In a stunning turnaround, Green MP Sue Bradford has told parents that smacking is not a criminal offence and implied that groups like Barnardos, Plunket, Every Child Counts and politicians who have said that the aim of the law was to ban parents physically punishing their children are misleading the public.
In a media release from the Green party today, Bradford says ‘smacking has never been a criminal offence, and still isn’t.’
Yet only last year, she told Newstalk ZB ‘it is already illegal to smack children but her bill removes a defence of reasonable force for the purpose of correction.’
And in the original 2003 media release from the Green party launching her amendment to section 59, it is entitled “Greens draw up their own anti-smacking bill” http://www.greens.org.nz/node/12844
“Sue Bradford is confused by her own law,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ, “and is misrepresenting the real effect and purpose of the anti-smacking law. She believes smacking is assault, yet more than 80% of NZ’ers continue to disagree.”
“Otherwise, we can only conclude that she is telling parents to carry on smacking and if investigated by police or CYF, parents should tell them that they don’t understand the law and to get lost. Yet parents are getting referred to CYF and the police by schools, neighbours, social workers, even their own kids, for light smacking.”
“If the politicians who designed the law are confused, where does that put parents who are simply trying to raise good kids without breaking the law,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Family First NZ continues to call on the politicians to change the law so that it clearly states that non-abusive smacking is not a crime (as wanted by 86% of NZ’ers according to today’s NZ Herald poll), and to then tackle the real causes of child abuse.