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New age of consent laws should be scrapped

Tony Ryall National Law & Order Spokesman

23 May 2004

New age of consent laws should be scrapped

National is calling on the Government to abandon its plan to legalise sexual conduct between children aged 12-16.

The Crime Amendment (No 2) Bill, currently before the Law and Order Select Committee, will provide lawful permission for sexual conduct between two young people less than 16-years-old provided they are aged within two years of each other. Any sexual conduct with a child under 12-years-old remains an offence.

The Bill will also provide a lawful excuse for all men having sex with a 12-16-year-old if they can prove they took reasonable steps to ascertain the age of the young person and believed them to be 16-years-old or over.

National's Law and Order spokesman, Tony Ryall says the current law is clear and simple - sex with someone under 16 is wrong.

"These changes will put more pressure on children and young people to become sexually active. Surely the Government can learn a lesson from lowering the drinking age and all the problems that has caused.

"There has been no public call for these changes. This is a significant change in social policy and there has been no public consultation. Making it yet another example of Labour's political correctness at the cost of mainstream New Zealand values.

"New Zealand will end up with one of the world's most liberal regimes for underage sex. Parents and grandparents are not going to thank Helen Clark for this.

"The law should protect children from sexual pressure and support families in their efforts to provide boundaries for their young people.

"The Government does not realise what it is doing with these changes. The potential consequences are alarming, and will be with us for years. The Prime Minister should abandon these proposals immediately," says Mr Ryall.

Ends

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