“The government has always claimed that its objective is to establish a level playing field for all New Zealanders regardless of sexual preference. It has retreated from these ideals in the face of gay opposition to its proposals,” says Mr Donnelly.
“The issue is whether same-sex defacto couples should be treated in the same way as defacto heterosexual couples. If they were then it would mean that there would be a reduction in current benefits for same-sex de facto couples as they would no longer be treated as two individuals.
“That course of action would have been fair and would have got my vote. The two year lead in time was also fair.
“The government has got cold feet, knowing the resentment that reduction in benefits would have caused. So much for its principles.
“The effect is that heterosexual couples are to continue to be discriminated against. This is unjust and unfair and means I can no longer support this legislation,” said Mr Donnelly.