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Minister backs anti-smacking bill

20 February 2007

Minister backs anti-smacking bill

Youth Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta is adding her support for Green MP Sue Bradford's anti-smacking legislation, set to be voted on by Parliament tomorrow.

MPs will vote on the second reading of the bill, which has been amended by the select committee to allow parents to still use reasonable force in some circumstances, but not for the purpose of correction.

Nanaia Mahuta said while it was disappointing that the bill did not go as far as originally planned by completely removing reasonable force as a defence, it was a step in the right direction.

"We need to do more to ensure that we create a safer environment for our children and young people as they grow up, and this bill at least sends a signal that things must change." Nanaia Mahuta said. "There continues to be far too many instances of young people being abused, neglected or killed, and this cannot continue."

"This is why I will be voting in favour of the bill, and in support of key child welfare advocates such as the Office of the Children's Commissioner who have campaigned strongly for change.

"This change will not result in the 'criminalising' of parents as opponents of this bill fear, as Police will still have the ability to exercise their discretion and common sense when investigating allegations of potential abuse.

"Children and young people are essential members of our families and communities, and deserve to enjoy the same rights as everyone else to live free from abuse and all forms of violence," Nanaia Mahuta said.

ENDS

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