New Zealand’s Education Minister, Nikki Kaye, has told Australia to follow her country’s lead and “get on with” legalising marriage equality.

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Kaye criticised Australia’s lengthy and expensive postal survey and said nothing has changed since New Zealand introduced marriage equality.

“I think that it’s about love and it’s about actually respecting people’s right, and in my view Australia just needs to get on with it,” she said.

Asked if anything had changed since New Zealand introduced marriage equality in 2013, Kaye said, “The reality is no. For all other [people] nothing will change. But for a group of New Zealanders or Australians their life will change because they will feel respected, they will have the ability to be recognised in terms of their love of their partner, and that’s the right thing to do.”

Kaye said that even conservatives in New Zealand have relaxed their attitude to marriage equality after seeing its positive impact.

Prime Minister Bill English, a staunch Catholic, said last year that he would vote differently on marriage equality now, having previously opposed it.

“I don’t think that gay marriage is a threat to anyone else’s marriage,” he said in December.

“Just seeing the impact it has had for couples and the fact that it doesn’t erode marriage. In some ways, it’s an affirmation of the concept.”

Kaye said that life has continued as normal in New Zealand with marriage equality.

“I think the reality is, everyone said at the time that this would be very significant for a group of people, but everyone else’s lives would continue on,” she said.

“And I think that’s the experience, that’s what happened.”

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