethnic communities in Auckland, their leaders, I certainly found a range of opinion—some supporting the direction of this bill as an element of 21st century society, and others, a sizable proportion of the ethnic community, were not comfortable with the direction of this bill. In fact, as I went further into that I realised that they are not comfortable with the existence, the legality, of gay relationships. That is one matter that could not be relitigated. There have been many who have consulted us and made submissions who would like to relitigate that primary principle. That is not up for debate here. New Zealand crossed that bridge in the 1980s, and so we are now talking about something else.
Then I reflected with my family and friends—some very, very dear friends—who are members of the gay community. Some highly respected New Zealand families have children and grandchildren of gay relationships. I looked upon them and talked to some of them, and realised that here were people in gay relationships, with children, leading normal lives, with no effect on anybody else. They are great citizens, great mums, great dads, bringing up children whom anybody in this Chamber would be very proud of. So that matter then became part of my conscience.
The third element is the fact that I was a human rights commissioner for New Zealand. Once you swear to uphold the human rights of New Zealand citizens, you do not do that for the period that you hold that mandate; you do it for all time. So for me, in the end, it became a question of the rights of New Zealand citizens. For me then it became very simple and very clear. Our laws did not permit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, and that indeed was enough for me to put all of the arguments together, put all of the consultations that I had carried out together, to say that there was only one position one could take on this particular bill, which was to support it. I also want to look into the eyes of those children, those mums and dads, those friends of mine, and those leaders of our communities who are members of this community and say that when the time came to express their rights in this Parliament in the only way I knew how, I did the right thing.
So from that point of view it was the right thing to do, and I am very pleased and proud to be able to support that. I know that members of my own community will not accept that, but I ask them to reflect on New Zealand’s history. I ask them to reflect on New Zealand’s history, its present, and its future. That is the country to which we as migrants have committed to and we have to accept some of those things, particularly when a Parliament such as this, the most democratic in the world, makes a decision. So from those points of view I was pleased to support this bill.
There is one final element that influenced me, and it was this. This bill takes nothing away from anybody. It actually takes nothing away. Those who argue that it does somehow reduce us as a society in terms of our spirituality certainly have a difficulty with me, because there is nothing about my relationship, my family, my marriage that is negated or diminished in any way. I know that the institution of marriage has been developed for a long time, and no doubt will continue to develop. It is not set in a form that has always been the same. It has always developed. A bit like our society and our civilisation, this institution will also develop.
I want to come to clause 5A. I also had concerns about the role of ministers and the role of marriage celebrants. There was a time when I thought, hang on, this does create some difficulties. I wondered how the Government Administration Committee was going to work its way through this. I am very pleased with what it has done in clarifying this in new clause 5A, amending section 29 of the Act. I think it is a very, very elegant way in which it has gone about doing this. The committee first underscored the principle that “A marriage licence shall authorize but not oblige any marriage celebrant …”. I think that provides all of the protection that I require for a marriage celebrant who says: “I’m not obliged to do this.” I cannot imagine any couple who would then want to use a marriage celebrant who has expressed strong views. So for that reason I accept the clarification. I also accept that the avoidance of doubt clause that has been written into new section 29 is also very powerful, because it does satisfy those with strong religious beliefs, and they are across a number of religions. They are protected, and so they should be. So that satisfied two of the major requirements I had.
Then I come to the Supplementary Order Papers. I have difficulty with all of the Supplementary Order Papers that comment on the role of marriage celebrants, because I think inadvertently those Supplementary Order Papers are now licensing discrimination itself. I do not believe we need to go beyond what is already in the amendments to this bill, because to do anything else means we argue against the very principles that certainly have led me to the position I take. In the end, it will be discriminatory, and this is not the time or place for us to include provisions in our Acts that are discriminatory for no other reason. It almost goes around in circles, because it is saying that because you want to discriminate, it is OK to discriminate. Yet the whole thing is about anti-discrimination, and if that is where we start from, then I believe that in all conscience I can support none of the Supplementary Order Papers, because to go beyond where this particular amendment goes would be unfair, would be illogical, and would be unnecessary. It does address concerns of our citizens, but I think we must shape responses to those concerns, rather than accept them and make the amendments that they require, because the unintended consequences, as Moana Mackey says, are too terrible to contemplate—they would be—and I could not look the people I talked about earlier in the face and say that I supported that. So I will not be voting for those kinds of amendments. I do accept, however, the sincerity with which members have raised those concerns in this Committee. I know where they are coming from and I know what lies behind them, but I take comfort from the fact that the religious freedoms that are necessary and protected in our legislation, in the Human Rights Act, at the moment are protected here as well.
So with those comments I want to thank those who have participated in this bill for the care with which they have made those comments, and I trust that those listening will accept that this is not a knee-jerk reaction. It has been a long process. It is a process that I have gone through personally, and after many, many discussions I have arrived at a point that I now articulate. I know that many will be disappointed, and I know that many, many more will not be disappointed. I want to be able to look at both of those communities in the eye and say that we have taken away nothing from anybody and that we have, in fact, enabled us to be the kind of caring society we aspire to be. If we create those who are inside and those who are outside, then I believe we have done that for too long already. This is not the time or the place to do it, and I certainly would not want to be part of that. With those comments, I will support the bill.
PAUL GOLDSMITH (National) : Reading Tony Blair’s autobiography some time back, I was struck by his observation about politics that “when you decide, you divide.”, and I am conscious of the grave responsibility that is on the House this evening. I have certainly struggled with this bill, the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, and have given it a great deal of thought, because it lies in the territory between two of my core political philosophies.
My conservative instincts, on one hand, lead me to respect traditions and the wisdom of centuries. Marriage has traditionally been conceived as being between a man and a woman, and in the British and Christian traditions for centuries it has been between one single man and one single woman. That has been the case only because it has made perfectly good sense. Institutions and ideas change over time, but the conservative in me makes me hesitate before changing something that has served society well for so long. I certainly understand and respect the strength of feeling of many New Zealanders who feel that we should keep things the way we are.
Running parallel to that, however, my guiding political belief is my commitment to freedom for people to live their lives in different ways with respect. Life is interesting, society is dynamic, and culture is diverse when people are free and have the liberty to live in different ways. It was 25-odd years ago when we agreed that the State should not outlaw homosexual acts, and very few people disagree with that now.
So I can understand why some gay couples would like to have access to the institution of marriage. People often ask: “Well, why do they want marriage when they can have civil unions already?”. The answer, of course, is that words are important, which is why people on both sides feel so strongly about it.
On balance, I have decided that for me freedom, or individual conscience, trumps tradition, so I am supporting this bill.
My background has been that I was raised in the Christian faith, in the Baptist Church. Many of my relatives and friends from that background are disappointed that I am voting for this bill. I understand their disappointment, but I would remind them that the Baptist Church was born out of the idea of non-conformity. The early Baptists gathered together because they disagreed with aspects of the established Church, and they suffered terribly for their individual beliefs. The tolerance of religious non-conformity that English-speaking peoples had arrived at certainly by the 19th century was fundamental in establishing many of the freedoms and the liberties that we enjoy today. We are so much better for it, accepting that we can all live together in a society, even though we fundamentally disagree on matters that are very dear to our hearts.
Many people have also raised the matter of defending the role of the family as the bedrock of society. Is this bill weakening the family? I am not convinced that it is. I do believe that strong and responsible families are essential to a successful society and that there is much work to do to strengthen families, but the real political battleground there, if, indeed, there is such a battleground, is, in my view, over the messages and signals that the State sends, particularly through its welfare policies. In my view, the signal that the State has sent over the past few decades through welfare policies has in many ways undermined the family, and dealing with that is far more important than whether gay couples can call themselves married or not—in my view.
Turning back to the bill, like many of my National colleagues, I needed first to be reassured that freedom of religion would be maintained, so that no marriage celebrant would be forced against their will to marry gay couples. Those assurances were given and an amendment to the bill strengthens protection for marriage celebrants, and I am sure that the will of Parliament on this matter is very clear. An amendment by my colleagues Macindoe and Mitchell makes that even clearer.
I also voted for a proposal that there be a referendum on this topic before the bill became law. I see it as materially different to a referendum on Government policy such as partial asset sales, where the Government policy was explicitly outlined before an election and is core to economic policy. In those circumstances, to my mind, there is no argument for a separate referendum. It seems to me, though, that on matters of major social change such as this, particularly when there has been relatively little discussion before or during an election campaign, a referendum is appropriate. [Bell rung] So I was disappointed that that was lost and—
Paul Goldsmith: No, that is enough. Thank you.
DAVID BENNETT (National—Hamilton East) : I want to take just a short call following on from my colleague Paul Goldsmith about the referendum issue. As somebody who is not married, for anybody to get married I think is a great thing. I see both sides of the argument and am encouraged by anybody who wishes to follow that path. As an electorate MP, we have had numerous correspondence and meetings with people on both sides of the debate on the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, and I understand the issues raised on both sides of the debate. I just want to thank everybody who has been part of that, especially the proponents of the bill in this House, for the way they have done that. I think they have done it in a very fair and open way, and I would like to thank them for that and thank the members of the community who have shown their opinion.
Outside this Parliament tonight we actually have people showing both sides of the argument. It becomes a question of whether we in this House should really be making this decision. It is my firm belief that this is a decision that we can all hold opinions on. Some of us may not have strong opinions. Some of us may not know exactly which way they should vote, and it is going to be difficult to make a decision one way or the other. But I do believe that it is an issue that could go to the public. It is a situation on which the public could make up their own minds. It is not a situation where there are hidden issues that politicians have to understand and debate. It is not an issue that would be complex in the sense that it would be difficult to get the message out for the public. It is not an issue that you need a public petition to get the number of votes to set the referendum off. This Parliament can decide to have such a referendum.
I disagree with the context that it has been said that a referendum would not be the right way of dealing with this issue. This is the particular issue that is the right thing for a referendum to deal with. This is the time that would be a particularly strong time for the public to do a referendum on this issue, because there has been a very measured and developed public debate around this issue. I think we need to give the public their say on this issue. I do not know that we are elected to make this decision here today. I believe that we are here to debate this issue, and I believe that we are here to put this issue in front of the public—and I commend those people who have done that—but I actually believe that it is up to the public to make that final decision at this stage.
Chris Auchinvole: Be brave.
DAVID BENNETT: Some members may say “Be brave.” Well, I think it is being brave to actually accept that we in this House do not know everything, to be able to say—[Interruption]—no—to be able to say at some points in time that we need to listen to the people. That is what I implore the Committee to do.
I personally do not have a strong opinion for or against this bill. I understand the arguments on both sides. Many people will make assumptions that you are either for or against it on the way that you vote, but I do believe in the New Zealand public. I do believe in the sincerity of people to make a decision. I do not believe that the New Zealand public would make decisions based on preconceptions, or would in any way want to hurt their fellow citizens. I believe that the New Zealand public can be trusted. They will take an open mind to this, as politicians in this House have. If we can trust 120 of us to make that decision, why can we not trust 4 million of us to make the same decision? What is the difference between us and the people outside? There is no difference. We are all New Zealanders. We should all have this decision. This is a perfect opportunity for a referendum. I support the New Zealand First Party in bringing that amendment forward, and I look forward to this Committee voting that way. Thank you.
TE URUROA FLAVELL (Māori Party—Waiariki) : Tēnā koe, Mr Chair. Ka nui te mihi ki a koe i whakaaetia mai ai kia tū ake au i tēnei pō. Ka mihi rā ki a tātau katoa i tēnei pō e hoa mā. He pai ngā kōrero. Ahakoa i te āhua mātakitaki au i taku rūma i te āhuatanga o ngā kōrero, he rawe katoa kia rongo ake i ngā rerenga kōrero ka puta, whakahē mai, whakaae mai. Ka tautoko au, me kī, i te mea kāre te Pāti Māori i tino noho nei ki konei ki te whakatakoto i ōna kōrero. Kua tae mai au ki konei kia kore tētahi e noho i te rangirua, ko te Pāti Māori katoa—tahi, rua, toru—kei te whakaae atu ki tēnei pire, mai i ōna tīmatanga kōrero tae rā anō ki tēnei wā ki tōna mutunga, ka tahi.
Ka rua, ka mihi rā ki taku tuahine ki a Louisa Wall mō tōna māia ki te kawe i tēnei kaupapa. Kāore e kore kua rongo ia i te whiu o te kupu, i ngā kupu whakahahani nei, ngā kupu whakawhiu nei i te mea, ko ia te kanohi o tēnei o ngā kaupapa, pērā i taku rangatira e noho nei a Kevin Hague anō hoki, kua rongo ia i te whiu o te kupu. Nō reira, ka mihi rā ki a rāua, ki a rātau katoa i kawe nei i tēnei o ngā kaupapa.
Ka mihi rā ki te komiti whāiti i te mea i te pānuitanga tuarua i rongo au i ētahi kōrero tino pai rawa atu me taku whakapono i wetewetengia, i whakatewhatewhahia te whānuitanga o ngā kōrero i puta i roto i te komiti whāiti. Nō reira he pai tērā. Ka mutu, ka mihi rā ki taku tuahine e noho nei i te tēpu i tēnei pō a Moana Mackey mō te papai o tana kōrero i mua tonu inā tatanei i a ia e kōrero nei mō te āhuatanga o ngā whakahē a wētahi. He mārama tonu tana whakatakoto i ngā kōrero, i tana karo i ētahi o ngā wero mō tēnei o ngā kaupapa. Nō reira, koirā tētahi tīmatanga kōrero.
Ko tā mātau, me te kī, ehara i te mea kei te pīrangi ki te whakatuarua, tuatoru i ngā kōrero ēngari, ko kī kia kaua e takatakahi i te mana o te tangata. Ahakoa tōna tāera, ahakoa tōna wahinetanga, tōna tānetanga, he ira tangata. Ko tā mātau ko te kī, kia kaua e pērā ki te tangata. Ko tēnei pire, kāre ōna hiahia kia pērā rawa i te tangata. Nō reira, māmā noa iho tā mātau tautoko i te mea nei.
Ko tētahi kaupapa e whakahono nei i te tangata, arā, ko tērā kupu ko te “hononga” o te tangata. Arā anō ētahi kupu, ko te piringa o tētahi ki tētahi, ka tuituia tētahi ki te tētahi ēnei āhuatanga katoa. Ko te hononga o te tangata tētahi mea kai te pūtake o te kaupapa o te Pāti Māori. Kua tuhia, kua kōrerohia i roto i ngā kōrero o ngā mātua tūpuna ngā whakataukī. Mā whero, mā pango ka oti te mahi. Nāku te raurau, nāu te raurau, ka ora te iwi. Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi ēngari, ko taku toa he toa takitini. He kākano i ruia i Rangiātea. Ēnei kōrero katoa e whakamārama ana i te āhuatanga o te piringa o te tangata ki te tangata. Nō reira, ko te mate kē o ēnei whakataukī kōrero kāre tētahi i te kōrero mō tēnei mea mō te mārena—mō te mārena.
Nō reira, kua kōrerohia te āhuatanga ki te hāhi, ko te wāhi ki a au he kōrero paku nei mō te āhuatanga o Te Ao Māori. I Te Ao Māori ko te mārena ka whai mai i te mahi, ka whai mai. I roto i Te Ao Māori ko te kupu e tika ana, kia moe tētahi ki tētahi. Te tūmanako kai te rongo koutou i te tikanga o tērā kōrero. Ko te moe a tētahi ki tētahi. Ka moe tētahi ki tētahi, kua mutu. Koinā. I ēnei rā ko te mārena ka whai mai. He tiwhikete, he pepa e kī ana āe, āe, i mahia tērā mahi. Nō reira tērā, tērā whakamārama mō te āhuatanga o Te Ao Māori.
Ko tā mātau ko te kī, ko tēnei mea ko te hononga o te tangata tētahi ki tētahi he mea hei whakakotahi nei i te whakapapa o tētahi ki tētahi. He hononga ki te whenua, he hononga e kōrerohia ana i roto i ngā kōrero o Te Ao Māori, he whakahono i te tangata i roto i ngā waiata, haka, hītori. I tōna mutunga mai, koinei te āhuatanga o Te Ao Māori nō reira, ēhara i te mea mā te tiwhikete tētahi ki tētahi e whakakotahi nei i a rāua, kāo. Nā runga i te mea, ko te whakapapa tētahi kaupapa kai te pūtake anō hoki o tēnei mea o te whānau, ko tētahi kaupapa i te pūtake o tēnei mea te hononga o te tangata ki te tangata anā ko tēnei mea, ko te whānau. Ko te whānau. Mēnā ka hiahia tētahi ki te moe, ki te mārena rānei ki tētahi atu, ehara i te mea ko te mea kotahi ki te mea kotahi, kāo. Ko te mea kotahi ki te marea. Ki te whānau, ki te iwi anō hoki, ko te maha. Nō reira tērā, tērā kōrero. Ehara i te mea mā te tiwhikete anō rā tērā e whakatau.
Ko tā mātau ko te Pāti Māori kei te kī atu ko te whānau kei te pūtake o te ao ka mutu, ēhara i te mea ko te whānau he mea aukati i te tangata—kāo. Ko te whānau he mea whakakotahi nei i te tangata. Nō reira, ehara i te mea mā te tiwhikete anō hoki tērā, kāo, me te kī anō hoki, ko te hononga o te tangata ki te tangata hākoa tōna wahinetanga, tānetanga rānei, te hononga rānei o tētahi ki tētahi, ko te manaakitanga, arā, koinei kei te pūtake o tēnei kaupapa. Ko te manaaki ā tētahi ki tētahi. Kai te kōrero tātau mō tēnei mea mō te whakawhanaungatanga, te whanaungatanga ā tētahi ki tētahi. Kai roto i ngā kōrero katoa, ngā hītori o ngā mātua, o ngā tūpuna.
Ā, kua puta tētahi kōrero mō te āhuatanga o te tiaki i ngā tamariki. Ē, kāre he raruraru ki tēnei momo hunga. Ko rātau te hunga tino tiaki i ngā tamariki ki tāku titiro i ngā tau kua hipa ake. Nō reira, ko tā mātau ko te kī atu, ā, tukuna te pire kia haere ki tōna taumata.
Ko te āhuatanga o te referendum e kōrerohia ake nei, kāre mātau i te whakaae atu ki tērā. Ko te mate kē o te referendum, ko te tokoiti ka hinga i ngā wā katoa. Mēnā ka kōrerohia te āhuatanga o Te Ao Māori i Aotearoa, ka hinga te tokoiti mēnā ko te referendum te kaupapa kawe i tērā āhuatanga.
I kōrerohia te āhuatanga o ngā hāhi, anā nā Moana tērā i kōkiri, i karo. I wetewetengia tērā i roto i te select committee nō reira ki a mātau kāre he raruraru. Waiho te kōrero i runga i te pire kia tau. Waiho tērā ki reira ēhara i te mea, me rāwekeweke kia whakapakari ake. Kua tiaki mai i te āhuatanga ki ngā hāhi kei te pai, kāre he raruraru ki tō mātau titiro.
Nō reira, koinei ētahi paku kōrero me te kī atu ki a koutou, ki a tātau e whakarongo nei ki tēnei o ngā kaupapa kia kore tētahi e noho i te rangirua, ko tā mātau ko te Pāti Māori he tautoko i tēnei pire. Tukuna ki tōna whakatinanatanga, tukuna ki tōna taumata he painga ka puta. He rā tōna ka hoki mai ki roto i tō tātau Whare me te pātai, ā—he aha te raruraru? Tekau tau kai mua i te aroaro ka pātai te pātai—he aha te raruraru? Ai, ka hoki ngā mahara ki te wā i kōrero mai a John Key mō te āhuatanga o te haki tino rangatiratanga. Ko tāna i tērā wā kei te pai, whakairia te haki o te tino rangatiratanga, 2 tau, 3 tau ka pātaia te pātai—he aha te raruraru? Anā, kua puāwai i tēnei wā. Nō reira, e tautoko ana i te pire. Kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawa nui. Kia ora tātau katoa.
[Thank you, Mr Chair, for allowing me to speak this evening. I appreciate that greatly. Indeed, I acknowledge us all tonight, colleagues. The contributions were wonderful. Even though I watched the trend of the debate in a somewhat casual manner from my office, I endorse the flow of the addresses whether in support or against. It was just great to hear everything because the Māori Party did not remain behind to present its views. I have come here so that no one is left in any doubt that all of the Māori Party—one, two, three members—are in favour of this bill when it was first debated and will continue until its conclusion. That is one.
Two, I commend my sister colleague Louisa Wall for her courage in sponsoring this matter. Without a doubt she has felt the lashing, disparaging, and ill-founded remarks because she is the face of this policy, like this esteemed colleague of mine Kevin Hague, another who has also experienced the flogging. Therefore I salute those two indeed and all of them who bear this policy.
I acknowledge the select committee indeed because I heard some outstanding contributions during the second reading and believe the wide-ranging views expressed at committee hearings were carefully considered and examined by the select committee. So that was good. Furthermore, I acknowledge my sister colleague seated at the table tonight Moana Mackey for her fine contribution just a moment ago with respect to the objections by some. She set out her reasons clearly, and effectively turned aside challenges to this policy. So there is an introductory statement.
Let us say that, without wishing to relitigate a second or third time what has already been stated, we believe that the integrity of a person must not be trampled on. Regardless of one’s sexuality, female, male, it is a human element. We advocate that a human must never be treated like that. This bill has no desire to treat a human in that manner. So supporting this sort of thing is an easy matter for us.
Another matter that unites a person is that word “marriage” of the person. There are other words, relationship of one to another, bonding of one to another—all these situations. One thing that is the bottom line of the Māori Party is the relationship of a person. It has been recorded and quoted in the aphorisms of the forefathers and ancestors. With red and black the work will be completed. With my food basket and your food basket the tribe will be sustained. My strength is not that of the individual but of the masses. It is a seed sown in Rangiātea. All these wise sayings elucidate the aspect of the relationship of the person to another. However, the unfortunate thing about these proverbs is that there is no mention in them about marriage, about hooking up.
On the other hand, the situation relating to the church has been mentioned; I have a small contribution to make about it from a Māori way of looking at things. According to Māoridom, marriage follows consummation. Marriage comes after. To put it more aptly, as a Māori, sleep with the other. I hope you collectively heard and got the gist of that—it is sleeping with the other. Once the act of sleeping with the other has taken place, it is done. They are married. In these times it is the other way round. Yes, a certificate it is called, a document fulfils the marriage requirement. So that is that explanation from a Māori perspective.
We say that this thing about a union of an individual to another is a thing that unites the genealogy of one partner to the genealogy of another. It is a connection to the land, one that is referred to in the traditional chants and posture dances, and the traditional stories of the Māori society. At the end of it all this is the situation in the world of the Māori, so it is not the certificate that unites those two to each other—no, not at all, because genealogy is this family thing. A basis of a relationship by an individual to an individual is a family. If one wants to sleep with or marry someone else it is not as an individual to an individual, not at all. To the public, it is. To the family and tribe, it is greater than that. So that is that conversation. It is not for the certificate alone to determine.
We, the Māori Party, are saying that the family has an integral part to play in the universe and, furthermore, a family does not exclude a human being—far from it. It is the family that unites a human being. Thus, it is not the certificate on its own that does that, not at all. We are saying at the same time as well that the marriage of a human to another human, regardless of his or her sexuality, or another person to another person, it is the support that is at the basis of this matter. We are talking about this thing called building relationships, the relationship of one to the other. It is contained in all the traditional stories and history of our forefathers and ancestors.
A comment has emerged about the way the children are looked after. This is not a problem with this type of people. From what I have seen over the years, they are the ones who really look after children. Therefore we say let the bill go on to its ultimate conclusion.
As far as the referendum being spoken about is concerned, we do not agree to it. The problem with a referendum is that the minority loses all the time. If a situation relating to Māoridom becomes a point of discussion and a referendum is conducted, the minority perspective will lose.
The situation about churches was discussed and so Moana addressed and found a way around it. That situation was examined in the select committee and so we have no problem with it. Leave that part in the bill as it is. It is not as though that part needs to be fiddled about to strengthen it. The part about churches is being catered for and it is fine. From our perspective, there are no problems.
These, then, are some brief points. And to you and to us all collectively as well as all those listening in to this address, and so that no one is left in any doubt, we, the Māori Party, support this bill. Let it go so that it can manifest itself and peak. Nothing but good will emerge. There will come a time in the future when it will return inside our House and we will ask what the problem was. Ten years ago the question was posed—what was the problem? Oh, gosh. My thoughts go back to the time when John Key talked about the self-determination flag. He said at the time that it was fine, raise the self-determination flag. In 2 or 3 years’ time the question will be asked—what was the problem? And so the question has come around once more. Therefore we support the bill. Be strong, be courageous, and be stout of heart. Compliments to us all. ]
IAN McKELVIE (National—Rangitīkei) : I take the opportunity to speak tonight in this debate with a degree of sadness that I can no longer give the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill my support, and I wish to explain why. Firstly, I do not accept that the Marriage Act as it currently stands denies anyone a human right. We all have the right to act and behave as we see fit in life. We have the right to choose our partners or our wife or our husband. We have the right to join them in legal civil union or marriage as appropriate. The Act as it stands certainly denies many people the right to marry, and so it should. There are other positions, roles, and opportunities that cannot be taken, used, or filled by us in life, and that is how it will always be. We have the right to respect—respect for our differences and respect for our opinions. One of the greatest attributes a human can have is the ability to tolerate difference, to accept others for what they are or believe, and to give them the opportunity to thrive and lead a positive, fruitful life. On that note, I want to acknowledge all who have participated in the debate on this bill, all of whom have behaved in the best spirit of this Parliament.
In this bill we are attempting to legislate to eliminate difference, and for no reason other than to overturn the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, and make it available to everyone. I am sorry, but that is not the way of the world. It is not the business of Parliament to rule on an institution that has been in place in life for thousands of years. I can tell you that this Parliament will not be able to turn a sheep into a goat, no matter how hard it tries. It is not our business, in my view, to do that.
All the changes proposed in the course of this legislative change could be done through strengthening the Civil Union Act. In fact, the whole objective could have been effected through changes to the Civil Union Act, without affecting the status of many thousands—in fact, millions—of New Zealanders who have married in good faith over the years.
Louisa Wall stated in her closing statement on the second reading debate: “In voting on this bill, I hope the House will give a message to all young people: you do not have to change, you can be who you are, and we as a society will value who you are.” This bill creates a situation that is not about young people or old people; it is about all of us. It is about finding a way for us to live in harmony, and I do not believe that we have handled this matter appropriately in the actions we are proposing to take in passing this bill. I find myself in the odd position of agreeing with the leader of New Zealand First. There is no mandate for this House to pass this bill. I have already said that it is not the place of Parliament to make this decision; it is the place of the people, and they have not been consulted satisfactorily. I am not a great supporter of referenda, but in this case I need to be, and, so, as a consequence, I will be supporting the Supplementary Order Paper.
I would also like to state that I voted for this bill in the first reading. I voted for it because I genuinely believed that we needed to find a solution to this issue. I still believe that. I cannot, however, accept that this bill is the best way to deal with it. Thank you.
TIM MACINDOE (National—Hamilton West) : Could I begin by acknowledging the courteous and, I think, intelligent and sensitive way in which the vast majority of members of this House have conducted themselves throughout all stages of this debate. It is, of course, one of the most highly charged and emotional subjects that we have ever been asked to grapple with, and many people who have been listening to the debate, whether they are for or against it, have commented to me about how impressed they have been and that they think it has been Parliament at its best.
Could I also acknowledge Moana Mackey, who is in the Chair at the moment. Earlier tonight she called for those who are promoting Supplementary Order Papers, and I am one of them, to clarify their protections for people of conscience that the sponsor of the bill, the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, promised the nation, and which the Government Administration Committee has tried to secure, and to instead promote changes to the Human Rights Act. I certainly had to consider that in looking to put together my Supplementary Order Paper 203, but it was very clear that that would have been well outside the scope of this bill, and would not reflect the concerns or the intentions of those who are promoting the Supplementary Order Papers, or at least the ones that I have read; there may be more to be tabled. My Supplementary Order Paper, however, does refer to the Human Rights Act to ensure that marriage celebrants and others in, I guess, what might be called the wedding business, would not be subject to prosecution in the future if, for reasons of belief or personal philosophy, which may have nothing to do with religion, they are unwilling to conduct or participate in same-sex marriages. That is a very important protection for organisations such as the Roman Catholic Church, and I want to acknowledge the plea for our understanding that we have received from the Church, including Archbishop John Dew. I am not a Roman Catholic but I certainly read his submission particularly carefully.
My own views on this bill are well known, because I have had the privilege of speaking in both the first and second readings of this debate. I did so in the second reading because I had been a substitute member of the Government Administration Committee. So in this particular call I want to explain my thinking on the issue of the referendum. Like the speaker who has spoken just before me, Ian McKelvie, I do not often agree with Winston Peters either, but on this occasion, I do support his Supplementary Order Paper calling for a referendum, Supplementary Order Paper 188. The reason is because this clearly was not an election issue in 2011, and it is one of the most divisive issues of our time. The only time in the whole of the 2011 campaign that I as a candidate for Hamilton West was asked how I might vote on this issue was when I attended a meeting, which was also attended by Kevin Hague and a few other members of this House, at a nightclub, and it was a meeting organised by our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in Hamilton. It was certainly quite a challenging meeting, but it was also one that was conducted with courtesy.
Contrary to the nonsense that is frequently being written about me in this debate, including in just the last few hours on Facebook, I want to say again that I am neither anti-gay nor homophobic. I certainly do not want to support any form of discrimination. Most of my gay friends know that and acknowledge that. Not all gays, of course, think alike on this issue, just as not all Christians do. Many of my gay friends and acquaintances have paid me the compliment of reading the speeches that I have delivered and responding to me intelligently. I acknowledge the fact that many of them do not agree with me, but I thank them for that engagement, and they have paid me the compliment of saying that they understand where I am coming from on this issue. By contrast, those who have been vitriolic in their attacks have never engaged with the arguments that I have put forward. It is conspicuous, when I read what they post about me and about others who have spoken on this bill, that when they constantly use terms like “bigot” and “homophobic”, they are running away from real engagement in the debate. It says far more about them than it does about me or others who have a different view from theirs. So I respect the many gay people who have contacted me intelligently and sensitively to engage on the issue. I respect them; I thank them for respecting me.
Like many MPs, I wish I did not have to express a view on this topic. I acknowledged my friend David Bennett a minute ago, who explained that so many of us find ourselves in a position where we have to express a view because we are here and this issue has arisen. But there are so many New Zealanders who currently feel disenfranchised and deeply disturbed by what is occurring, because it is a fundamental social change, and they are despairing of the fact that this has come upon us in this Parliament, without their having any opportunity to influence the way we would vote. None of my constituents, apart from the few who attended that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender meeting that I mentioned in Hamilton, just before the election, had any reasonable way—
Hon JO GOODHEW (Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector) : I had not intended to take a call, but I am here in the Chamber on what we call duty, and I have decided that I will do, in fact, what I suppose is my duty. My duty is not only to vote on this bill, the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, but to lay on the record the reasons why I will be voting for this bill. Many of my constituents have been surprised at my positive support for the bill, and many of them have contacted me and sought to turn my view round. In some cases, they have demanded that I turn my view round, and in many cases they have sought to persuade me. We have, over the course of this bill, read a lot of the information from Family First New Zealand. It has come repeatedly to our in-boxes.
But the reasons I am voting for this bill are several. Firstly, I do not believe that my marriage or the marriage of other New Zealanders will be in any way diminished by this bill. In fact, it is because I believe so strongly in marriage and my marriage that I understand why other couples want to be married too, and I do not see why I should have that privilege, that right, when other people in loving relationships and relationships that they enter into for life, just as I did, cannot have that privilege, as well—and therein lies the equality. I do not subscribe to the stories of the moral decline that will surely follow the passing of this bill, and I have found it unfortunate that some of the language that I have been treated to has been so strident and a little unfortunate. I have made the point that I respect other people’s views and would never ask them to do anything to contravene their views. I ask only the same for me. I do want to add to the record that some of the most poignant stories have been the stories that I cannot tell, because they are the stories of individuals who have also contacted me and told me how important this is to them.
I am going to finish there, but I am pleased that I have now set the record straight as to why I will be supporting this bill. One of the last things I will lay on the record is that I am very concerned, as I have already mentioned, that no one should have to take action in a way that contravenes their beliefs, and for that reason I will be voting for one of the Supplementary Order Papers, which I hope adds to the Committee’s complete conviction that no person should have to perform a marriage—no celebrant or member of the clergy—if it is against their beliefs. I am voting for that in the hope that it will further add to the record our conviction about that. Thank you.
CHRIS AUCHINVOLE (National) : I had not intended to speak particularly about the referendum, but I will, in fact, start with that. I am opposed to referenda as a system of decision making in this type of Government, but the proposal to have a referendum is in keeping with New Zealand First’s tradition, with its practices. That is what it does, I respect it for that, and I think it is very sincere in promoting a referendum in this case. New Zealand First has always liked referenda, even though it does not always benefit from them. I think of the Rt Hon Winston Peters and I think it was compulsory superannuation, when there was a ghastly result to the referendum. You know, it takes courage. One can hardly complain about New Zealand First putting forward that proposal, and I am sure those members will all vote for it. I will not. The reason I will not is that I am very conscious in my mind that the law should not be used to exclude people, nor should referenda be used to exclude people, and I think that could be the result of using a referendum in this case. We have heard that it is recommended because it will involve people. What it will not do is inform people, and this is a case where you really do, I think, need a lot of information in order to come to any sort of sensible decision. So a referendum in this case would of itself be divisive and opinion-driven, no matter which way the result might go.
The purpose of our being here is to legislate based on the information we have considered. I was deeply grateful to Moana Mackey, my colleague at many a select committee meeting, for her presentation of facts this evening. It did, I feel, set things in context very clearly. But in this respect I completely understand the Supplementary Order Papers to the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill that are coming forward, because they are reflecting exactly the same sequence of thought processes that the Government Administration Committee went through as a select committee. The difference is that they have come in at this stage without the benefit that we had of a number of weeks to carefully consider which parts of the bill the amendments should be directed to. In regard to the Supplementary Order Papers, may I compliment the work done by Su’a William Sio and the way his Supplementary Order Paper 202 was presented. Again, I would like to say to that member that I have no doubt about the sincerity with which he approached the task. However, if I may, I have a few arguments against the provisions that have been put forward.
The first one is about the celebrants, religious and independent. This was not something that we treated lightly at all. The select committee fully investigated this section, section 29 of the Marriage Act. Its amendment in clause 5A, I consider, best reflects the advice that we received on this issue. The current amendment to section 29 as recommended by the select committee already provides stronger protection than has been there before. A triple protection is really not going to achieve anything other than increase the chances of litigation. If you look at section 29 of the Act, it is pretty sort of general, in that you may, but are not obliged to, conduct the wedding. And we made it a little bit more specific for religious people, but if you then go further again, you are becoming more and more specific, and specificity introduces new opportunities for litigation. Honestly, do you really think that people want to lawyer up, reach for their lawyers—“What are you doing reaching for your lawyers?”, “Well, I am intending to get married, so I must sue someone.” I do not honestly think it will be like that, but we made provision for it.
Basically, the Act needs to be read consistently with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act and the Human Rights Act. I am surprised that we have Supplementary Order Papers suggesting that those Acts should be negated. What is it you want to do that avoids those? The Ministry of Justice expressly stated in its advice to the select committee—and we were very impressed with the quality of service we got from the ministry officials—“We recommend that the exemption extend to religious bodies and approved organisations but not to independent marriage celebrants or registrars. A key purpose of religious bodies”—and I think this is very important—“and most approved organisations is to promote religious beliefs.” There is something that lawyers will understand much better than I do, and that is a hierarchy of purpose. The advice continues: “Section 5 of the NZBORA allows rights affirmed under the NZBORA to be justifiably limited. Accordingly, an exemption could be justified where it would be contrary to the recognised purpose of religious bodies and approved organisations to require their celebrants to solemnise certain marriages. In contrast, independent marriage celebrants and registrars are appointed by the Registrar-General to perform a public function, not to promote their own religious or personal beliefs. It appears unlikely that they could lawfully refuse to solemnise a marriage on religious grounds under s 5 of the NZBORA.” The select committee extended the exemption for religious bodies and approved organisations in section 29.
When we look at the call in Supplementary Order Paper 202 for freedom of expression, it says: “no challenge may be made under any Act to the lawfulness of the following conduct by a person or organisation, provided that the conduct is based on the belief or conviction that marriage should be the union of a man and a woman:”. I have a few problems with this one because the select committee has, in clause 5B, removed section 56 of the Marriage Act, which made it an offence to question another’s marriage. The removal ensures that no person can be convicted of expressing such a view. Incidentally, there never was a prosecution under that section. I have some problem with the drafting of this particular recommendation, because what it does say is that “marriage should be the union of a man and a woman:”. It does not add “exclusively”. You could easily add after that “or two people of the same gender”. So I think the proposals are, from a drafting point of view, riddled with difficulties, especially when we start talking about the need to identify the genders, and just who is going to do that sort of thing—
Hon Ruth Dyson: Oh, enough.
CHRIS AUCHINVOLE: Yes, exactly: enough. We do not need to start thinking in that direction. But that is one of the difficulties about introducing specific requirements against the bill as it is.
The use of premises for marriage: what we understand from the Supplementary Order Paper is that “no challenge may be made under any Act to the lawfulness of a refusal by a religious body or approved organisation to allow premises (being premises that are occupied and used by the body or organisation for, or in association with, its religious purposes) to be used for or in connection with a marriage that is not a marriage between a man and a woman.” There is a fundamental difference between private and public spaces. We do not leave it to churches and organisations to determine whether they sell their services or not. We should leave the bill as it is. It protects religious freedom, and the Human Rights Commission has been clear that there is a distinction between private and public places.
I really understand where these submissions are coming from. I understand the impulses that have brought them forward. It is not strange to members of the select committee. We have been through the same processes. I think, given time, people will come, as Moana Mackey said, pretty much fairly close to where we have been. I think we can move forward and trust the bill. We should pass this bill. Thank you.
Su’a WILLIAM SIO (Labour—Māngere) : Talofa lava, Mr Chairperson. I want to take a short call in responding to some of the comments by the previous speaker, Chris Auchinvole, just to provide some clarity for the consideration of the Committee. The wording that I have used in this draft of Supplementary Order Paper 202—regardless of “sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity”—is consistent with the bill that is in hand, the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, and you will find that in clause 4 of the main bill that we are discussing. That is the wording that it has: “marriage between 2 people regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.” So in my amendment the words that I am using are consistent with the main bill. That is the first point.
The second thing is that I take on board what the Government Administration Committee has done. It is not an easy job, and I accept fully the sincerity of its desire to protect these religious freedoms. In the first part of my amendment, I have tweaked and added to it to ensure—because the select committee refers to a marriage celebrant who is authorised by the body of their church. We have a case currently where the Anglican Church and Presbyterian Church, as a body, do not have a position one way or the other, and ministers, on their individual bases, are divided on the issue. So my amendment provides the protection to that individual minister whose body of religion has not yet made a decision on whether to adopt a formal position one way or the other.
In terms of new clause 5A(2)(b) of my amendment, yes, the committee, I acknowledge, removed section 56 of the Marriage Act because that was incompatible with the freedom of religion provided by the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. However, it does not state that those rights are there, and we know, and those of you who are in the legal fraternity will understand, that the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act does not have supremacy in our laws, and any other Act can, therefore, overcome that particular Act. Finally, in terms of the last clause of my amendment, with regard to premises, I make reference specifically to religious premises consecrated, occupied, and used for religious purposes only. I am asking that that protection be there. I am not worried about premises that are used for profit, commercial, or investment purposes. That is not the intention of my amendment.
Finally, it is also not the intention—and I want to make it clear—of my amendment to cover broadly protection for civil marriage celebrants, because civil marriage celebrants and registrars are conducting a public service and are paid for it. My amendment, in the whole, is about providing greater certainty for the freedoms of religion that are provided for in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, and I am simply wanting those rights to be explicitly part of the bill. That is why, although it is late in the piece, I do ask and hope that members of the Committee can have consideration. It is about balancing the rights provided by the State for protecting equality for all people, versus the rights of the church and how churches conduct their affairs with their members.
Dr PAUL HUTCHISON (National—Hunua) : Thank you, Mr Chair, for the opportunity to speak in the Committee stage of this highly controversial and important bill, the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, which I continue to support. I want to start by acknowledging the incredible energy, effort, and thought put into submissions from both sides of the discussion. I also want to acknowledge the very high-quality report of the Government Administration Committee. I believe that this sort of report shows our Parliament at its very best when dealing with views that are passionately held and are about human rights and beliefs.
I also want to acknowledge the huge number of letters and emails I have received and the discussions I have had in the electorate that I am so honoured to represent, Hunua. I have got great respect for the sincerity of all those comments. On many occasions I have referred people who have written to me to the select committee’s comments as highly worthy of reading, and I do note that the commentary on the bill mentioned that in some European jurisdictions a marriage is authorised and registered by the State first and a couple is then free to choose to have a religious or cultural ceremony appropriate to them. Perhaps that is the ideal in terms of solving human rights.
Here in New Zealand from both sides of the issue there was a very strong message that marriage celebrants, church or independent, should not be compelled to carry out a ceremony if it was against their wishes to do so. Hence the amendment that I have tabled, which is in line with several other amendments, but in my case is simple and conforms with the second option that parliamentary counsel put before the select committee.
I am absolutely aware that the select committee spent significant time with parliamentary counsel and others discussing the options for amending section 2 of the Marriage Act. During the superb second reading speech of my colleague Chris Auchinvole, he mentioned that of the over 9,000 marriage celebrants in New Zealand, only two—only two, as he put it—submissions were sent to the select committee. But I have since contacted the clerk of the committee and others, and no one seems able to identify those two or remember exactly what they said, even my esteemed friend and colleague Chris Auchinvole. However, I have read carefully through the Celebrants Association of New Zealand submission, and although it supports the bill, it has two major concerns. One was: “The continued ability of celebrants to officiate only at ceremonies of their own choosing.”
It is accepted that any law is challengeable through the courts or subject to change by Parliament, as we are seeing in the United States as we debate here in Parliament in New Zealand today. What we write into this bill will surely give a signal as to the intention of Parliament for any future court challenges. Hopefully, however, court challenges will not happen. This amendment is not just about triple protection for a specific group—churches or independent marriage celebrants. It seeks to extend that protection to all celebrants in the spirit of equality and inclusiveness that underpins this bill. I do note that schedule 1 of this bill includes only Christian churches and would not protect other religions such as practised by my colleague Kanwaljit Bakshi.
All marriage celebrants, either independent or church, are in fact facilitating the State’s requirements in terms of the marriage certification. Although it is accepted that a key purpose of religious bodies and most approved organisations is to promote religious beliefs, surely that should not override the religious beliefs or philosophical or humanitarian convictions of independent marriage celebrants or other significant religious bodies.
Some have argued that my amendment will lead to independent marriage celebrants saying no, for all sorts of spurious reasons. Exactly the same could be said of the churches. Surely the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act should apply in an even-handed way. At some peril, to open a can of worms, a powerful corollary to providing individual choice in perhaps an even more contentious area is the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977, where the conscientious objection clause provides explicit and clear exemption overriding any rule of law, terms of any oath, or any contract.
Many may say such a degree of protection is quite inappropriate today and needs to be reviewed. In reality in a country such as New Zealand, where there is not entirely clear separation between church and State—and a lot has been written about that—I suggest that these protections remain necessary and practical. So I call upon all members to carefully reconsider their proxies to support my amendment instead, which is designed to protect choice for all marriage celebrants in the spirit of equality and inclusiveness, which is what this bill is about.
Hon CHESTER BORROWS (Minister for Courts) : I would like to speak in support of the need for a Supplementary Order Paper in respect of protecting the ability of celebrants to be able to refuse to marry gay couples, depending on the way they see this particular issue. I have some sensitivity around it, having been a civil independent marriage celebrant for a number of years. I have officiated at about, I think, 100 weddings, and in the last 3 weeks I have done a tag team with someone who is currently licensed, because I am not currently licensed, having handed in my warrant when I became a bit busy as an MP. But I have officiated at two weddings in the last 3 or 4 weeks, and I am happily officiating at my nephew’s wedding this Sunday.
I would also like to point out that although people have said that those civil or independent celebrants do it for the money and that they are authorised by the State, so they should marry all-comers, in actual fact, most of the time, I have accepted a bottle of wine as full payment, because I saw this as some way I could help people within my community. I was not doing it for any particular reward. At times when mileage was required, etc., etc., then we got up to a hundred bucks, but, generally, it was for a bottle of plonk.
Having said that, the point is, I believe, quite specific here. I agree that there are protections within the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill as it is at the moment that protect those celebrants who are authorised or endorsed as part of the organisation they belong to, as long as their organisation, which is, in effect, their sponsor to be a celebrant, has a position on gay marriage. It has been raised already tonight that there are churches, for instance, that do not hold official positions on this issue, though a number of members within their community do. But those people who are in the position that I was as an independent celebrant would not be protected in this way. Although there is a clause there that says that no celebrant is obliged to marry any couple who present themselves for marriage, the fact is that you would have to tell a lie in order to not perform that marriage. People have said to me, even people with whom I am very friendly, sitting just there: “You could always just say you are busy.” But, in fact, that would not be true in the case—[Interruption] He is good to listen to for only so long.
The point of the matter is this: if I decided that I was not going to marry a gay couple who presented themselves for marriage, it would be because I did not agree with gay marriage. To create some other fanciful reason that my diary was full would be telling a lie, in effect, and I do not think people should be put in that position. It is the same as a shopkeeper, who does not have to serve somebody in a shop. If someone comes in and wants to buy some goods, the shopkeeper can decide whether or not he wants to sell those goods to that person coming into the shop. That is fine. But the Human Rights Act prohibits that shopkeeper from refusing to serve that person on the basis of a number of those bases within the Human Rights Act, some of them being sexual orientation, race, colour, creed, and all the rest of it—and so it should.
There is an alignment with what my friend Dr Paul Hutchison was saying when talking about people, for instance, within the medical fraternity, who are able to rely on their moral code and beliefs—well-held, religious or otherwise—to not perform certain procedures that people present themselves for. We can think, for instance, of circumcision of male children some years ago. A doctor was not required to perform that if they did not believe that that was within their keeping or ethics, and the performance of pregnancy terminations is exactly the same. If people can think that this issue is different, it is not. A medical practitioner is dealing with the physical—that is right. A person in my position as a celebrant who got into it through community service and initiated it through a faith interest is dealing with something spiritual, and I do not believe that the physical and the spiritual can necessarily just conveniently diverge for those reasons.
I think that it is very important that we have an amendment to this bill that makes it quite clear that an independent celebrant can decide not to marry a couple—a gay couple or any couple—who present themselves, because of that situation. I just underline it like this too. If a couple came to me and it came to their wedding day and they turned up and they were drunk, I would not marry them, because I do not believe that they would be in the right space in their heads to get married. If they turned up to present themselves and asked me to take their wedding and I believed that the woman was obviously suffering from physical abuse, had been assaulted, or in some way was there not because she wanted to get married to this guy but because she was under some sort of duress or pressure, I would not marry them. That would be fine, because the law says that you are covered and you do not have to. But if I decided not to marry the couple who presented themselves for marriage because of any of those bases under the Human Rights Act, I am acting illegally, and I believe that as a celebrant, as an independent celebrant, even one authorised only civilly and not promoted by some organisation of faith, I should have the ability to decline that marriage. Thank you.
TIM MACINDOE (National—Hamilton West) : I would like to begin by acknowledging my friend Chester Borrows and that fine contribution on the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill. I also particularly acknowledge Su’a William Sio, who spoke a short time ago, and, indeed, earlier this evening in a previous call. I think that all members of this House have had particular challenges in dealing with this issue, regardless of what side we are on, but I particularly want to acknowledge Mr Sio, who has, I think, faced unique challenges in dealing with the issue, and has, in my view, conducted himself with great integrity and conviction. I wish to acknowledge that and put it on the record, and to wish him well with his Supplementary Order Paper 202, which I think in many respects is very similar to mine, but there are some differences that I will come to in a minute.
When I was interrupted in a previous call, I was just making the point that none of my constituents, with the exception of the few who had attended a meeting of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community just before the election, had had any way of ascertaining what my views were on this issue, so that in casting their votes for a potential MP for Hamilton West, that cannot have been something that they were taking into account. That is one of the reasons why I felt that I should consider the call for a referendum on this issue, because I have been criticised, as many in this Chamber will know, for allowing my faith to influence my conscience vote on this matter. I have to say that for any person of faith what could be more important than faith as a foundation for determining our view on a conscience vote? Others have different beliefs from mine, of course, and I respect that, but my faith and my values and my beliefs are the foundation, the cornerstone, for my conscience vote. So I cast my vote in the first and second readings of this debate according to my conscience. But because I acknowledge that many voters in Hamilton West, and of course elsewhere in the country, may disagree with me—in fact, of course, many do—I also decided to support the call for a referendum. Immediately, some of the same people who had attacked me for voting according to my conscience rather than trying to reflect theirs, then accused me of cowardice, of all things, for wanting to let the public have their say. Well, I say to those people that you cannot have it both ways. I will vote for a referendum again tonight, not so much because I think it is the best way to decide the outcome, but because that way I can exercise my conscience while also enabling as many electors in Hamilton West as possible who wish to do so to exercise theirs as well. That seems a pretty reasonable compromise.
I want to turn back now to outline more of my thinking behind the Supplementary Order Paper that I have tabled, Supplementary Order Paper 203. At the outset I want to acknowledge my friend Mark Mitchell, who has this evening tabled an amendment to my Supplementary Order Paper, and to say to members that I fully support Mark’s thinking. I urge members to support his amendment as well as my Supplementary Order Paper. I thank Mark for the work that he has done on this issue. I think he has improved and clarified my Supplementary Order Paper.
When I was present for discussions in the Government Administration Committee, and that was on two occasions, there was considerable focus on whether those who on the grounds of conscience would not feel able to participate in a formal or professional capacity in a same-sex marriage would be respected and protected in that view. The majority of the committee, of course, said that they would be, and the bill’s sponsor who, I acknowledge, has conducted herself with decency and a real sense of determination in this matter, has also always promised that they will be protected. But the important thing is that legal opinion on this matter is deeply divided. So my Supplementary Order Paper seeks to guarantee the assurances that Louisa Wall and the Government Administration Committee say they support. I urge all MPs, whether in favour or opposed to the substantive bill, to support my amendment.
I want to read to you just some of the wording from Mark Mitchell’s amendment: “no marriage celebrant is obliged to solemnize a marriage if solemnizing that marriage would conflict with the religious or philosophical beliefs of the individual or of the religious body or approved organisation (if any) to which he or she belongs;”. So it is designed to be comprehensive and fair and to give in clear language the assurances that the sponsor of the bill and many others have claimed should be there for those who have as a matter of conscience a different opinion on this issue. It is not, therefore, about re-legalising discrimination, which has been alleged by quite a number of people who have spoken this evening, or who have written. Those who claim that that would re-legalise discrimination are surely throwing open to real risk, including legal challenge, those who might wish through reasons of good faith and conscience to stand by their convictions. It is therefore about protecting churches, celebrants, and others from being forced to act contrary—
COLIN KING (National—Kaikōura) : It is with great consideration that I take this call. We have got a bill, the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, in front of us that does not sit comfortably with me, but I guess that we have all been on select committees from time to time where we have had a view about a bill that gets the majority vote and goes forward.
I just want to grab this opportunity to support those people who have put forward Supplementary Order Papers, because in the context of it all, when you look at the bill as it stands, it certainly does not provide me with sufficient comfort that the principles and values that the individual may hold are taken into adequate consideration. When we look at clause 5A in the bill, where it applies to section 29 being amended, subclause 2 talks about: “Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), no celebrant who is a minister of religion …”, and then it goes on and talks about approved organisations, and there has been, no doubt, some work given, and thought applied, to that particular provision. It stands comfortably with me that we need to clarify that so that there is a level of certainty that the individual’s view—and I, as an MP, can think of many people out there whom we have all supported to become a celebrant, and, yet, they are not actually associated with any authorised organisation, as it says, or a church. On that basis, I think it is very important that members of the Committee, as we go forward on a very serious matter that involves a whole lot of ramifications, do look at those Supplementary Order Papers that have been tabled, and consider whether we support those Supplementary Order Papers.
My particular situation is that I have chosen to support a Supplementary Order Paper that has been put forward by Tim Macindoe, and it encapsulates, I believe, the most essential elements that would add value to the bill. I do acknowledge William Sio over there, as well. It is heartening to those of us who find the bill somewhat challenging to see that when it does actually go through it will give clarity and certainty to those people who have to administer it, in one shape or form. I acknowledge those other speakers, especially Chester Borrows, who talked about giving those people a good solid platform on which they can, if approached by people of the same sex who want to be married, actually decline gracefully, because we appreciate that there are elements of society that need to be considered in such ways.
When we look at the actual preamble to the bill, it talks about the level of people who are actually married at registry offices—it talks about 23 percent; and that 32 percent are married in churches or organisations, and 45 percent by individual celebrants. On that basis, I would urge the Committee to seriously consider the Supplementary Order Papers that have been put forward, with a view to adding special clarification to the individual’s right to say whether they will or will not marry people of the same sex. Thank you.
The CHAIRPERSON (Eric Roy): If no other member is seeking the call, I think it would be helpful to the Committee if I explain the process a little bit from this point on. Because I am going to commence the voting without a closure motion, if we are not concluded at 10 o’clock the voting will stop at the conclusion of the vote that crosses the 10 o’clock mark. I am not predicting that will happen. I am just saying that in the eventuality that happens—
Hon Trevor Mallard: Stop filibustering!
The CHAIRPERSON (Eric Roy): Ha, ha! The second point I wish to make is when it comes to amendments, I think there are four or five, and starting with Su’a William Sio, we will vote on these chronologically as they were tabled. If the first one passes with a majority, it negatives the subsequent ones. So members need to be quite clear in their minds which of those amendments is the one that they personally want to follow. I need to explain that before we start.
The third issue I wish to just acquaint the Committee with is from Standing Order 298(1), and I will read it for you: “A committee of the whole House considers a bill to determine whether the bill properly incorporates the principles or objects of the bill as read a second time by the House.” So the second reading declares the intent of the House in relation to the bill. In that regard the House voted down an amendment to have a referendum. So the first point is that the two amendments, one in the name of Brendan Horan and the other in the name of the Rt Hon Winston Peters, to have a referendum are out of order because of Standing Order 298(1), when the House has already declared its intent.
So we move to the amendment in the name of Su’a William Sio. The question is—
Brendan Horan: I raise a point of order, Mr Chairperson. My referendum was distinctly different from that proposed in Supplementary Order Paper 188, and I have cleared that with the House.
The CHAIRPERSON (Eric Roy): Yes. The issue of referendum is the guiding principle upon which that is made. I have sought advice. I have consulted with the various references that we have available to us, and the two amendments are out of order. So the question is that Su’a William Sio’s amendment to replace clause 5A—
- The question was put that the amendment set out on Supplementary Order Paper 202 in the name of Su’a William Sio to clause 5A be agreed to.
|Adams||Macindoe||O’Connor S (P)||Upston|
|Bakshi (P)||McClay||Robertson R||Yang|
|Borrows||McCully (P)||Roy (P)||Young (P)|
|Lotu-Iiga||O’Connor D (P)||Tirikatene (P)||Sio|
|Ardern J (P)||Faafoi||Key (P)||Sage|
|Auchinvole||Fenton (P)||King A||Sharples (P)|
|Banks (P)||Finlayson (P)||King C||Shearer (P)|
|Beaumont||Foss (P)||Little (P)||Stewart|
|Bennett D||Genter||Logie (P)||Street|
|Bennett P (P)||Goff||Lole-Taylor||Tisch (P)|
|Blue (P)||Goodhew (P)||Mackey||Tremain (P)|
|Calder (P)||Guy (P)||Martin||Turia (P)|
|Carter (P)||Hague||Mathers||Twyford (P)|
|Clark (P)||Harawira (P)||McKelvie||Wagner (P)|
|Clendon (P)||Hayes||Moroney||Walker (P)|
|Collins (P)||Heatley (P)||Norman (P)||Wall (P)|
|Cosgrove (P)||Henare (P)||O’Rourke||Wilkinson (P)|
|Cunliffe||Hipkins||Parata (P)||Williams (P)|
|Curran||Horomia (P)||Parker (P)||Williamson (P)|
|Dean (P)||Huo (P)||Prasad|
|Dunne (P)||Jones (P)||Robertson G|
Amendment not agreed to.
- The result corrected after originally being announced as Ayes 22, Noes 87.
- The question was put that the following amendment in the name of Mark Mitchell to the proposed amendment set out on Supplementary Order Paper 203 in the name of Tim Macindoe to new clause 5A be agreed to:
replace new section 29(2)(a) with:
(a)no marriage celebrant is obliged to solemnize a marriage if solemnizing that marriage would conflict with the religious or philosophical beliefs of the individual or of the religious body or approved organisation (if any) to which he or she belongs; and
|Adams||Goodhew (P)||McCully (P)||Sabin (P)|
|Barry||Heatley (P)||Mitchell||Smith (P)|
|Bennett D||Horan||Ngaro||Tremain (P)|
|Borrows||Hutchison||O’Connor D (P)||Upston|
|Brownlee (P)||King C||O’Connor S (P)||Yang|
|English (P)||Lee||Robertson R||Young (P)|
|Gilmore (P)||Lotu-Iiga||Roy (P)||Teller|
|Ardern J (P)||Fenton (P)||Little (P)||Shearer (P)|
|Auchinvole||Finlayson (P)||Logie (P)||Simpson (P)|
|Bennett P (P)||Genter||Mahuta (P)||Tirikatene (P)|
|Blue (P)||Goff||Martin||Tisch (P)|
|Calder (P)||Guy (P)||McKelvie (P)||Turia (P)|
|Carter (P)||Hague||Moroney||Twyford (P)|
|Clark (P)||Harawira (P)||Norman (P)||Wagner (P)|
|Clendon (P)||Henare (P)||O’Rourke||Walker (P)|
|Collins (P)||Hipkins||Parata (P)||Wall (P)|
|Cosgrove (P)||Horomia (P)||Parker (P)||Wilkinson (P)|
|Cunliffe||Hughes||Peters (P)||Williams (P)|
|Curran||Huo (P)||Prasad||Williamson (P)|
|Dean (P)||Joyce||Robertson G|
|Dunne (P)||Key (P)||Ross|
Amendment to the amendment not agreed to.
Hon RUTH DYSON (Labour—Port Hills) : I regret to ask for this leave so early in the voting, but I seek leave to correct the voting record of the first amendment—the amendment in the name of Su’a William Sio, set out on Supplementary Order Paper 202. I regret I omitted to have Hone Harawira’s vote, for which I carry the proxy, recorded in opposition to that Supplementary Order Paper.
The CHAIRPERSON (Eric Roy): So you are seeking leave to correct the vote. Leave is sought for that purpose. Is there anyone opposed to that course of action? There appears not. The record will show the amended numbers. We move now to Tim Macindoe’s amendment to replace—
The CHAIRPERSON (Eric Roy): The amendment to the amendment was not carried. I declared it and I called for the doors to be unlocked. We are now on to the next one. [Interruption] I will do it again for the members. The Ayes were 35 and the Noes were 80.
- The question was put that the amendment set out on Supplementary Order Paper 203 in the name of Tim Macindoe to clause 5A be agreed to.
|Adams||Goodhew (P)||McKelvie||Smith (P)|
|Bakshi (P)||Hayes||Mitchell||Tremain (P)|
|Bennett D||Horan||O’Connor D (P)||Yang|
|Borrows||Hutchison||O’Connor S (P)||Young (P)|
|Brownlee (P)||King C||Robertson R|
|Gilmore (P)||McClay||Sabin (P)||Teller|
|Goldsmith (P)||McCully (P)||Sio||Macindoe|
|Ardern J (P)||Fenton (P)||Lees-Galloway||Sage|
|Auchinvole||Finlayson (P)||Little (P)||Sharples (P)|
|Banks (P)||Flavell||Logie (P)||Shearer (P)|
|Beaumont||Foss (P)||Lole-Taylor||Simpson (P)|
|Bennett P (P)||Genter||Mackey||Stewart|
|Blue (P)||Goff||Mahuta (P)||Street|
|Calder (P)||Guy (P)||Mathers||Tisch (P)|
|Carter (P)||Hague||McKelvie (P)||Turei|
|Clark (P)||Harawira (P)||Moroney||Turia (P)|
|Clendon (P)||Henare (P)||Norman (P)||Twyford (P)|
|Collins (P)||Hipkins||O’Rourke||Wagner (P)|
|Cosgrove (P)||Horomia (P)||Parata (P)||Walker (P)|
|Cunliffe||Hughes||Parker (P)||Wall (P)|
|Curran||Huo (P)||Peters (P)||Wilkinson (P)|
|Dalziel||Jones (P)||Prasad||Williams (P)|
|Dunne (P)||Kaye||Robertson G||Woods|
|Dyson||Key (P)||Roche (P)||Teller:|
Amendment not agreed to.
- The result corrected after originally being announced as Ayes 36, Noes 80.
- The question was put that the following amendment in the name of Dr Paul Hutchison to clause 5A be agreed to:
insert in section 29, after subsection (2):
(2A)Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), no celebrant who is a minister of religion recognised by a religious body enumerated in Schedule 1, and no celebrant who is a person nominated to solemnize marriages by an approved organisation, is obliged to solemnize a marriage if solemnizing that marriage would contravene the religious beliefs or philosophical or humanitarian convictions of the approved organisation.
(2B)Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), no celebrant is obliged to solemnize a marriage if solemnizing that marriage would offend the celebrant’s genuinely held religious beliefs or philosophical or humanitarian convictions.
|Bennett D||King C||McKelvie||Yang|
|Ardern J (P)||Finlayson (P)||Little (P)||Shearer (P)|
|Auchinvole||Flavell||Logie (P)||Simpson (P)|
|Banks (P)||Foss (P)||Lole-Taylor||Sio|
|Bennett P (P)||Goff||Mahuta (P)||Street|
|Blue (P)||Goodhew (P)||Martin||Tirikatene (P)|
|Calder (P)||Guy (P)||McKelvie (P)||Turei|
|Carter (P)||Hague||Moroney||Turia (P)|
|Clark (P)||Harawira (P)||Norman (P)||Twyford (P)|
|Clendon (P)||Heatley (P)||O’Rourke||Wagner (P)|
|Collins (P)||Henare (P)||Parata (P)||Walker (P)|
|Cosgrove (P)||Hipkins||Parker (P)||Wall (P)|
|Cunliffe||Horomia (P)||Peters (P)||Wilkinson (P)|
|Dalziel||Huo (P)||Prosser||Williamson (P)|
|Delahunty||Jones (P)||Robertson G||Woods|
|Dunne (P)||Joyce||Robertson R|
|English (P)||Key (P)||Ross|
|Fenton (P)||Lees-Galloway||Sharples (P)||Mallard|
|O’Connor D (P)|
Amendments not agreed to.
- The result corrected after originally being announced as Ayes 18, Noes 85.
|Adams (P)||Dunne (P)||Hutchison||Sage|
|Ardern J||Dyson||Jones (P)||Sharples (P)|
|Banks (P)||Fenton (P)||Kaye||Simpson (P)|
|Beaumont||Foss (P)||King A||Tirikatene (P)|
|Bennett P (P)||Genter||Lees-Galloway||Tremain (P)|
|Blue (P)||Gilmore (P)||Little (P)||Turei|
|Browning||Goff||Logie (P)||Turia (P)|
|Calder (P)||Goldsmith (P)||Mackey||Twyford (P)|
|Carter (P)||Goodhew (P)||Mahuta (P)||Wagner (P)|
|Clark (P)||Graham||Mathers||Walker (P)|
|Clendon (P)||Groser (P)||Moroney||Wall (P)|
|Collins (P)||Hague||Norman (P)||Wilkinson (P)|
|Cosgrove (P)||Harawira (P)||Parata (P)||Williamson (P)|
|Cunliffe||Henare (P)||Parker (P)||Woods|
|Dalziel||Horomia (P)||Robertson G|
|Ardern S (P)||Horan||O’Connor D (P)||Smith (P)|
|Bakshi (P)||King C||O’Connor S (P)||Stewart|
|Bennett D||Lee||O’Rourke||Tisch (P)|
|Borrows||Lole-Taylor||Peters (P)||Tolley (P)|
|Coleman (P)||Martin||Robertson R||Williams (P)|
|English (P)||McClay||Roy (P)||Woodhouse (P)|
|Finlayson (P)||McCully (P)||Ryall||Yang|
|Guy (P)||McKelvie||Sabin (P)||Young (P)|
Clauses 1 to 7 and schedules 1 and 2 agreed to.
- Bill to be reported without amendment presently.
- House resumed.
- The Chairperson reported the Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day) Amendment Bill without amendment, and the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill without amendment.
- Report adopted.