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Alliance Party backs Sue Bradford's bill

Alliance Party media release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday 30 March 2007

Alliance Party backs Sue Bradford's bill to stop violence against children

The Alliance Party supports Sue Bradford’s bill to repeal section 59 of the Crimes Act and make it illegal to hit children.

Alliance Social Services spokesperson Gail Marmont says promoting positive parenting is the key to reducing child abuse and family violence.

"Rewarding good behaviour has long been proven to be a far more effective way of teaching children the skills they need to keep themselves safe and be good citizens."

She says many parents successfully raise their children without resorting to violence and there are good programmes available to teach parents the skills they need to bring up their children in a violence free household.

"There is a heap of misinformation being spread about this bill."

She says that unlike the right wing fundamentalists and conservatives who are against reform, the Alliance has real policies to support families, based around practical support such as parental education, a shorter working week with no loss of pay, and affordable housing.

Ms Marmont says the enormous pressures on families leading to violence are often caused by the free market economic and social system we live in.

She says long working hours and shift work, insecure jobs, family debt, skyrocketing house prices and the "24 hour, 7 day" economy are all major disruptive influences on the New Zealand family of today.

Ms Marmont says Sue Bradford’s bill makes it clear to everyone that hitting children is as unacceptable as hitting adults.

She says it was not much more than century ago that it was legal for a man to beat his wife, which now seemed barbaric.

"Repealing section 59 would stop child beaters getting away on technicalities as is happening now and would make a strong statement that we are serious about stopping family violence."

She says that one voice is being ignored in the current debate, that of the many children living in dangerous and violent households in New Zealand right at this very moment.

Ms Marmont says one of the most disturbing things about the current debate is that MPs like Sue Bradford and Katherine Rich have been threatened for their stand.


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