Marriage of minors bill would give power to courts, not parents, to stop forced marriage

Stuff 15 February 2018
The Human Rights Commission is calling for the marriage of minors to be outlawed in New Zealand.

The call for a debate on the age Kiwis should be able to marry was echoed by women’s organisation Shakti, during a Justice Select Committee hearing on the Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill.

Currently, anyone aged 16 or 17 in New Zealand can marry with parental consent.

ln 2016, 30 children aged 16 or 17, married in New Zealand. That number was 48 in 2015, and 42 in 2014.marriage - child graphThe number of minors marrying has been dropping in recent years but there is concern minors – girls especially – are being coerced into getting married without giving their informed consent.

The proposed bill would mean those cases of marriage where one or both of the parties are aged 16 or 17 would have to go through a court process for approval before they can go ahead with the marriage.

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