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Dyson on Collins' smacking ban claim

15 February 2006

Dyson on Collins' smacking ban claim

Child, Youth and Family Minister Ruth Dyson says National's Judith Collins should do New Zealand families a favour and make a positive contribution to their well-being instead of mindlessly raising anxiety for parents.

Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 states that the parents of a child, or a person in place of a parent are 'justified in using force by way of correction towards a child if that force is reasonable in the circumstances.'

Currently this means children are at a disadvantage legally in comparison to adults so far as the use of force is concerned. The intent of the repeal of the section is to remove a legal defence for adults who physically assault children in their care.

"Section 59 is a defence after a person has been charged with assault. The police have to charge a parent with assaulting their child.

"The police would not be interfering in family life in the way that Judith Collins claims in her statement.

"I credit the New Zealand police with far more sense than she does!

"Selective use of information is lazy and discrediting. Mrs Collins should do her homework and offer New Zealand families the support they deserve," said Ms Dyson.

ENDS

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