Access to Births, Deaths, Marriages records – Proposals Paper

  • Peter Dunne
Internal Affairs

Minister of Internal Affairs Peter Dunne today announced the release of a Proposals Paper in the second stage of the review of public access to birth, death, marriage, civil union, and name change (BDM) records.

The Proposals Paper responds to 80 submissions received on the January 2015 Discussion Paper, which launched the review the rules governing access to BDM records.

Mr Dunne noted the submissions confirmed the importance of New Zealanders’ ability to access to BDM records to help establish their identity, to trace their family history and for many other reasons. 

“It is pleasing to note the majority of submissions supported the basic principles underpinning access to BDM records. But it was also evident from the submissions that users’ expectations about how they want to access BDM information have changed since the current rules were introduced in 2009.

“New Zealanders want to be able interact easily with government in a digital environment, and that is what the proposals will enable.

“I believe the proposals outlined strike the right balance between individual rights and protecting at-risk individuals, and the public’s right to access BDM information for legitimate purposes, while providing the flexibility to support more convenient access to BDM records over time,” says Mr Dunne.

The proposals do not involve any change to rules governing information sharing and/or data matching between government agencies or access to information (such as adoption records) that is subject to specific protections.

“I will carefully consider the submissions on the Proposals Paper before presenting my report to Parliament and the public will be able to make a submission on any changes to the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995, including amendments to remove legislative barriers to digital and online services, as part of the usual select committee process”, Mr Dunne said.

Interested members of the public and organisations are encouraged to have their say and make a submission via the Department of Internal Affairs website (, by email, or by post.

The final date for lodging submissions is 29 April 2016.