New Zealand's adoption laws are out of date and need an overhaul, broadcaster Toni Street says.

Street's biological son Lachlan was born eight weeks ago by her surrogate, Sophie Braggins, but Street and her husband are yet to be able to officially adopt their own son.

Speaking to Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking today Street outlined how difficult and time-consuming the adoption process was, even for Street who was the biological mother of her child.

"We are the perfect case, we are trying to adopt our biological son it's not like we have used another person's egg or sperm it is the most straightforward case you can imagine.


"If there was a medical emergency with my son we would have no authority to consent to anything. We would have to go back to our surrogate Sophie and her husband who really has no biology in this at all."

It was not a matter of slow processing through the Family Court, which she was still waiting for a meeting with, but a whole raft of issues.

"This adoption act hasn't been updated since 1955. The entire process is very, very slow."

Oranga Tamariki had visited Street twice to ascertain her and her husband's suitability to be a parent and they would visit at least once more, she said.

She said Oranga Tamariki shouldn't be involved in the process at all.

"It seems a waste of time when they could be dealing with vulnerable families.

"I don't see the need for them at all. Put those resource somewhere else, don't make us go through the Family Court, there has to be a simpler way for that."

The consenting process had to be simplified and needed an entire overhaul.


"Make it step by step don't drag it out for 18 months to two years."

Her support worker from Oranga Tamariki said it was a "long and laborious" process.

Street posted a reply from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern about the adoption act on her Instagram.

"The adoption act is well over 50 years old and definitely needs fixing. It's on our work programme," Ardern commented.

The New Zealand adoption process

Adoption is the legal transfer of parenting rights and responsibilities from birth parents to adoptive parents.

In 2016, 873 adoptions were recorded by the Department of Internal Affairs, and just 128 of those were from within New Zealand.

After an information evening prospective parents need to complete an application, go through an education and preparation programme, have a number of interviews with social workers and create a profile of their family.

The birth parents select families based on their profiles from an adoption pool. They usually meet the families they are considering before deciding.

Birth mothers must wait at least 12 days after giving birth to give consent for the adoption.

A domestic adoption's only expense is legal fees that the adoptive parents cover for themselves and the birth mother. They can range between $2000 and $5000.

Adoption discrimination:

In 2016, the Human Rights Review Tribunal ruled that the following provisions were inconsistent with the Bill of Rights:

• The requirement for sole male applicants to prove "special circumstances" before being permitted to adopt a female child (when there was no such requirement for a single female to prove "special circumstances").

• The ability for the Court to dispense with the consent of birth fathers in some circumstances before a child was adopted (but not birth mothers).

• The inability of civil union partners or same-sex de facto couples to adopt.

• The absence of a requirement for unmarried opposite sex or same-sex partners of a sole applicant for an adoption order to give consent (even when the couple is living together at the time of the application).

• The ability to dispense with consent of a disabled parent or guardian before his or her child is adopted.

• The prohibition on persons under the age of 25 adopting a child.

• In relation to the Adult Adoption Information Act the prohibition on a person under the age of 20 obtaining a copy of his or her original birth certificate.

Source: Human Rights Commission