The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation

 

Review of the access provisions in the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995

Overview

The Department of Internal Affairs has completed its review of the access provisions in accordance with the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Amendment Act 2008 (Amendment Act) on behalf of the Minister of Internal Affairs. More information on the changes made by the Amendment Act can be found in the New Zealand Parliament website which includes the Select Committee report, Supplementary Order Papers and the parliamentary debates.

Briefly, the access provisions set out what information can be made available about registered births, deaths, marriages, civil unions, and name changes (BDM information); who can access BDM information; and where, how and when the BDM information can be made available.

Minister's final report to Parliament – October 2016

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon Peter Dunne presented his report on the review of the access provisions in the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act to Parliament on 20 October 2016.

View or download the report here: Minister's final report to Parliament – October 2016

View or download the Cabinet paper here: Review of access provisions in the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995

What happens next

The Minister of Internal Affairs will be seeking Cabinet’s approval to issue drafting instructions for a bill to amend the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995 that incorporates recommendations arising from the review and other amendments identified by the Department.

Interested parties will be able to make a submission on changes to the Act as part of the usual select committee process at a later date.

Proposals paper – March 2016

The Department issued a Proposals Paper — Access to the registers: births, deaths, marriages, civil unions and name changes - have your say! (PDF, 295kb) — in March 2016. The Paper responded to submissions on the earlier Discussion Paper. Thirty-two submissions were received by the closing date of 29 April 2016.

What the submitters said

Discussion document – January–February 2015

The Department issued a Discussion Paper – Access to the registers: births, deaths, marriages, civil unions and name changes (PDF, 140kb) – in January 2015. The Paper sought feedback on people’s experience of the access provisions. Eighty submissions were received by the closing date of 25 February 2015.

What submitters said

Background: Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Amendment Act 2008

The Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Amendment Act 2008 (Amendment Act) amended the (then) Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration Act 1995.

The Act provides for the registration of information about births, adoptions, changes of name, sexual assignment and reassignment, marriages, civil unions, and deaths. It also provides for public and government agency access to that information and for the issue of birth, death, marriage and civil union certificates. These activities are administered by the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, whose appointment is governed by the Act.

The Amendment Act made amendments to improve the Registrar-General’s ability to collect and verify information for the purposes of the Act, better regulate access to that information, and modernise the Act to take account of technological and social developments.

The Amendment Act came into effect on 25 January 2009.