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Four out of five parents could become crims

Judith Collins National Party Families Spokeswoman

27 January 2006

Four out of five parents could become crims

National's Families spokeswoman, Judith Collins, says 80 per cent of Kiwi parents could find themselves in trouble with the law if section 59 of the Crimes Act is repealed, as proposed by the Green Party and supported by Helen Clark.

She is commenting on an Otago University study which revealed that eight out of ten Kiwi children received some form of physical punishment during childhood.

"Strictly speaking, this could mean that as many as four out of every five Kiwi parents could be hauled before the courts.

"In August last year the Office of the Police Commissioner confirmed that repealing section 59 would make smacking illegal."

A letter from the legal services department of the Office of the Police Commissioner said: 'If section 59 was repealed in its entirety parents would not be authorised to use reasonable force by way of correction ... smacking of a child by way of corrective action would be an assault.'

The Otago University study reported that 6 per cent of respondents suffered extreme physical punishment as children.

"It is that 6 per cent we should be targeting. The focus should be on stopping child abusers, not on criminalising good parents trying to bring up their children," says Ms Collins.


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