Families Commission anti-smacking: head

Stuff.co.nz 12/05/2009

Families Commission head Jan Pryor is highlighting her organisation’s support of anti-smacking legislation after the Government appointed high-profile opponent Christine Rankin to the Crown agency. Ms Rankin was outspoken in her opposition to Green Party MP Sue Bradford’s member’s bill to remove the defence of reasonable force in child assault cases. The legislation was passed by Parliament in May 2007 with support which included both National and Labour. Ms Bradford, among others, was unhappy today with Ms Rankin’s appointment as one of seven Families Commissioners. Ms Rankin was spokeswoman of For The Sake Of Our Children Trust.

..Ms Pryor said she and other commissioners looked forward to hearing Ms Rankin’s views on reducing family violence. “The commission’s reasons for supporting the law have not changed,” she said in a statement. “We based our position on research which shows very clearly that positive parenting strategies (such as rewarding good behaviour and distracting young children and ignoring minor unwanted behaviour) are far more effective and safer than physical punishment.” Research also showed that most child abuse cases began as physical punishment.