Smacking Review Exposed as Factually Wrong, Grossly Misleading

PM must stand by his election promise to protect good parents

Official documents obtained by Family First NZ show that the Smacking Review presented to the Prime Minister last year assuring parents that they would not be criminalized for light smacking was grossly misleading and left out material information.

A full analysis and special report has been covered in the latest issue of Investigate magazine published today.

Court documents and official letters from police and CYF show that the review headed by psychologist Nigel Latta alongside the Police Commissioner and the head of CYF contained glaring errors including
of most concern, it did not comply with the terms of reference – this is confirmed by the response of the members of the Review panel to Investigate magazine’s enquiries
it focused on the alleged actions of parents which were found to have no basis in court but were presented in the report out of context to imply that the parents were abusers and liars
there was misrepresentation of the basic facts of some cases

“The Prime Minister, and in fact the whole of the country, has been led by this report into believing that good parents would not be investigated, prosecuted or even convicted for light smacking – yet these documents reveal that the Latta Review failed to fully review the cases as promised, and that good parents have indeed been taken through hell as a result of the anti-smacking law, and they are just the tip of the iceberg,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Family First has repeatedly asked the government to view this evidence – without success. But the evidence which the PM asked for is now in. Good parents attempting to raise great kids will be investigated and prosecuted right through the court process and in some cases even have their children removed during this process.”

“John Key must now deliver on his pre-election promise to amend the law if he saw good parents being criminalised. At the time of this review, he said ‘parents have the go-ahead to lightly smack their children without the fear they will be investigated and prosecuted for doing so’. What he says and the reality are now confirmed as two different things.”

Family First is calling on the government to adopt ACT MP John Boscawen’s private members bill decriminalising light smacking. This is a similar amendment to what both John Key and the National caucus were supporting throughout the debate until they were whipped to vote for the Bradford amendment.

“Last week we heard that brutal attacks on babies and toddlers have increased 65% since the smacking law came in. We also we saw that actual child abuse cases were being ignored. Yet the time and resources have been found to prosecute good parents for appropriate and non-abusive parenting,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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