Family First is astounded that the Police has prosecuted a Dunedin “Subway” worker for sharing a cup of Diet Coke with a friend during her lunchbreak – and believes it sounds “warning bells” over the Anti-Smacking legislation.
“While we acknowledge that a crime had technically been committed, it is surprising that the worker, who appears to have a clean work record, was not simply dealt with internally, and it seems to be totally over the top that she has been prosecuted by the Police,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“This is a crime involving a cup of Coke worth $2 yet the police have not treated it as inconsequential, and have charged the worker despite there seeming to be little public interest in doing so.”
Mr McCoskrie says that this interpretation of “inconsequential” by the police will send shivers through the spines of good parents who are concerned about the anti-smacking legislation being supported through parliament by most politicial parties.
John Key stated that his support of the amended anti-smacking bill was to “give parents confidence they will not be criminalised for lightly smacking their children.” He has placed his trust in the police’s interpretation of what “is considered to be so inconsequential that there is no public interest in pursuing a prosecution” according to the new amendment.
Yet the police’s interpretation of “inconsequential” in this “cup of coke” case shows that good parents are not able to share Key’s optimism.
Family First believes that John Key and Helen Clark should make good their promise that parents will not be criminalised for lightly smacking their children. This should be explicitly spelt out in the legislation – not left to the Police. This would avoid good parents coming under the weight and stress of an investigation by the police and CYF if a malicious or unecessary complaint is made against them.
“Good parents deserve the protection of the law,” says Mr McCoskrie.