Review of Property (Relationships) Act 1976 - Media Release 25 May 2016

Publication Date 
25 May 2016


The Minister of Justice has requested that the Law Commission commence a review of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (“the Act”).

The Act governs the division of relationship property held by married couples, civil union couples, and couples who have lived in a de facto relationship, when they separate or when one of them dies. 

Helen McQueen, the lead Commissioner for the reference, said: “Over time, the Act affects the life of almost every New Zealander. In the 40 years since it was first enacted, New Zealand society has changed dramatically. It is time to ensure that the framework for dividing relationship property reflects the needs and reasonable expectations of New Zealanders in 2016 and beyond.”

The Commission will undertake a comprehensive review of the Act over the next three years and will consult with the public, as well as engaging with key stakeholders and an Expert Advisory Group.

Updates on the project can be found at the Commission’s website:  (

The Law Commission will be reporting to the Minister of Justice in November 2018.


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