Who is a partner?

There are two situations where partnership might need checking for eligibility purposes.

  1. Where a person’s partner is a New Zealand Aid programme student studying in New Zealand (ref: B20 of the direction), and
  2. Maternity-related services – where an ineligible pregnant person has an eligible partner (ref: B21 of the direction).

For the Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011, a partner is:

  • where the couple is legally married or in a civil union, either member of the couple, as the case requires; OR
  • a ‘de-facto partner’ within the meaning of the term in section 29A of the Interpretation Act 1999 (New Zealand Legislation).

The Interpretation Act 1999 describes a de facto relationship as one where two people are not married or in a civil union, but living together in relationship akin to marriage or civil union. Both must be 16 years or older, or have obtained consent under the Care of Children Act 2004 to be in a de facto relationship (required for 16 and 17 year olds).

A de facto relationship ends if either ‘a) the de facto partners cease to live together as a couple in a relationship in the nature of marriage or civil union, or b) one of the de facto partners dies.’

In determining whether two people live together in a de facto relationship in the nature of a marriage or civil union, the context and circumstances of the relationship must be taken into consideration.

Proof of partnership

Acceptable proof of partnership includes:

  • a marriage or civil union certificate, OR
  • a visa granted by Immigration New Zealand on the basis of the relationship (the visa label will state this), OR
  • evidence of living together in a de facto relationship: joint tenancy agreement or home ownership documents, and shared bank accounts, OR
  • a statutory declaration from both partners confirming their de facto relationship. Statutory declarations must be witnessed by a solicitor or a Justice of the Peace. This option is generally used where the couple is not able to provide sufficient proof of their partnership.
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