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Bad Law Doing Harm

“The police investigation into Michael Laws after an allegation of assault against his son proves the anti-smacking legislation completely misses the point,” says Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig.

"During the five year police review period eight parents have been prosecuted for smacking their children. Smacking is defined by this review as a slap with the open hand on the buttock or leg that doesn’t result in any injury. These are eight parents that are now criminals, because they smacked their children."

In 2008 John Key said: "If I see good parents getting criminalised for lightly smacking their children for the purposes of discipline, I’m going to change the law if I’m in a position to do so. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter if there’s a referendum or not. I want the law to work properly.”

“The law is not working properly,” says Mr Craig, “and I look forward to the Prime Minister keeping his promise, by changing the law after the election this year”.

“There are children in this country that are beaten black and blue and put in hospital. There are children in this country that are horrendously abused and neglected. There are children in this country that are suffering at the hands of abusers, and yet this law has got the country squabbling over good parents, and reasonable discipline. On average two innocent families each week are investigated by the police for smacking. This is an abhorrent waste, and a misdirection of resources,” Mr Craig says.

“There has now been sufficient time to assess the impact of the anti-smacking law and it is very clear that the 87% of referendum voters who wanted the law gone, were right. In the 5 years since the anti-smacking law was passed, child abuse has increased 32%. Contrast this with Australia, who made sensible law changes clarifying that a light smack was OK, who have (in the same time period) decreased child abuse by 11%.

“The anti-smacking law has contributed towards the increase in child abuse,” says Mr Craig, “It has taken the focus off the abusers, and targeted good mums and dads who are simply trying to raise decent children.”

“The real question is, if instead of a detrimental anti smacking law, we had spent the same time and energy targeting child abusers, what could we have achieved?”

“The anti-smacking law is bad legislation producing bad outcomes. The Conservative Party looks forward to being in a position to seeing this law changed after this year’s election.”


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