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Parenting group supports repeal.

Parenting group supports repeal.

“We have set the bar so low for parents that they need a spade to find it,” is how lobby group, Parent.org described Section 59 of the Crimes Act to the Justice and Electoral Reform Select Committee yesterday.

The group's chair, Steve Gore explained, “If you look through legislation for any guidance for our nation's parents section 59 is the only solid item you will find and what that says to the world is that we care so little about the quality of our parents that we allow them to use on their children a practice that we imprison others for. We should be embarrassed to have such a demeaning piece of legislation and we would be better off without it.”

Parent.org wants the legislation repealed as a first step in creating an environment that makes parenting more valued and easier.

The group spent much of its submission describing how the parenting environment was the exact opposite of business, sports, the arts and culture. In those environments heroes are found and celebrated, leaders are looked to for guidance, skills and knowledge is valued and treated as an investment. In parenting it is the opposite.

“The media only ever shows us parenting villains. We have no ready access to skills and knowledge unless we are demonstrably failing, and while around half of Cabinet is dedicated to supporting business success, there is not one single minister specifically charged with looking after the interests of the nation's parents. We make failing too easy for parents and succeeding too hard, and when parents fail the consequences affect us all. It is no wonder we need the five new prisons we have built and 1000 new police. ”

If we gave parents an environment that was flush with resources and encouraged them to become skilled and knowledgeable what amazing children they would raise, and what an incredible society and economy those children would build.

“It is not about government telling parents how to raise children, but government giving parents an environment that enables them to be the best parent they can be.”

Mr. Gore described some groups concern over the possible widespread prosecution of parents as fanciful.

“If they forgot to put Section 59 in the act when they wrote it in 1961, do you think society would be any different?” suggested Mr. Gore. He pointed to rugby as a test case for that issue.

“Rugby has no exclusion from the Crimes Act and by legal standards a game of rugby is eighty minutes of rolling assault. We should expect police and other government agencies to comply with public expectations in prosecution of parents as they do with rugby – ignore the inconsequential and punish the excessive.”

“The one good thing that this debate is producing is discussion about how we raise children – we don't do that enough in this country.”

Parent.org can be found at the website www.parent.org.nz


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