NZ cutting adoption ties with Russia after failed negotiations

The New Zealand government has walked away from negotiations with Russia over adopting orphans.

Russia won't allow single parents or gay couples to adopt, and NZ won't agree to their terms. Source: 1 NEWS

Russia banned single Kiwis and same sex couples from adopting Russian children when New Zealand legalised gay marriage. Moscow is refusing to budge on the ban.

And it is insisting that Russian officials have a say in future care placements within New Zealand if the adoption doesn't work out.

The move is another heart-breaking disappointment to a handful of Kiwi families who have been waiting since 2006 for officials to break a diplomatic impasse.

"We have tried our best for a number of years to form an adoption agreement with Russia, but unfortunately we've had to stop negotiations at this stage," Social development minister Anne Tolley told 1 NEWS.

"While I'm disappointed, it is important any agreement complies with New Zealand laws and international obligations. I am open to resuming negotiations should the existing terms change."

Social Development ministry officials had travelled to Russia in a bid to break the deadlock.

In a statement, Child, Youth and Family Deputy Chief Executive Murray Edridge said: "Negotiations with the Russian Federation regarding the establishment of a bilateral agreement on adoption have been stopped for the present…New Zealand and the Russian Federation have been in negotiations for a number of years in order to try and reach a bilateral agreement on adoption.

"However, regrettably, we have reached a point where it is clear we are unable to bridge the gap between the conditions Russia requires in its inter-country adoptions agreements, and what New Zealand is able to accept."

More than 650 Russian children were adopted by Kiwis between 1992 and 2013, when Russia suspended the practice because it wanted a formal agreement.

Russia came up with a draft agreement in 2011, and in May 2012 Cabinet agreed MSD could begin talks – which eventually started in 2014.

Wendy Hawke, executive director for the Inter Country Adoption New Zealand agency, said the move was "disappointing" for families waiting to adopt.

She said 25 families had been hoping to bring children from Russia – but many had given up and adopted from other countries like Thailand and the Philippines.