The Government has confirmed Family First’s argument that any cases of suspected or reported smacking will have to be investigated if section 59 is repealed in its current form.
In reply to a question from National MP Chester Borrows in Parliament today, Cabinet Minister Phil Goff acknowledged that under the current family violence policy of the Police, they were already obliged to investigate suspected or reported assaults.
“This admission today confirms what we have argued from day one about this bill – that good parents will be treated as criminals under the law,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First.
“The police have already confirmed that smacking a child would be assault. They will have to investigate any complaint made against a parent for smacking or even forced removal to ‘time out’. This will immediately place a family under enormous pressure,” says Mr McCoskrie. “The police have to enforce the law, regardless of what politicians say.”
“The claims by Sue Bradford and the Prime Minister that the anti-smacking bill will not result in parents getting into trouble for lightly smacking their children is now hollow talk, and should sound further alarm bells to kiwi parents about the danger of this bill.”
Mr McCoskrie says that if the Prime Minister and Bradford are genuine about their intent, they should have no problem supporting Chester Borrow’s amendment, which effectively lowers the bar on what is reasonable force, but doesn’t criminalise parents who lightly smack their children.
“The Prime Minister and Sue Bradford can’t have it both ways,” says Mr McCoskrie. “Their preferred option for the Bill will open up every parent who corrects their child with a smack to investigation by the Police and possibly Child Youth and Family.”
This is an unacceptable burden to place on good parents.