The latest statistics on marriage, civil unions and divorce in New Zealand show a declining rate of divorce, and an increasing number of marriages over the past decade.
And while the marriage rate has retained its demand and relevance, the demand for civil unions has been negligible.
Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ, notes: “The civil unions legislation has proved to be a complete white elephant, despite the claims by the previous government that it would supposedly strengthen human rights and support the choices of apparently 300,000 people who were not married but lived in stable relationships.”
According to Statistics NZ data released today, there have been only 1,646 civil unions registered between April 2005 and March 2009 . These comprised 1,330 same-sex unions (594 male and 736 female) (80%), 312 opposite-sex unions and just four transfers from marriage.
So what are the actual stats for the marriages and divorces - have we reason to celebrate? Here's what NZ Stats says:
- DIVORCES; The Family Court granted 9,700 divorces in 2008, slightly below the annual average of 10,000 for the last decade. About one-third of New Zealanders who married in 1983 had divorced before their silver wedding anniversary (25 years).
- MARRIAGES: There were 21,900 marriages registered in 2008, compared with 21,500 in 2007. The increase was due to more first marriages, up from 14,400 to 14,800. The number of remarriages remained at 7,100, the same as in 2007.
- MARRIAGE RATE: The general marriage rate (marriages per 1,000 unmarried adults) was 13.7 in 2008, down from 15.6 in 1998. The latest rate is less than one-third of the peak level of 45.5 per 1,000 recorded in 1971.
- CIVIL UNIONS: There were 327 civil unions in 2008: 256 same-sex unions (111 male and 145 female) and 71 opposite-sex unions. Up to 31 December 2008, eight civil unions had been dissolved.