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Plunket welcomes great step for children

Media Release

21 February 2007

Plunket welcomes great step for children

Plunket welcomes the passage of the Bill to repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act through to the final stages of the second reading as great news for New Zealand children. However, Plunket is also urging MPs to ensure the final legislation is not undermined by unworkable amendments.

"Violence has no place in the family and no place in our society. Tonight's vote in Parliament is great news for New Zealand children, but it would be a terrible shame to come this far, and then throw everything away for the sake of a misguided compromise" says Plunket President, Kaye Crowther

'"Plunket has been working with children and families for 100 years, and today we visit over 90 per cent of all children born in New Zealand. We strive to ensure that all children have the best possible start in life and the right to live in a safe and secure environment, free from violence. Plunket is absolutely committed to this Bill because we know it is in the best interest of all children and New Zealand society."

"Family violence is a problem in this country. Legislation is not the complete solution by any means, but this Bill is a very positive step. The challenge now is for politicians, parents and communities to embrace further policies, education programmes and behaviour that drive positive parenting and eradicate family violence," says Mrs Crowther.

Plunket emphasised that the current Bill is the product of a huge amount of public debate and consultation.

"There has been some concern that the Bill may criminalise some good parents. That is simply not true. These issues have been well and truly dealt with by the select committee. Plunket is deeply involved in the community and communities throughout New Zealand have been telling us that change is urgently required.

"What is true is that this Bill will remove a statutory defence for the use of violence within families. What is also true is that this Bill sends out the only acceptable message - that violence against children has no part in our society.

"It would be a backwards step to introduce any amendments at the 3rd reading stage that sanction the use of violence or confuse the intent of the Bill. There is simply no defence for exposing children to violence of any kind." concludes Mrs Crowther.

Plunket will be working over the next three weeks urging MPs and the New Zealand public to ensure the current Bill passes its final reading in its current form.


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