Sexual Safety - Legal Stuff
What is the law in New Zealand?
Different countries have different laws – it is important that you know about New Zealand law and what it means for you.
How old do I have to be to legally have sex?
It is legal in New Zealand for young men and women to have sex once they are both 16. This is called the Age of Consent. The same law applies to sexual relations between young people of the same sex.
What is consent?
Consent means that both people say yes. Having sex with someone without consent is rape.
It’s not okay to talk someone into having sex – this could be sexual assault. If someone has been drinking or has taken drugs and is not in control, it is also considered that they have not consented. To have sex with someone in this state is also committing rape.
What happens if I father a child?
If you father a child, you are legally and financially responsible for the child until it is 19 years old. If you are under 18, the financial responsibility falls on your parents.
How old do I need to be to get contraception?
Anyone of any age can buy condoms from shops or vending machines. There is no law that stops people under the age of 16 buying condoms, nor any law restricting the seller. You also have the right to be prescribed the pill or other contraceptives. The doctor or nurse who sees you will want to ensure that you are not at risk, that you understand what you’re doing. However, if they think – or you tell them – that you are in danger in any way, they would have to share that with other people to get you help. If they wanted to do this they would discuss it with you first. They will also encourage you to talk with your parents or another trusted adult.
How old do I need to be to get an abortion?
In New Zealand, a woman of any age can have an abortion. It is a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. The man does not have any legal rights. However, two doctors need to agree you have good reasons under the New Zealand abortion law.
You cannot be forced to have an abortion, and it is your decision who you tell about the procedure. That includes your partner, and parents.