Letter urges Parliament to Support Parents – not Criminalise Them

Hundreds of kiwi parents and grandparents urge politicians to retain section 59 Crimes Act
Over 1200 NZ’ers, including All Black great Michael Jones, ex Silver Fern Linda Vagana, Broadcaster Simon Barnett, Oceania Player of the Century Wynton Rufer and hundreds of parents and grandparents have sent an Open Letter to the Prime Minister and all MP’s calling on them to reject Green MP Sue Bradford’s ‘Anti-Smacking’ Bill and the ‘Anti-Correction’ Amendments recommended by the Select Committee.

The Signatories include Social Workers, School Principals, Teachers, Early Childhood Educators, Police Officers, Doctors, Counsellors, Youthworkers, and representatives of over 50 pro-family organizations. Many teenagers have also put their signature to the letter, as have senior managers and business owners – the majority of signatories are also parents and grandparents.

“Most of these people are not child development experts and have not adopted moral supremacy and appointed themselves as the experts on parenting and the well-being of children,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First who co-ordinated the letter. “They are simply the mums and dads of this country who on a daily basis are striving to raise law-abiding children who will make a positive contribution to this country. They deserve to be applauded – not threatened with criminalisation because so-called experts don’t agree with how they parent.”

Mr McCoskrie says that the organisers were blown away by the overwhelming support for the Letter. They originally hoped to get 150-200 signatures but in the end had to close the Register two weeks early.

“Our message is that child abuse is a major problem in NZ but we must tackle the real causes – family breakdown, dysfunction and substance abuse, rather than penalising and exposing to criminalisation good parents for simply giving their children appropriate care, correction and loving discipline.”

Mr McCoskrie says there is not a single piece of reputable research which proves that appropriate smacking leads to abuse or results in violent and dysfunctional children – in fact the research shows the opposite.

“Politicians will also be very aware that poll after poll after poll, both in NZ and in Australia and England, support the retention of section 59 (average of 80% support). This is because NZ’ers understand that parental discipline in the form of a smack is totally different to child abuse,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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