NZ’s same-sex hon­ey­moon at risk

Sunday Star-Times - - NEWS - JACK­SON THOMAS

New Zealand wed­ding des­ti­na­tions could lose busi­ness if Aus­tralia votes ‘‘yes’’ to same-sex mar­riages, in­dus­try ex­perts say.

A fi­nal re­sult in na­tional ref­er­en­dum on Novem­ber 15.

How­ever, New Zealand has to date been hap­pily cash­ing in on Aus­tralia’s con­ser­vatism. Since le­gal­is­ing same-sex mar­riage in 2013, New Zealand’s same-sex tourism in­dus­try has ex­ploded as cou­ples trav­elled from over­seas to tie the knot.

Sta­tis­tics New Zealand fig­ures for 2016 show 471 same-sex mar­riages or civil unions were reg­is­tered to over­seas res­i­dents, al­most the same as the to­tal num­ber of same-sex Kiwi cou­ples who tied the knot: 483.

Dan Jarvis and Allen Broad trav­elled from Bris­bane to Queen­stown for their Septem­ber wed­ding.

The cou­ple had been to­gether 15 years and had wanted to get mar­ried ‘‘for quite a while’’, Jarvis said. ‘‘The Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment were too slow to get with re­al­ity and with the rest of the world.’’

More than 50 fam­ily and friends made the trip.

There would be a big drop in the num­ber of Aussies com­ing to New Aus­tralia’s is ex­pected

Zealand to get mar­ried, should Aus­tralia make gay mar­riage legal, he said.

One of Syd­ney’s lead­ing civil wed­ding cel­e­brants, Stephen Lee, said New Zealand would al­ways be a place for des­ti­na­tion wed­dings, but agreed that the num­ber of

same-sex cer­e­monies would if Aus­tralia voted ‘‘yes’’.

Lee spe­cialises in cer­e­monies for same-sex cou­ples who marry in New Zealand, and he also holds a cer­e­mony back in Aus­tralia so that the cou­ple’s fam­ily and friends can cel­e­brate with them.

drop

‘‘Many of those cou­ples would have pre­ferred to have mar­ried at home, but were forced to go over­seas,’’ Lee said.

Aus­tralia’s wed­ding in­dus­try had al­ready be­gun pre­par­ing to cash in on same-sex mar­riage.

Auck­land mar­riage cel­e­brant

Sh­eryl Mun­gall says re­form in Aus­tralia would have a big im­pact on her busi­ness and tourism gen­er­ally.

‘‘Most cou­ples also hon­ey­moon be­fore or af­ter their wed­ding here so that can bring in a lot of spend­ing.’’

Allen Broad and Dan Jarvis of Bris­bane mar­ried in Queen­stown in early Septem­ber rather than wait for Aus­tralia to ‘‘get with re­al­ity’’.

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