Government reduces barriers to changing birth registration

  • Hon Tracey Martin
Internal Affairs

The Government has moved to ease the financial burden on those who want to change their sex on birth certificates.

“It’s important to make long-called-for practical improvements to the current system while legal issues with the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill are being worked through,” Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin says.

“From today, the Registrar General will waive the fees associated with applying to change the registered sex on a birth certificate.”

Applicants will no longer be charged fees by the Department of Internal Affairs:

  • to deposit a Family Court Declaration as to sex;
  • for issuing an updated birth certificate; or
  • for a courier within New Zealand.

“Waiving fees for changing registered sex reduces the financial burden facing transgender New Zealanders by up to $95 for a person needing all three services and helps improve what can be a challenging process.

“A group has also been established to provide advice on how to further reduce barriers to changing registered sex via the current process.

The group will include representatives of the transgender and intersex community as well as medical and legal experts with experience in transgender issues. Kate Scarlet, a lawyer with substantial expertise in the process for changing registered sex, will chair the group. Other members are Jack Byrne, Mani Mitchell, Georgina Beyer, Jeannie Oliphant, Fleur Fitzsimons and Ahi Wi-Hongi.

They will meet from August to December 2019 and produce recommendations to me early next year,” the Minister says. “The members have been chosen because of their knowledge and experience of the current court process so that any improvements best meet the needs of the individuals involved.
“In the meantime, officials are continuing to address the legal issues raised by Crown Law on the self-identification clauses which the Select Committee introduced to the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill.
“Work needs to be done on these issues before I can make a decision on the Bill’s future,” Tracey Martin said.

Contact: Richard Ninness 021 892 536