Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More
Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Smacking report vindicates Greens’ call for change

2 June 2004

Smacking report vindicates Greens’ call for law change

Green MP Sue Bradford says new research confirming the negative effects on children of smacking completely vindicates her efforts to repeal a law that provides parents with a legal defence for physical punishment.

A newly released Otago University report says physical punishment can turn children into violent offenders, lower their IQ, lead to suicidal thoughts and is unlikely to teach them anything. Ms Bradford has a private members bill in the parliamentary ballot that would repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act, an initiative that is part of the Greens’ Every Child Matters policy package. “This new report now confirms the link between punishment and development and shows that ultimately society pays the price when parents smack their children,” said Ms Bradford, the Green Party Children’s Issues Spokesperson.

“I view these findings as ‘common sense’, not the oft-repeated claim that low-level physical punishment is somehow natural and reasonable.

“Section 59 creates a climate which allows a large section of the population to think that whacking kids is okay. I can’t understand why a Government struggling to deal with rampant violence in society is sitting on its hands on one of the key underlying causes. And I am sick and tired of CYFS copping all the blame, it is the adults around children who beat them and the legal defence via section 59 has to be removed.

“The Government should have the courage of its convictions and be leading the debate by introducing a Bill to repeal that clause in the law. It shouldn’t be left to the off chance that my private member’s bill will be drawn out of the ballot.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

“I applaud report author Professor Anne Smith for her statement that ‘nobody could say for certain where to draw the line between moderate and severe physical punishment.’ If the definition of that line continues to be left to the courts to interpret, abusers will keep getting away with claiming that what they were doing was either reasonable or a one-off over-reaction. The only safe, unambiguous line is one of zero tolerance of assault against any member of society.

“Superficial public opinion surveys may suggest wide opposition to repealing section 59, but that is surely not an entrenched viewpoint and hopefully this new report will go some way towards shifting attitudes.

“The Greens support well-funded parenting education, such as the newly launched SKIP, so all parents are made aware of the many alternatives to smacks. Frankly, whacking kids is often just lazy parenting, its time adults recognised the power they have over the most vulnerable members of society and not only showed self control themselves but condemned those around them that physically punish their kids,” said Ms Bradford.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Flaws In Anti-gang Laws


Google “Christopher Luxon“ and “mojo” and you get nearly 60,000 matching responses. Over the past 18 months – here and here and again, here – Luxon has claimed that New Zealanders have either lost their mojo and/or are in the process of re-finding it. With mojo in hand, New Zealanders will once more become a nation of over-achievers, blessed with the feisty Kiwi can-do spirit of yore.

But here’s the thing. According to Luxon, we’re naturally bold, inventive and self-reliant. Yet according to him, we’re also “wet, whiny and inward-looking”...
More


 
 


ACT: New Zealand Dodges Dopey Experiment In Prohibition

“Labour’s attempted crackdown on smokers would have delivered criminal groups a near-monopoly over the cigarette trade,” says ACT Health spokesman Todd Stephenson... More


Government: Backs Police To Crackdown On Gangs
The coalition Government is restoring law and order by providing police new tools to crack down on criminal gangs, says Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell. “Over the last five years gangs have recruited more than 3000 members, a 51 per cent increase... More


Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More


Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels


 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.