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Bradford says Tamihere out of line

Youth Affairs Minister John Tamihere was out of line saying it was every parent's right to give their kids a slap, Green Party Children's Issues Spokesperson Sue Bradford said today

Ms Bradford said it was the inalienable right of every child to be free from any form of violence or abuse - above all, at home.

"Home is where children should be able to totally relax, and feel entirely safe. Parents are supposed to be protectors, not attackers," she said.

Ms Bradford was responding to Mr Tamihere's comments on child smacking reported today, including his view that the State should not interfere in the vast majority of parents' relationships with their children.

"I challenge John Tamihere and any other Labour MPs who share his views to get their heads out of the 19th Century and into the 21st Century," Ms Bradford said.

"The argument that this issue is just about smacking is the refuge of people who cannot see the hypocrisy in outlawing violence against adults but not outlawing violence against babies and children.

"Section 59 of the Crimes Act, which allows parents to physically assault children, adds to the whole culture of abuse of children that is still so rampant in New Zealand society - and among people from all backgrounds and walks of life."

An example of this culture was the 2001 court case that saw a man acquitted after hitting his young child with a piece of wood.

Cabinet is due this month to consider repealing section 59, and Social Services Minister Steve Maharey has confirmed he intends to push for a law change. Ms Bradford said Labour would have the full support of the Greens, as it was a core Green Party policy to repeal the provision. "The Greens will give Labour every vote we have to repeal section 59. They won't need the support of United Future," she said.


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