Polygamy speech claims denied by Dyson

Welfare Minister Ruth Dyson's office says she never made a speech which has been reported in the first edition of a new on-line newspaper.

Ian Wishart's publication, TGIF Weekly, said the speech was delivered to Victoria University students on May 6 and in it Ms Dyson suggested Labour was developing policy that would recognise polygamy and polyamory -- arrangements where people have multiple wives or husbands.

The report, published on Friday, said the speech was evidence of a hidden agenda of social engineering.

A spokesman for Ms Dyson told NZPA the speech was posted on a government website in error.

He said the speech was written for Ms Dyson but she rejected it.

"She never said it," the spokesman said.

"They (the comments) were in the speech that was posted but she never gave that speech.

"It just unfortunately crept through the system and went out as a speech she delivered, but it wasn't."


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The response from Ruth Dyson, that it was a rejected speech, raises more questions than it answers. Which of Ms Dyson's ministries or departments ARE working on policies to support polygamy and polyamory, to the extent that a speech could get approved through their approval chain and submitted to the minister? MSD? Work and Income? Maybe Older Persons' Policy!

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Polygamy is the generic term that includes polygyny (one man with more than one wife) and polyandry (one woman with more than one husband). Neither of these arrangements is legal in New Zealand, although it is possible that there are a small number of immigrants from countries where this is acceptable. No doubt such cases can be accomodated in the NZ social framework, as and when they arise.

Polyamory is more of a philoshopy of life that might characterise some alternaitve communities, where men and women may have multiple and possibly shared partners, and women may have children with different men.

No doubt the latter situation has already arisen and so this should be a legitimate area for policy analysis. How do our social institutions apply the welfare rules in such situations? Why would anyone need to avoid being seen to address such an issue?

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NZ could learn from Canadian polygamy law. The federal criminal code makes plyamy punishable for 5 years in prison. Persons who have more than one spouse or authorities who authorize multiple spouses are guilty f polygamy.
However, their province of Saskatchewan actually publically proclaims that they permit multiple spouses and indeed, even force unmarried people to become spouses of married persons, if they cohabitate. No province in Canada actually prosecutes this crime so it does appear to be legalized.

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