Smacking Referendum – The Spin Begins

NZ Herald Nov 14, 2008
The Children’s Commissioner says most people support law changes that give children the same protection from assault as adults. The commission today released the results of a survey which concluded that 43 per cent of those surveyed who knew of the law change supported it. “Only 28 per cent were opposed to the law change. The remainder were neutral,” Commissioner Cindy Kiro said.

..But lobby group Family First NZ said the survey showed nothing new. It said only 20 per cent of those surveyed disagreed with smacking in certain circumstances. “This is consistent with all other polls done throughout the year including research commissioned by Family First – that there is an 80 per cent opposition to the anti-smacking law because most people know that smacking for the purpose of correction is not child abuse,” Family First New Zealand national director Bob McCoskrie said.

The 43 per cent support for the law change would include a large number of people who are optimistic about the police discretion clause introduced at the 11th hour, he said. However, Family First was concerned that only 80 per cent said that children should be protected from assault. “This figure should be 100 per cent. But the Children’s Commissioner has simply caused confusion by misrepresenting the effect of the law and the difference between assault and a light smack. “This is yet more wasted government funding on information that has told us nothing new, done by an office trying to justify its existence.” Family First was calling for the Families Commission and Children’s Commission to be replaced by a Minister of Families in Cabinet.