Wrong mother on birth certificate

ANDREW BEACH
Last updated 10:32 21/08/2014

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A South Auckland couple have pleaded guilty to charges of falsely registering the birth of a child as their own.

The plea came after the presentation of the prosecution case, brought by the registrar-general of births, deaths and marriages, in the Manukau District Court this week.

The court was told that the husband fathered the child with another woman. She agreed that the baby would be given up and raised by him and his wife as their own.

After the child's birth in September 2005 the couple registered the wife as the child's mother.

Seven years later the birth mother alerted the Department of Internal Affairs.

The couple initially denied providing false information, but later made admissions in signed statutory declarations.

The Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Jeff Montgomery, had since amended the child's birth certificate to record the birth mother.

The couple have been granted interim name suppression and will be sentenced next month.

Montgomery said that "accurate and timely birth registration is a right of every child born in New Zealand".

"A child is entitled to know who his parents are."

Inheritances and benefits received under trusts depended on a person establishing that they were the son or daughter of the benefactor, he said.

"Similarly, certain government grants and benefits depend on a parent-child relationship being established.

In addition, a child may be able to claim citizenship status through a parent, and a birth certificate will provide prima facie evidence of that relationship.

"Ensuring the integrity of our records is a vital part of good government where the public relies on such records."

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