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Green MP to speak at S59 book launch tonight

19 February 2008

Green MP to speak at S59 book launch tonight

Green Party Spokesperson for Children's Issues, Sue Bradford, will speak tonight at the launch of the book 'Unreasonable Force', a history of the campaign to end legalised physical punishment of children in New Zealand.

The launch takes place 6.00pm - 7.30pm Tuesday 19th February at the Loaves and Fishes cafe, next to St Paul's Cathedral, Wellington.

"The ongoing campaign to overturn last year's law change on Section 59 makes the book launch tonight especially relevant," Ms Bradford says.

"If Larry Baldock and other people leading the push for a referendum on child discipline achieve their goal of 300,000 or more legitimate signatures, it will be really important that the public is well informed about everything that has happened already.

"People will need to understand why so many New Zealanders believe that the least effective and most damaging way to bring up our children is with physical force.

"Advocates for the physical punishment of children have been using cases like the recent so called 'ear flicking' incident in Christchurch as examples of why the law should be changed back, yet now the man involved is before the court charged with assault on both his children.

"Last Friday, Barbara Bishop was sentenced to nine months jail for her part in an assault on her son, still claiming that it was her right as a 'good parent' to discipline her children. This is a woman who had been used over and over again in the campaign against the Section 59 bill as evidence that the law didn't need changing.

"I had not expected a serious campaign to overturn last year's amendment to Section 59 of the Crimes Act to be part of the election year, but now we have at least one political party, ACT, who seems prepared to go to the polls on a platform of re-legalising the hitting of children," Ms Bradford says.

"I therefore welcome the launch of 'Unreasonable Force', as I believe this book will play a key role in helping inform media, public and politicians about the true story behind reform of our child discipline laws, at a time when this issue remains high on the political agenda."


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