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Amendment To Fix Broken Anti-Smacking Law

Amendment To Fix Broken Anti-Smacking Law

Immediate Release: Thursday March 19, 2009

ACT New Zealand MP John Boscawen today announced that he will introduce a Private Member's Bill to amend the controversial Anti-Smacking law inflicted on New Zealanders by Labour and the Greens in 2007.

"My announcement coincides with yesterday's release of a poll that shows widespread support for the law to be altered," Mr Boscawen said.

"This poll, commissioned by Family First NZ and conducted by Curia Market Research, surveyed the views of 1,000 everyday New Zealanders - 83 percent of whom felt the law should be changed, with a total 77 percent of respondents believing the law would not help reduce our child abuse rates.

"While addressing the concerns of those who felt that the original section 59 of the Crimes Act was too vague, my amendment to the law will protect from criminalisation those parents who use a light smack for the purpose of correction.

"The amendment will change the Act so that: it is no longer a crime for parents or guardians to use reasonable force to correct children; there are clear statutory limits on what constitutes reasonable force; parents and guardians have certainty about what the law permits; it is no longer reliant on police discretion for the law to be practical and workable.

"In an attempt to curb child abuse, this law has simply criminalised law-abiding parents and removed their freedom to decide how best to raise their children - something that ACT has consistently opposed.

"The Labour we know best' Government is out and National is now in. Perhaps we will now begin to see an end to the madness of the past nine years - where politicians saw fit to tell New Zealanders how to live their lives," Mr Boscawen said.

ENDS

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