New Zealand Law Society - Government responds on access to bodies

Government responds on access to bodies

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The Government has released its response to the Māori Affairs Committee Inquiry into whānau access to and management of tūpāpaku (body of a deceased person).

The committee’s report gave eight recommendations to the Government to consider whether additional resources are required for the current coronial system surrounding access, and management of a deceased person.

The majority were accepted, one was acknowledged and one rejected.

Government’s Response

Accepted the recommendations relating to:

  • Improving cultural considerations in the coronial system;
  • Increasing resources to coronial services and associated agencies, including minimum standards for mortuaries during transportation;
  • Implementing the Law Commission’s report on “Death, Burial and Cremation: A new law for contemporary New Zealand”, and it notes that work is on-going to implement the Law Commission’s recommendations.

Acknowledges the recommendations relating to:

  • The recommendation relating to facilitating an appropriate place for whānau to initially receive tūpāpaku entering international airports but notes that direct government involvement is not required at this time, and encourages airport companies, local funeral directors and the Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand to discuss this recommendation.

Rejects the recommendations relating to:

  • The recommendation reviewing the practice regarding co-sleeping situations resulting in sudden unexpected death in infancy and;
  • Reviewing the current decision-making process followed by Police when deciding whether to prosecute cases relating to sudden unexpected death in infancy resulting from co-sleeping.
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