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Law Society Hijacks Smacking Debate

Media Release
21 April 2005

Law Society Hijacks Smacking Debate

New Zealand First family affairs spokesperson Barbara Stewart is concerned that the Law Society may have undue influence over smacking laws in our country.

This is in response to the Law Society entering the ongoing debate over section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961. The Society claims the provision causes confusion in the courts and can also lead to uncontrolled violence against children.

"The reason that the judiciary and legislature are separate in this country is so that no one arm of Government can abuse its powers," said Mrs Stewart.

"The Law Society of course has the democratic right to express their views, however it must not ostracise other New Zealanders from having their views heard by making it a litigious argument.

"My Crimes (Use of Force) Amendment Bill currently in the ballot maintains parents rights to use reasonable force to discipline their children but with specific provisions in place to make it legally clear what constitutes uncontrolled violence against children.

"If drawn from the ballot, this would allow the public to enter the smacking debate in an open and fair democratic manner," said Mrs Stewart.

Ends

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