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    Of those planning to vote, an overwhelming 85.4 percent said they would vote “no” to the question: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

    By HEF Admin | July 25, 2009

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/2673872/Fewer-parents-smack-today-than-in-past-poll

    Fewer parents smack today than in past – poll

    Last updated 09:44 25/07/2009

    Fewer New Zealand parents smack their children today than in past decades, according to results of a poll released today.

    A non-binding citizens-initiated referendum on whether smacking should remain a criminal offence is due to held from next Friday to August 21.

    A Weekend Herald-DigiPoll poll of 200 parents of four-year-olds found that 9 percent of mothers and 8 percent of fathers smacked their children at least one a week.

    The figures were significantly down from those contained in four surveys by Waikato University psychologists Jane and James Ritchie from 1963 to 1997.

    The Ritchies found that about half of all parents of four-year-olds through those 3½ decades smacked their children at least once a week.

    The Digipoll results also show that two-thirds of both mothers and fathers still smack occasionally, despite the law change two years ago banning the use of force against children for the purpose of correction.

    However, the number who never smacked, which remained below 10 percent in the Ritchies’ studies, had jumped to 39 percent of mothers and 33 percent of fathers.

    The poll also found that 78.5 percent of the parents questioned planned to vote in the referendum, with 14 percent saying they wouldn’t be taking part and the rest unsure.

    Of those planning to vote, an overwhelming 85.4 percent said they would vote “no” to the question: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

    Only 10.8 percent indicated they would vote “yes”.

    Green MP Sue Bradford, who promoted the 2007 law change, said the fall in the smacking rate was positive.

    “I think that’s a fantastic sign of hope for the future of our nation that there has been such a dramatic shift in the last 12 years,” she told the Herald.

    But Family First New Zealand national director Bob McCoskrie, who is urging a “no” vote at the referendum, said the poll showed that many parents were continuing to flout the law.

    “Parents are ignoring the law because they simply don’t agree with it and because it is so confusing,” he said.

    “But what is most significant in this latest poll is that even parents who choose not to smack are opposed to it being criminalised.”

    – NZPA

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