Politicians Have Opportunity to Respect 88% of NZ

Family First NZ is calling on politicians to respect democracy and the voice of NZ’ers expressed in the recent Referendum and support the bill being introduced tonight in parliament to decriminalise light smacking.

“At the end of last year, 88% of voters in the Referendum demanded that the government decriminalise light smacking. The government attempted to appease the voters with what was exposed as a flawed and misleading review of the law headed by psychologist Nigel Latta,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “The
Crimes (Reasonable Parental Control and Correction) Amendment Bill being introduced tonight is an opportunity for the politicians to get this law right and respect the views of families.”

“This amendment is a common sense solution, identical to what the National party lobbied for during the anti-smacking debate until they were whipped to vote for the Sue Bradford bill.”

“Just last year the Prime Minister admitted that the smacking law is a complete and utter dog’s breakfast, badly drafted, extremely vague, and the Borrows amendment was the right place to settle. He was absolutely correct and recent polling shows that parents are confused by this law and by the conflicting messages about its effect.”

In 2007, John Key said, ‘If the reality is that no one is ever going to be prosecuted for lightly smacking their child, then don’t make it illegal. Don’t make it a crime. It’s poor law-making to write a very strict law and then trust the police and the courts not to enforce it strongly. The law shouldn’t depend on which police officer or which judge or which jury you happen to get on the day’.

“The law is not working and we have published many examples of good families being prosecuted and investigated by police and/or CYF for smacking or minor acts of physical discipline,” says Mr McCoskrie. “Meanwhile the rates of child abuse and deaths continue unabated. We are yet to tackle the real causes of child abuse – which we must.”

Family First is calling on National MP’s to support the ACT party and vote to decriminalise light smacking and give parents certainty under the law.

“And then we can focus our energies and resources on the rotten parents who are abusing and killing their kids.”

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