A year 8 student from Viscount Learning Community in Mangere, South Auckland has written to the Maori party requesting that the Maori party vote against the ‘anti-smacking’ bill and support the alternative amendment of MP Chester Borrow’s.
The student consulted with both Maori and Pacific Island students in the school by running a meeting and surveying the senior classes in the school. Out of 188 students in years 6 – 8, they found only four students in support of a ban on smacking. The letter was formulated with the assistance of other students in the class.
The anti-smacking issue is part of the students’ Inquiry Learning. The students are empowered to have a voice in their school, community, country, and world.
In the letter sent to the Maori party opposing their support of the bill, the students say that the media has highlighted the worst case scenarios of smacking which is not balanced with good parents who use smacking as a form of discipline.
The letter also says:
“We as children believe that a light smack done with our future in mind will benefit us in the future. If you vote for Sue Bradford our parent’s rights and our rights will be taken away.
We do believe that there are parents who use excessive force. This is where the government can use education as a tool to help these few parents who are being hyped in the media as bad parents and bad people.
We feel that Instead of putting a plaster on the boil the government should focus on squeezing the head out which means dealing with the real issues which are the breakdown in families, dysfunctions, substance abuse poverty and stress. This anti-smacking bill is side stepping those issues.”
The Pacific Island students are also concerned that their parents, who accept the use of appropriate physical punishment culturally, will be targeted with complaints made by their own children, social workers, or members of the public.
The letter was also sent to MP Taito Phillip Field.