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Protecting kids worth celebrating

21 June 2009

Second birthday of s59 amendment to help protect kids from violence worth celebrating

Today New Zealand celebrates two years of positive change for children since the law changed to give children the same legal protection from assault as adults.

New Zealanders should be proud of the progress made in positive child rearing practices with a clear message getting through that the use of force for correction is never justified, said Green Party MPs Sue Bradford and Metiria Turei. 

The pair are heartened to celebrate two years of a safer world for our children and young people.

The 2007 amendment removed a legal defence that saw parents who had beaten their children claim a defence of ‘reasonable force’ and escape criminal convictions.

Ms Bradford said the law change is her most significant achievement as an MP, but she cannot take all the credit.

“I’m conscious that it’s a major social reform only brought about through the dedicated work of many individuals, community and church organisations – and MPs.

“But none of us can rest on our laurels.

“It is important now to continue to progress from this positive move and to ensure that the law continues to afford children the greatest possible protection.” 

All the evidence so far – including three police reviews - shows the new law is working well. An array of Non-Governmental Organisations - such as Plunket, Barnados, Save the Children, Unicef, Jigsaw, Women’s Refuge and Parents Centre – have joined forces to promote the YesVote campaign, said Green Party Co-Leader Metiria Turei.

“Our MPs will vote ‘Yes’ in the coming referendum despite the confused and ambiguous question. We recognise that the referendum is a misguided attempt to return our law to the 19th century. On this two year anniversary, we celebrate how far our country has moved to create a safer world for children and young people.”

The young people of New Zealand will look back on the law change as a pivotal seachange in our country’s culture, Mrs Turei said.

“I’m proud of the work our party has done, and the achievements we’ve made with that law change. I’m proud of the work of Sue Bradford, in leading that change for the Green Party and for the community. Our kids will, in time, recognise the importance of this law change too.”

* To access audio grabs of Mrs Turei’s and Ms Bradford’s comments, go to www.greens.org.nz/node/
* For information and resources go to www.yesvote.org.nz

ends

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