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25 August, 2006

Congratulations Auckland City Council

News that Auckland City Council has voted to support repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act highlights the role that local government can play in supporting political decisions in the interests of children and families, says He Mana to ia Tamaiti/ Every Child Counts.*

“Getting policies right for children and families is not just the responsibility of central government, but of local government and communities too. We need all sectors to demonstrate leadership in the interests of children and place children at the centre of their policy decisions,” said Every Child Counts spokesperson, Dr Ian Hassall.

“Repealing section 59 would not place ordinary parents in jeopardy, but would remove a legal defence that has been used successfully by parents charged with assault that most New Zealanders would recognise as abuse. It would support community and government efforts aimed at reducing violence against children and is an important step in making New Zealand a safer place for children.

“We congratulate Auckland City Council for its support of section 59 repeal. Political leadership of this kind is precisely what we need as Parliament considers the future of the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill. The Bill presents an opportunity for MPs of all parties to take a stand in support of the interests of children and against child abuse.

“Cabinet papers and recent correspondence from the Police show that any fears that parents would be unnecessarily criminalised following repeal of section 59 are unfounded. We can have confidence that repealing section 59 is a positive move in support of a less violent society,” concluded Dr Hassall.

ENDS

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