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The anti-smacking law has been back in the public spotlight, thanks to the Conservative Party, and Family First is planning a major campaign on overturning this law in the lead-up to the election. As a result of Family First contacting the media, both the Dominion Post and the Sunday Star Times had to print retractions relating to the way they were presenting the application and impact of the law (see below right). However this misinformation was then repeated by the Prime Minister! We will continue to monitor this debate – and ensure that parents are receiving the facts on just how harmful this law has been and why it must be changed.

Media and PM Misleading Public on Smacking Prosecutions
Media Release 20 Jan 2013: Family First NZ says that the Prime Minister is now misrepresenting the facts relating to smacking prosecutions. The Dominion Post and the Sunday Star Times have already had to print corrections because of misrepresenting the facts. “A number of media outlets and editorials claimed that police have prosecuted just eight parents for smacking children in the five years since the law came in and that seven of those parents had smacked their child in the head or face. This was completely wrong and misleading. The Prime Minister is now repeating the myth (Radio Live this morning audio). It is also disappointing that the police are not speaking up about the incorrect information, and we wonder why not,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “This means that John Key’s judgment of the working of the law is based on wrong information. This is either to justify not taking action on fixing the law, or the Prime Minister is continuing to receive wrong advice.” READ MORE

According to the police reviews and Official Information Act requests by Family First NZ, the following have been prosecuted and in most cases convicted:

1. Smack on nappy – subsequently withdrawn. 3rd review
2. Smack on bottom. 6th review
3. Smacked on leg with no physical injury. 7th review
4. Smacked on bottom with no physical injury. 8th review
5. Smacked on bottom with no physical injury. 9th review
6. Smacked on lower leg with no physical injury – withdrawn due to insufficient evidence. 10th review
7. Smacked on upper leg with no physical injury. 10th review
8. Smacked on leg with no physical injury. 10th review

“Parents will be surprised by the types of actions which the police are taking to court – despite the guarantees of the Prime Minister that a smack is ok – a claim reiterated this morning on Radio Live. Almost 600 kiwi families have had a police investigation for allegations of smacking or minor acts of physical discipline since the anti-smacking law was passed yet only 9% of them have been serious enough to warrant charges being laid,” says Mr McCoskrie. “A law is obviously a ‘dog’s breakfast’ when there is such a high rate (90%-plus) of cases warranting no further action by the police. Yet for these ‘good parents’, the experience will have been hell.”

Family First Comment: We’ll keep you informed on this issue, where the political parties stand on changing the law, and what you can do to help us run a strong campaign to overturn the law.

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