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Parents Centre supports the repeal of section 59

19 September 2002

Parents Centre votes to support the repeal of section 59 (Crimes Act)

At its jubilee conference Parents Centre delegates overwhelmingly supported a call to join the growing number of groups and individuals calling for the repeal of section fifty-nine of the Crimes Act. This section gives parents the right to use “reasonable force” on a child for corrective purposes.

Parents Centre Chief Executive, Sue Fitzmaurice was quick to point out, “The only thing section fifty-nine does is provide a legal defence for child abuse. It doesn’t help anyone become a better parent, it harbours bad practice. The current law does nothing to promote positive parenting – so as a society we have no use for it.”

One of the biggest concerns is that when this “tool” is removed from parents, something needs to be put in its place. Parents Centre hopes that the government will seize the initiative and realise that there is a lot of social capital to be gained from educating parents.

“Parents hold the key to the future. Giving them the skills to do a good job and the support the need to feel valued will be the seeds that we will reap in a generation. At the moment we are seeing a spate of kids right off the rails. How can we expect parents to do a better job of raising kids when they have no skills, no positive models, and society isn’t willing to step in and put that right?”

Parents Centre’s jubilee conference was attended by around 250 current and past members, including many founding members. Parents Centre has over 8,000 members and is New Zealand’s largest parenting education and support organisation.


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