29 February 2008
More than 600,000 signatures will be delivered to Parliament today claiming that the anti-smacking law is unreasonable and has been forced through against the will of NZ parents and their families.
There are two petitions which required 285,000 signatures each, yet the anti-smacking petition alone has received approximately 330,000 signatures - well over the targeted amount.
"That's how strong the feeling is on this issue," says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. "NZ mums, dads, grandparents and families simply want policies and resources to tackle our unacceptable rate of child abuse in NZ. But they also know that a parent correcting a child with a smack on the hand or bottom is not child abuse, and their actions should not be criminalised."
"If kiwis can figure that out, why can't the politicians?" says Mr McCoskrie. "NZ'ers are not 'moving on'. They are refusing to lie down on this issue."
When Green Party MP Sue Kedgley presented a 39,000 signature petition last year calling for mandatory country of origin labelling on foods, and when United Future's Peter Dunne presented a 42,000 signature petition last year calling on daylight saving to be extended by 3 weeks, they both said that the government must listen to the voice of the people.
"These two petitions today each have almost four times the number of signatures of Kedgley and Dunne's petitions combined."
"In response to Families Commission research earlier this month that found that 2/3'rds of parents say that the government doesn't respect their role, they are going to spend almost $1m to tell parents that they do respect them," says Mr McCoskrie.
"Families don't want an advertising campaign. They want a law change."