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Maria Robertson Deputy Chief Executive Service Delivery and Operations Celebrants Association of New Zealand Conference 24-26 May 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Maria Robertson Deputy Chief Executive Service Delivery and Operations Celebrants Association of New Zealand Conference 24-26 May 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Maria Robertson Deputy Chief Executive Service Delivery and Operations Celebrants Association of New Zealand Conference May 2013

2 Department of Internal Affairs Department of Internal Affairs – Our Strategic Focus Areas Transforming the way government agencies deliver their services Stronger and more resilient communities Increased trust in how government manages NZs civic information Internal Affairs is a robust sustainable and fit for purpose government agency

3 Department of Internal Affairs Department of Internal Affairs – How we work staff working across a wide range of areas Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation My patch provide a range of services that make a difference in the lives of the people by enabling them to fulfil aspirations - for themselves, their families and their communities. This includes: Citizenship Passports Community Operations Charities iGovt – RealMe Births, Deaths and Marriage

4 Department of Internal Affairs Births, Deaths and Marriages Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages - Jeff Montgomery. Independent statutory officer who makes decisions on who becomes a celebrant, amongst other things. 48 registries nationally - Four run directly by the Department and 44 by the Department's agents, Ministry of Justice and local councils. Each year BDM deals with more than 300,000 New Zealanders. We register: o 62,000 births o 23,000 relationships o 30,000 deaths o We issue more than 275,000 certificate and printouts Register Name Changes and Gender Reassignments 9,500+ approved marriage celebrants or Registrars of Marriage

5 Department of Internal Affairs Marriage Statistics Current celebrant numbers (April 2013) Church and organisation marriage celebrants = 7,547 Independent marriage celebrants = 1,667 Independent civil union celebrants = 450 Each year 400 applications for independent celebrants. 25% approved. Proportion of ceremonies performed by marriage celebrants 45% by an independent marriage celebrant 32% by a church or organisational marriage celebrant 23% in a Registry Office by a Registrar of Marriages

6 Department of Internal Affairs Proportion of celebrants to ceremonies

7 Department of Internal Affairs Marriages, Civil Unions, and Divorces: Year ended December ,521 marriages registered to New Zealand residents 2,422 marriages were registered to overseas residents. 303 civil unions registered to New Zealand residents plus 87 to overseas residents. 22% were different sex couples. 8,785 married couples divorced. More relationships ending Just over one-third of couples married in 1987 divorced within 25 years (ie before their silver wedding anniversary). Of the 2,455 civil union couples in New Zealand, only 124 civil unions (less than one in 20) have been dissolved. Source: Statistics New Zealand

8 Department of Internal Affairs Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act 2013 Royal Assent granted on 19 April 2013 First same-sex marriage probably Monday 19 August 2013 Notices of Intended Marriage accepted from 16 August Specifies that a marriage is between two people regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity All married couples will be eligible to apply jointly to adopt a child Transgender people able to remain married regardless of gender identity Nothing else changes

9 Department of Internal Affairs A marriage licence shall authorize but not oblige any marriage celebrant to solemnize the marriage to which it relates. (current Act - unchanged) The Marriage Act authorises but does not oblige any marriage celebrant to solemnise a marriage. No change. Reinforced by the Amendment Act no religious or organisational celebrant is obliged to solemnise a marriage that would contravene religious beliefs or philosophical or humanitarian convictions of a religious body or approved organisation.

10 Department of Internal Affairs Marriage Amendment Act – Implementing the change Not a major change. Flow on implications for the birth and death registration systems. Change to the Notice of Intended Marriage form, adding options for Headings of Particulars

11 Department of Internal Affairs Celebrant Registration No change to celebrant appointment process. Celebrants registered for civil unions will be offered the opportunity to also be a marriage celebrant. Changing application process - merging marriage and civil union celebrant forms. Making criteria more transparent and permissive. Sought further feedback from CANZ. Working with CANZ to review renewal process (different time of year, maybe for longer) Looking at possibility for a competency based appointment process. Adding celebrant identification number to forms to improve quality of information we collect – eg number of ceremonies completed.

12 Department of Internal Affairs Can the celebrant say the words do you AB, take CD, to be your legal wife or words to similar effect and each person says I do? No. The Act says the parties must say this or words to similar affect Are BDM concerned with the fees marriage celebrants charge couples for their services? How much a celebrant charges is between the celebrant and the couple. If a marriage celebrant is or intends to charge a fee for his/her services, they should contact Inland Revenue to discuss taxation requirements, as any profit is taxable. Your Questions – Our Answers

13 Department of Internal Affairs How can a marriage celebrant be removed from the NZ Gazette list? Dies. Asks to be removed or does not apply for reappointment in December Is not reappointed by the Registrar-General. Minister of Justice removes his/her name from the list. Is marriage celebrant activity captured in government statistics? We collect information on the number of marriages completed by each celebrant. In the past this information has not been complete or accurate. We are changing processes to improve this, including adding Celebrant registration number to marriage forms Who is responsible for errors or complaints Copy of Particulars of Marriage – Marriage Celebrant. Marriage ceremony – Between celebrant and couple. Production and delivery of Marriage Certificate - DIA.

14 Department of Internal Affairs Does BDM want feedback on marriage celebrants? For registration renewal purposes we are interested if Celebrants are: Conscientiously performing duties Wilful failure or persistently neglecting to return documents Are no longer of good character We are having ongoing discussions with CANZ about registration and quality assurance issues. What is the future of Registry Office network? Ministry of Justice moving towards people only visiting a Court to attend a hearing. Other services will be online or through other agents. We are looking at alternative ways to provide marriage licensing and registry wedding services. These may include use of RealMe and alternative providers of ceremonies (such as JPs, Independent Celebrants, Local Authorities).

15 Department of Internal Affairs Questions Please contact Joanna Arnold if you have questions after the conference:


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