NZ Herald 28 May 2012Two MPs from opposing parties, National’s Nikki Kaye and the Greens’ Kevin Hague, have joined forces to develop a bill that would legalise adoption by gay couples. The National Party’s northern regional conference in Auckland at the weekend passed a remit in closed session supporting adoption by couples in a civil union. The party’s national conference in July is expected to debate a gay adoption remit, although such a matter would be a conscience vote in Parliament. It is possible that the Government could pick up the work Ms Kaye and Mr Hague are doing on adoption and surrogacy laws as a Government measure, while making some of the controversial issues a conscience vote. Prime Minister John Key told the Herald yesterday the passage of the remit reflected the changing face of the National Party.….The two MPs are drafting legislation to amend the Care of Children Bill 2004 based on a previous Law Commission report that looked at guardianship and adoption. The measure should be ready in a few months, Ms Kaye said, and would be a private member’s bill in her name or Mr Hague’s. It was a complex piece of work and there would be about 40 policy decisions. Some would be controversial, including the age of adoption, adoption by same-sex couples, adoption by single people, Maori adoption practices and issues relating to surrogacy. Labour list MP Jacinda Ardern has a bill in the private members’ bill ballot that would require the Law Commission to rewrite the law to allow gay couples to adopt.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10808932Gay adoptions not a priority – PMNZ Herald 28 May 2012Prime Minister John Key said it wasn’t a top priority for the Government to promote a Bill legalising adoption by gay couples. Mr Key said he would vote for any Bill to progress to the Select Committee stage but would not confirm if he would vote for the bill to move further. “My own personal opinion is the issue of gay adoption is not hugely significant issue and it’s not because it doesn’t matter to those couples who might want to adopt children, but the truth is less than 200 non-family adoptions take place in New Zealand at the moment.” He said in the current economic climate it was not a priority for the Government.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10809120
This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week and AAA Washington’s Jennifer Cook says that teen-involved crashes are one of the leading causes of death for teens.“It’s really important to make sure that parents really are aware of what they can do to prevent these tragedies.”Cook says other teen passengers is one of the biggest distractions and can increase the likelihood for an accident by at least 50 percent. She advises getting involved in your teen’s driving life by making sure they are ready for other passengers, teaching them to drive in all weather conditions and only letting them drive by themselves when they’ve shown they are ready.“We have state laws that say teens should have this many hours behind the wheel before driving by themselves, but really it’s up to the parent. Decide how your teen is doing behind the wheel or how are their judgement skills or how’s their reaction time. If they’re not ready at that point, you make that call.”You can also model good behavior in your driving so they know how to act.