Parliamentary committee backs bill to stop smacking

NZ Herald 20 Nov 06
Parents will be able to use “reasonable force” to control their children but will be banned from smacking under amended legislation to be debated by Parliament. Green Party MP Sue Bradford drafted the bill to ban smacking and it still does that, but a parliamentary committee wants to ensure parents are not breaking the law when they protect children from harm, or stop them harming others.
The member’s bill originally sought the simple repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act, which allows reasonable force to be used to discipline children. That repeal still stands, and the bill in its new form would outlaw any form of violence as a means of disciplining a child.
The committee recommends that the current section 59 be replaced with a new one, which clarifies that reasonable force may be used for other purposes such as protecting a child from harm, providing normal daily care and preventing a child from harming others.
Family First, a strong opponent of the bill, said if Section 59 was repealed good parents would be treated as criminals. “Parents in New Zealand should be horrified by the way their authority and responsibilities are being undermined,” said national director Bob McCroskie.