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Clark wrong on smacking ban claim

Judith Collins MP
National Party Families Spokeswoman

15 February 2006

Clark wrong on smacking ban claim

National Party Families spokeswoman Judith Collins says Helen Clark is flying in the face of legal opinion with her claim today that repeal of Section 59 does not amount to a ‘smacking ban’.

“Helen Clark’s mistakenly claimed today that repeal of the reasonable force defence has been ‘crudely and wrongly represented in the media’ as a ban on smacking.

“She is wrong.

“The Office of the Police Commissioner has confirmed that smacking would be illegal if Section 59 is repealed.”

A letter from the legal services department of the Office of the Police Commissioner says: ‘If section 59 was repealed in its entirety parents would not be authorised to use reasonable force by way of correction…smacking of a child by way of corrective action would be an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

“Yet again Helen Clark finds herself at odds with the police.

“National favours an amendment to better define reasonable force rather than a complete repeal which, as the police have confirmed, would make criminals out of many honest parents.

“If Helen Clark was serious about looking after children and families, she would have prodded Steve Maharey into action over the long forgotten Agenda for Children.

“The document (released in June 2002) included clauses that said the ‘whole child’ approach will be founded in part on the ‘Treaty of Waitangi’. And by the middle of last year it had all but fallen off Labour’s agenda.

“CYF also remains a sore point for the Government. Despite the millions of taxpayer dollars channeled into the Department, it continues to lurch from one botch-up to the next.

“New Zealand kids need real action, not more rhetoric,” says Ms Collins.


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