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Family First gets it wrong again on S59

13 September 2006

Family First gets it wrong again on S59

"I have made no backdown on the repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act, and working constructively with other MPs on bills is a normal part of select committee life under MMP," Green Party Social Development Spokesperson Sue Bradford says.

Ms Bradford was commenting on a press release by the Family First lobby group that welcomed an alleged back-down by her on the proposed amendment.

"There has been no back-down from the full repeal of Section 59. I am happy to work with other MPs on the wording of the Bill if this can result in making it clear that parents will not be subject to prosecution if they should restrain their child in a reasonable way for such purposes as - for example - placing a child into a room for time out, stopping the child from hurting other people or from damaging property, or helping to keep the child safe from danger.

"It has never been my intention - and judging by their comments, it has never been the Police's intention either -to prosecute parents for taking reasonable actions of this sort.

"This has not stopped the likes of Family First from spending a great deal of energy on devising highly imaginary and contorted scenarios about how my proposed legislation might theoretically impact on parents' rights. I wish they would put a tenth of that energy into considering how the current Section 59 legislation leaves children at risk from violent parents.

" I know that raising kids is a tough job for parents. I don't want to make it harder for them, with this law. At the same time, I remain absolutely committed to changing a law that, in its current state, allows a legal defence for parents who assault their children, when no such defence exists when we assault other adults, or animals, " Ms Bradford says.


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