NZPA 08 February 2009
Lobby group Family First has placed advertisements in all three Sunday newspapers calling for the repeal of the “anti-smacking law”. The advertisement described four cases where parents were investigated by Child, Youth and Family following the repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act, which removed the defence of reasonable force for parents who physically punish their children. A late amendment to the law added the proviso that police had the discretion not to prosecute complaints against a parent where the offence was considered to be inconsequential. The cases referred to CYF included two where parents admitted smacking their children as a last resort and one where CYF investigated when her child told a friend’s mother he had been smacked. The fourth involved a child complainant who was found to have been angry with her mother for being grounded.
“The tragedy is that families are seeking help in their role as parents but as soon as they acknowledge that they smack or have smacked, they are immediately being referred to CYF and their children are being removed,” Family First director Bob McCoskrie said. CYF eventually closed the investigation in all four cases, the advertisements say. A fifth example described a case where a woman was suspended by a community centre for what Family First says was a tap on the back of the hand. She was eventually reinstated after the employer dropped the case after her lawyer intervened.
Mr McCoskrie called for the repeal of the law, saying it was penalising good parents while not tackling the real causes of child abuse.