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Most parents agree: non-violence is the best way

4th June 2008

Most parents agree: non-violence is the best way

Green Party MP Sue Bradford welcomed news this morning that the New Zealand Health Survey has found physical punishment is one of the least used methods of child discipline.

"I am very heartened by results which show that only one in 10 children had experienced physical discipline in the four weeks prior to polling.

"On top of this, only one in three caregivers who had used physical punishment in the previous four weeks considered it to be effective.

"These Health Survey results show that far fewer people use physical discipline - or believe it is effective - than what we are encouraged to believe by groups who support a return to legalised assault on children.

"This survey of 17,000 people is far more substantive and scientific than the polls produced by groups like Family First, who in their most recent poll surveyed only 1000 people.

"Their poll, released in late May, concluded that 48 percent of parents were still using physical punishment," Ms Bradford says.

"However, that poll was carried out by Curia Market Research, owned by David Farrar who has consistently opposed my original private member's bill. Curia itself was reported as saying it will 'work closely with our clients to ensure the questions asked will be of maximum benefit provide meaningful results'.

"While it is sad that any babies and children are still being subjected to physical discipline, and that young Maori and Pacific boys are most likely to experience it, this survey shows that most parents and caregivers understand that other methods are more effective than any amount of smacking, spanking or whacking.

"When the whole country is up in arms over the violent deaths of babies and children, I hope that groups which have opposed the Section 59 legislation will realise that it is time to move on from the argument over physical discipline, and recognise a new era where the priority must be to end the culture of violence against children which is sadly still so prevalent in some families."


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