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Smacking Poll – NZ’ers Don’t Want to ‘Move On’

26 MAY 2008

Smacking Poll – NZ’ers Don’t Want to ‘Move On’

More than half of our mums with young children flouting the law

A year after the passing of the controversial anti-smacking law, opposition to the law change is growing. These are the key finding of research commissioned by Family First NZ, following on from similar research in 2007. The poll surveyed 1,018 people and found continued overwhelming opposition to the new law.

Opposition to the anti-smacking law has increased from 62% last year to 73% now. Only 19% strongly or somewhat agreed with the new law despite the Police discretion clause (down from 29% in June 2007). Almost half of the survey (47%) strongly disagree with the ban on smacking.

85% said that the new law should be changed to state explicitly that parents who give their children a smack that is reasonable and for the purpose of correction are not breaking the law (up from 82% last year).

In a clear message to political parties seeking support for the upcoming election, when asked whether their support for a party would be affected if they promised to change the law, 37% said they would be more likely to vote for that party (up from 31% last year). The number of people whose vote would be unaffected by a policy to change the law decreased from 59% last year to 53% this year.
73% oppose the anti-smacking law (47% ‘strongly disagree’)
85% say the law should be changed
37% say they are more likely to vote for party that promises change to the law
More than half of mothers with children under 12 admit to flouting the law

Of most significance is the finding that almost half (48%) of parents with children under 12 openly admit that they have flouted the law and have given their child a smack to correct their behaviour. Over half of the mums polled (51%) confessed to continuing their use of smacking.

“This result is surprising, and a huge concern to us,” says Mr McCoskrie. “For a new law to be ignored by so many people who are willing to risk a police or CYF investigation indicates just how out of step with reality this law is.”

“NZ’ers have not been fooled by the claims of the anti-smacking lobby that smacking is child abuse, they haven’t been duped by arguments that children are damaged by reasonable smacking, and they have understood that our unacceptable rate of child abuse has far deeper root causes that a loving parent who corrects their child with a smack on the bottom.”

“Good parents have become victims of a badly drafted law.”

When asked whether they thought the new law was likely to help reduce the rate of child abuse in NZ, 79% responded that it was not at all likely (up from 77% last year).

As a result of these survey findings, Family First is calling on MPs to amend the Act, so that the law explicitly states that reasonable smacking for the purpose of correction is not a criminal act.

The poll was conducted during the week beginning May 12, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.
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