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Politicians urged, families before unworkable law

Dave Crampton
for immediate release

Politicians urged to put families before unworkable law

When Parliament votes on whether to amend Section 59 of the Crimes Act tonight, MPs need to consider whether they want the bill to pass a third reading. If this does occur, Parliament will be passing a law banning all smacking - with the intention that it be ignored for light physical correction. That's because bill proponent Sue Bradford and all other MPs do not consider that the police should charge parents for light correction.

Since when has a law been progressed past the second reading or passed with the intention that it is not to be enforced in most cases?

Parliament was elected to pass good workable law. As the bill currently stands, it is not good, nor is it workable. Nor will it protect children from violence that is already against the law - any unreasonable violence such as bullying, child-beating and domestic violence.

Groups like the Childrens and Families Commissions who want to make a difference in children's lives need to understand the issues affecting families. They need to not only listen to the views of families but to do something about it.

But they refuse to in this case.

Although the Families Commission polls families on family violence, it has point-blank refused to poll families on whether they should have the option of physically disciplining their children, despite requests for it to do so. That is because families views on the matter are in conflict with several key staff in the Commission who are on a tax-payer funded agenda to ban smacking.

Yet eighty percent of New Zealanders would like to retain the legal option of lightly disciplining children without having to break the law in doing so - a law that politicians seem keen to pass, but to have broken at the same time. The bill is illogical.

Most Kiwis know the difference between smacking and child abuse. This bill will ban the former without doing anything for the latter. Its time that politicians listened to the people, rather than their whips.


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