Family First NZ says that almost 800 emails have been sent in the past 24 hours to Ministers in Cabinet requesting that they decriminalize light smacking, and they continue to pour in.
“The Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers have been asked by families from all over New Zealand to vote to decriminalise light smacking in accordance with the wishes of the 88% who voted NO in the Referendum,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“The Referendum wasn’t about ‘recommendations’, ‘guidelines’ or ‘comfort’ – it was about a law change.”
“As the law stands, a light smack is a criminal offence subject to whether the police agree it was ‘inconsequential’ and then whether CYF agree that you’re not an abusive parent (only after an investigation that may require your children to be removed temporarily).”
Grant Illingworth QC said in a published Op-Ed that “it is a serious thing to say that someone has committed a crime, irrespective of whether the person is prosecuted. Surely we should reserve that kind of condemnation for situations that really warrant the intervention of the criminal law.”
And Jim Evans, Emeritus Professor of Law at Auckland University said “this is not clear legislation. In creating this law, Parliament abandoned its constitutional responsibility to say with clarity just which conduct is criminal. The section results from a political fudge.”
Family First continues to plead with Cabinet to decriminalize light smacking and then to establish a Commission of Enquiry to target the real causes of child abuse.