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Referendum - MP’s Avoiding Real Issues

Embargoed until 1.30pm Thursday 22 February 2007

22 February 2007

Referendum Expresses Frustration at MP’s Avoiding the Real Issues

Family First is supporting the Citizens Initiated Referendums announced today calling on the Government to give urgent priority to understanding and addressing the wider causes of family breakdown, family violence and child abuse in NZ.

“These petitions to force a Referendum on the issue of child abuse are simply an expression of the frustration felt by the huge majority of NZ’ers who want to tackle the real causes of child and domestic abuse without MP’s penalising good parents who are raising law abiding children with appropriate love and correction,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The weight of public opinion is quite firmly against Sue Bradford’s ban on smacking,” says Mr McCoskrie. “The law already does not allow assault or violence against children – simple as that.”

“If, as Ms Bradford says, she does not want parents criminalised for light smacks, then she should have no problem supporting Chester Borrow’s amendment which outlaws anything greater than a light smack.”

These CIR’s will call on the government to tackle our unacceptably high rate of child and domestic abuse by tackling the real issues of family breakdown, substance abuse, and poverty and stress –factors consistently identified by UNICEF reports, CYF reports and national and international research.

“It is quite clear to NZ’ers that a child is far more at risk in a home where there is alcohol abuse, drug use, stress associated with poverty, or mum’s live-in boyfriend than a child who receives a smack on the bottom from a loving parent,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“That’s the common sense message that politicians supporting this bill need to hear.”

Banning smacking is simply evidence of a failure to tackle the real causes of child abuse.


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