Last year, the government passed the Identity (Citizenship and Travel Documents) Bill, which made draconian changes to our citizenship and passport laws to make it more difficult for long-term residents to gain New Zealand citizenship, strip the automatic right of citizenship by birth from children of non-resident parents, and allow the government to seize any New Zealander's passport and prevent them from travelling on national security grounds (just imagine what Jenny Shipley would have done with that power). However, it also made other changes, notably removing the traditional shortcut to citizenship through marriage, on the basis that this was discriminatory.
Each Contracting State agrees that the alien wife of one of its nationals may, at her request, acquire the nationality of her husband through specially privileged naturalization procedures; the grant of such nationality may be subject to such limitations as may be imposed in the interests of national security or public policy.
We ratified this convention on the 17th of December, 1958. And while its a bit archaic in talking only of marriage and only of women, we now appear to be in breach of it. I wonder if the government or the select committee which examined the bill even noticed?
As for the general issue, yes, the marriage shortcut was prima facie inconsistent with s21 (1) (b) of the Human Rights Act, which bars discrimination on the grounds of marital status. But rather than being removed, it should have been broadened to include civil union and de facto partners (at least, those who met the same two-year threshold used elsewhere in New Zealand law) - the reason being that shacking up with a Kiwi does seem to be a valid signifier of commitment to New Zealand, and hence a valid reason for drawing a distinction. But as with their laughable decision on student allowances, the government chose to use human rights law to narrow existing rights rather than broaden them...