Child discipline law one year old tomorrow

As the first anniversary of the so-called anti-smacking legislation rolls around, campaigners will again present a petition trying to get the law overturned.

But the architect of the bill, Green MP Sue Bradford, says the new law is working well and should be left alone.

The first anniversary of the controversial law is tomorrow, a day Unicef says is cause for celebration.

Ms Bradford’s legislation amended section 59 of the Crimes Act to remove the defence of reasonable force for parents who physically discipline their children.

The amendment, which was supported by the overwhelming majority of Parliament, gave police discretion to judge whether a reported offence warranted prosecution.

There is to be a review of the law next June, two years after its introduction.

Unicef executive director Dennis McKinlay said fears that good parents would face charges for minor infringements of the law had been well and truly laid to rest.

“Police and the public have shown that this law works well and that parents can find better and more constructive ways to discipline and guide children than hitting them,” Mr McKinlay said.

However, Kiwi Party leader Larry Baldock and supporters will on Monday again present signatures on a petition trying to force a referendum that would ask the question: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand.”

When the petition was presented earlier, supporters had collected 324,316 signatures, but after these were checked for validity there were only 269,500 — less than the 10 percent of enrolled voters which has to be reached for a referendum to be held.

Mr Baldock today said the petition, to be presented to the Clerk of the House on Monday, would be checked and a random sample audited over the next two months to see whether the 285,027 signatures were valid.


One response to “Child discipline law one year old tomorrow”

  1. Mrs Dianne Woodward Avatar
    Mrs Dianne Woodward

    Mother of all Mothers Ms Sue Bradford, NZ’s 2nd female PM Miss Clark , Childrens Commissioner Cindy Kiro, Jim Anderton and what’s Peter Dunne DONE when 85% of us protested against the antismacking law – dictated, however the public majority appreciated the action taken by Gordon Copeland and Larry Baldock in dropping Dunne. Dobbing parents in for using a smack to protect or correct children means prosecuted parents in a couple of years as Police will investigate each and every reported smack. The annual Review of this antismacking law happens one year from now supported and funded by organisations such as Barnadoes NZ, Plunket (meanwhile this Government slashed the funding for our Heaven sent Plunket Nurse home visits to promote a laws only a minority of the population agrees with),Save the Children, Unicef, National Network Stopping Violence Services, EPOCH NZ, National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges. Outspoken Christine Rankin (For the Sake of our Children Trust) spoke on TV3 Campbell Live Smacking Debate 2/4/07 joining Simon Barnett (presently TV Host of Stars In Their Eyes)in agreeing employees don’t like these organisations saying smacking is a crime. Speaking of smacking in the same breath as thrashing and beating is wrong as the role of a parent is to train their children up to be law abiding adults so we’ll all reap what we sow if MPs continue putting children’s rights above caregivers. Maxim Institutes Bruce Logan reports legal smackers in France, Chris Carters articles in Wisharts Investigate Magazine plus the Manawatu Standard reports Britain made headlines in 2003 for rejecting antismacking law so some media believe in giving us the truth. Sheryl Savills Referendum this election lets us agree with Bishop Brian Tamaki and Richard Lewis in saying enough is enough and their voices along with John Tamahere (Radio Live) Bob McCoskrie (Familyfirst)and Paul Taggarts Editorials remind me that maybe Grandparents have the answers for this confused generation.

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