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Maharey Exploits Tragedy For Labour Ends

Maharey Exploits Tragedy For Labour Ends

ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today accused Labour of exploiting the Coral Burrows tragedy to re-attempt to impose its child-raising theories on parents, after Social Services Minister Steve Maharey revealed an anti-smacking law change is back on Cabinet's agenda.

"We saw this building last week, with UNICEF, and Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro, claiming that banning smacking would lower our child abuse rate," Mr Franks said.

"I can't believe Mr Maharey's gall in trying to link the Burrows tragedy to changes to section 59 of the Crimes Act. The law against brutality is as clear as that against murder. Is the Minister trying to get in first, before the hard questions come about enforcement and the underlying causes of dysfunctional families?

"Questions such as why a young man with 90 convictions is not still serving time. How much has been wiped through a parole system that reforms no one and sends a message that the Government does not really believe in the law it has?

"A Minister involved in education should foresee the consequences of refusing to distinguish between smacking and abuse. Blurring the lines between molestation and normal hands-on care means young men steer clear of teaching. Does the Minister want ordinary, decent parents to avoid disciplining their children, for fear of having a smack labelled brutality?

"If Labour were truly committed to lowering our abuse rate, it would enforce the law on the 2,000-5,000 known scumbag families where, the police will tell you, much of the worst abuse occurs. Instead, it would rather make loving parents worry about how they discipline their children, while the brutes who don't care about the law carry on regardless," Mr Franks said.

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