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Plunket disappointed with announcement on smacking

MEDIA RELEASE

20 December 2001

Plunket disappointed with Government announcement on smacking

Although Plunket agrees with the Government that a critical part of addressing the issue of hitting children is through public education, it is disappointed with Government’s vague messages about legal reform.

Paul Baigent, chief executive, of the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society, says Plunket has discussed the issue thoroughly and, along with its Board, reached the decision some time ago that legal reform is a necessary part of changing society’s attitudes about hitting children.

“We don’t want to see parents prosecuted for the occasional lapse but I simply can’t believe that we cannot find ways of dealing with minor cases that come to notice without taking them to court. This seems to be the excuse being used to delay any action on legal reform,” said Mr Baigent.

“Plunket’s primary objectives all revolve around supporting parents to help them keep their children safe and well. Giving parents information about positively guiding their children’s behaviour is part of this. We certainly discourage physical punishment.

“It is time that New Zealand society faced up to putting children first and being bold about it.

“If Government was to commit to repeal in the near future, make the timeline for action explicit, and work with non government organisations (NGO’s) on associated education aspects, they would have Plunket’s full support,” said Mr Baigent.

Ends

Information from: Royal New Zealand Plunket Society Inc Contact: Paul Baigent, chief executive Telephone 04 471 0177 (business), 021 650 954 (mobile)

Issued by: Joanne Ruscoe Telephone 04 471 6252 (business); 04 479 2923 (home); 025 925 733 (mobile)

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