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Key Must Commit to Protecting Good Families

MEDIA RELEASE
22 November 2007

Key Must Commit to Protecting Good Families From Bad Smacking Law

Family First NZ is calling on National leader John Key to commit to changing the anti-smacking law after a father was the first parent convicted of assault for smacking his 8-year old on the bottom.

“John Key said that the law should not criminalise good parents for lightly smacking their children,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “Here we have a young family, an expectant mother, a father attempting to do his very best, and a law which treats him as a criminal rather than a system that offers the support, encouragement and resources they may need.”

“While community organisations working with at-risk families and Plunket are driven to their knees because of a lack of adequate funding, there seems to be no shortage of resources in investigating good parents who use a light smack.”

Family First has highlighted five cases already where CYF and Police have conducted intensive investigations of families simply because of supposed ‘abuse’, including a grandmother interviewed by police for smacking a swearing granddaughter in a Warehouse store, three police appearing on the doorstep of a home where a 2 year old was having a bedtime tantrum, and a mother dobbed into CYF by the local school.

There are similar cases being notified to Family First NZ on a weekly basis.

“And many parents are confirming that children are telling them “you can’t touch me or I’ll tell the police’”

“We are creating a ‘paranoid parenting’ environment,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“This case has confirmed kiwi parents’ worst nightmare. This law will target good parents while child abuse continues at the same rate, and the real causes of family breakdown and stress, drug and alcohol abuse, poverty and other significant issues are ignored.”

“The predictions made by the many community groups and 83% of NZ’ers opposing this law have, unfortunately, proved true.”

ENDS

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