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Celebrate kids by banning abuse - Greens


25 October 2002

MIDNIGHT FRIDAY

Celebrate kids by banning abuse - Greens

Green MP Metiria Turei today called on New Zealanders to celebrate National Children's Day (this Sunday) by supporting the repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act that allows parents to hit their children with the likes of pieces of wood or pipe.

"As the only party in this parliament with firm policy to repeal Section 59 we are urging New Zealanders, and the political parties in parliament, to mark this day by supporting a simple law change that would protect our most vulnerable and precious people," said Mrs Turei.

Section 59 of the Crimes Act allows a parent of a child, or a person in the place of a parent, to use force against the child if 'the force used is reasonable in the circumstances'.

"Currently is up to a jury to decide if the force used was reasonable. This was interpreted by a jury in Napier last year to mean that it was reasonable for a father to hit his eight year old son eight times with a piece of wood 30cm by 2cm - leaving bruising visible for days.

"Also last year a jury in Hamilton considered it reasonable for a father to hit his 12 year old daughter with a piece of hosepipe, leaving a raised 15cm-long lump with red edges on the girl's back," said Mrs Turei.

"Repealing section 59 would not remove parents rights to discipline their children but would set very clear guidelines for parents about the limits of physical discipline and give our children the protection they deserve.

"How can we continue to justify a law which allows a naughty child to be beaten with a piece of wood when such a beating is unlawful against the most violent criminal offenders?" she asked.

"Section 59 of the Crimes Act is outdated and dangerous law. The Greens are committed to its demise. On this day for celebrating the wonder and beauty of our children we call on the people of New Zealand to support us in this," said Mrs Turei.

ENDS

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