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Fixing smacking law Family Party priority

29 Sept 08

Fixing smacking law Family Party priority

Fixing the flawed smacking law was amongst the Top 10 Policy priorities released by the Family Party on Saturday.

The party aims to reinstate Section 59 of the Crimes Act to afford parents who responsibly smack their children protection from criminal liability.

The timing coincides with yet another poll that demonstrates strong public sentiment against the government's smacking law. The NZ Herald question asked, "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?" 86% said No: 9% said yes: 5% were unsure.

The Family Party message was again emphasised by party leader Richard Lewis at a debate in Manurewa last night.

"The Family Party strongly opposed this change in legislation that has exposed decent law abiding parents to criminal liability. And it is our goal to fix it by reinstating Section 59 because as the vast majority of New Zealanders know, there is a world of difference between a responsible smack and the bash," said Mr Lewis.

A former South Auckland police sergeant, Mr Lewis says the law is unfair on the police.

"Proponents of this flawed law argue that giving police discretion is the safety mechanism to ensure parents aren't unreasonably charged when allegations against them are made. I don't think a 22-year-old police officer who doesn't have kids should be judge and jury in such cases. The government has put the police in an unfair position and again, has passed a law that has appeal in theory but no practical relevance on the ground whatsoever," he added.

The party released their policy priorities at their pre-election conference on Saturday at the Metro Theatre in Mangere.

For more information visit www.familyparty.org.nz

ENDS

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