Family First NZ is questioning why a government sponsored survey of obesity rates and related issues of exercise, tv watching, nutrition, fast food and drinking patterns has included a question on smacking.
“Either the government believes that obesity and smacking are linked, or they are trying to throw a positive spin on the highly unpopular smacking law,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “Both ideas are preposterous.”
“Does the government believe that only obese parents use smacking as a form of correction, or do they believe that if a child is smacked, they will be obese in later life? If that was the case, our current generation of grandparents who were raised before the anti-smacking crusade would be the most obese of all NZ’ers – which of course they are not.”
“What this survey shows is a cynical attempt by the government to try and tackle the increasing opposition to the highly unpopular anti-smacking law,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“The research has already been done – a 2006 Otago University study found that children who were smacked in a reasonable way had similar or slightly better outcomes in terms of aggression, substance abuse, adult convictions and school achievement than those who were not smacked at all. And a Christchurch study by Professor Fergusson found no difference between no smacking and moderate physical punishment. They even said “It is misleading to imply that occasional or mild physical punishment has long term adverse consequences.”
“No mention of obesity!” says Mr McCoskrie.
“There are two facts that should be linked however – 85%, and those who want the anti-smacking law changed. That’s the statistic that the government should be taking notice of,” says Mr McCoskrie.