“We have made great progress and are right on track to ensure that everything is in place for the smooth and successful introduction of civil unions. Next week we will publish the first list of appointed civil union celebrants, which will be available from our offices and will also be published in the New Zealand Gazette. This follows an intensive recruitment process that has included inviting existing marriage celebrants to apply and national newspaper advertisements targeting new celebrants in January,” says Brian Clarke.
He says the published list of celebrants will ensure a good geographical coverage of people, thus ensuring that civil union celebrants are reasonably accessible in most parts of New Zealand. Civil union celebrants will continue to be appointed as the need arises. All appointed celebrants will have met the appointment criteria including being persons of good character.
Public registry services for civil unions will also be available through Department of Internal Affairs customer services offices and some district courts and local authorities who provide agency services.
Downloadable forms will be available for customers on the website from early April. “These forms will include the notice of intended civil union and consent to enter into a civil union. There will also be a customer brochure available on our website www.bdm.govt.nz providing detailed information about civil union processes including how to apply for a licence, the ceremony and legal matters,” says Brian Clarke.
He says while the Civil Union Act comes into force on 26 April, civil union ceremonies cannot take place straight away. “Our registry offices can accept applications for civil union licences from 26 April, but licences will not be issued earlier than the third day after application. [29 April]. This is a normal legal requirement.
“Over the next few weeks the Department of Internal Affairs will complete the preparations for the introduction of civil unions,” concludes Brian Clarke.
Customers who require further information about civil unions can access the website www.bdm.govt.nz or contact our Freephone number 0800 22 52 52.