A Labour u-turn on anti-smacking law?

TVNZ Sunday April 12, 2009

The Labour Party appears to have made a u-turn on the controversial anti-smacking policy. On TVNZ’s Q+A program on Sunday, Opposition leader Phil Goff said smacking in a disciplinary context should not be prosecuted. This comes as the party looks to re-brand itself after the election loss and the loss of some very experienced old hands.

…When Paul Holmes asked if a smack, as part of good parental correction, should be a criminal offence in New Zealand, Goff said: “The answer to that is, no, it shouldn’t be a criminal offence, or we should not have people following up for a smack in that context.” ONE News wanted to know if that meant Labour would support a revoking of the controversial anti-smacking law. But when asked what the Labour Party now stands for, Goff said the same values Labours always had.


UPDATE: Goff denies smacking reversal
NZ Herald 13 April 2009
Labour leader Phil Goff says the anti-smacking law does not need to be amended or revoked. Mr Goff caused confusion this morning when he was asked on TV One’s Q and A programme whether he thought a smack should be allowed as part of good parental correction. “Well my answer to that is no, it shouldn’t be a criminal offence or we should not have people following up and prosecuting parents for a smack in that context, but remember 110 out of 122 MPs voted for that legislation including every member of the National Party.”

That response sparked Family First, who oppose the law, to put out a statement welcoming the apparent u-turn. Act MP John Boscawen has drafted a member’s bill to allow parents to use a light smack to correct their children and Family First director Bob McCoskrie said Labour should now back the Act MP’s bill. But Mr Goff said neither his position nor Labour’s policy had changed. Labour supported Green MP Sue Bradford’s bill to remove the statutory defence of “reasonable force” to correct a child, meaning there would be no justification for the use of force for that purpose.