3 Dec 2015

Child sex offender name change bill passes first reading

5:52 am on 3 December 2015

A members bill that would prevent convicted child sex offenders legally changing their names has passed its first reading in Parliament.

New Zealand Beehive; parliament

Jian Yang's members bill has passed its first reading Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration (Preventing name change by child sex offenders) Amendment Bill in the name of National MP Jian Yang was drafted after a convicted sex offender admitted using false CVs and a forged birth certificate to teach in six North Island schools.

In 2012, child sex offender Henry Miki was jailed for four years after he pleaded guilty to seven charges of using multiple false identities to gain employment in the schools.

Mr Yang told Parliament that should not have been allowed to happen.

He said the legislation would amend the births, deaths, marriages and relationships register to stop convicted child sex offenders legally changing their names.

"Parents and children should be able to trust people in positions of responsibility and the amendment bill will enable this," Dr Yang said.

Labour Party MP Adrian Rurawhe said Dr Yang's motivations were admirable, but the bill would not work.

He pointed out that the Attorney-General had written in his report on the bill that it was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act.

"This bill need to go back to the drafting table to be completely rewritten," he said.

Green Party MP David Clendon said there was not enough substance in the legislation to suggest it would improve child safety.

He said it would do nothing to stop offenders from using aliases and other forms of false identity.

National MP Todd Barclay told the House the bill was not a silver bullet to in prevent sex offenders from committing crimes, but was a part of suite of reforms.

The bill passed its first reading by 75 votes to 46 with Labour and the Greens opposing.

It will now be considered by the Social Services committee, which is also considering legislation that would establish a register of child sex offenders.