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Smith applauds British smacking legislation

Media Statement
For immediate release
Monday, 17 January 2005

Smith applauds British smacking legislation

United Future's Murray Smith today applauded the intent of new British legislation that allows parents to use restrained physical discipline on their children.

Mr Smith, the proponent of a Member's Bill designed to " inject common sense, balance and detail into an area in which the debate has lacked all of the above", said it was important that the middle ground was found in the debate in New Zealand.

"We all abhor child abuse and there is no excuse for it, but to date there has been no common ground on which this important issue can be discussed - and that has created a field day for extremists," Mr Smith said.

"The British legislation, although not perfect, is an important step towards acknowledging that such discipline can be properly and reasonably administered."

He said that the issue had the potential to become an even bigger one in New Zealand given the social engineering track record of the Government.

"There is a huge tendency on the Government benches to want to intrude into the way New Zealanders live their lives and raise their families, and it's something Kiwis need to be on guard against," he said.

Mr Smith said his Bill was based on physical discipline of children - as the last resort, not the first.

"People know that there is a world of difference between appropriate, restrained, physical discipline of children and the violent acting out of anger and frustration."

Ends.


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