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MPs encouraged to do what is right for children

Media Release

13 March 2007

Children’s Commissioner encourages MPs do what is right for children

Tomorrow, policians will debate and possibly vote on Green MP Sue Bradford’s Bill to remove the defence of justifiable support force when charged with assaulting a child. Children’s Commissioner, Dr Cindy Kiro, strongly supports repeal.

“Tomorrow’s debate gives parliamentarians a real chance to do the right thing by New Zealand’s children by supporting Sue Bradford’s Bill. The debates around section 59 repeal are now well rehearsed. We will soon know whether we truly have moral leadership willing to do what is right for children, rather than what is popular,” says Dr Kiro.

“I commend the NGOs such as Barnardos, EPOCH New Zealand, Plunket, Save the Children, UNICEF and the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges who have worked so tirelessly towards repeal. After all they are the ones who are at the frontline of child welfare and protection.”

“Many are watching what happens in New Zealand. We have a chance to show that we really care about children, and all of this hinges on our Parliament making the right call. It is not just the eyes of the nation watching us, but the eyes of the world. The Netherlands has just voted to ban corporal punishment of children. The United Kingdom is to review their legislation allowing defined ‘smacking’ in the next couple of years. In addition, Canada and Australia are looking closely at what we do in respect of this legislation. Let’s hope we don’t waver and that we really do what is right for children and ensure they have the same rights in law to be safe in their home, as well as in school and the community.”


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