Children outsmart law on smacking

NZ Herald Jul 15, 2009

Parents are telling truancy officers that they don’t know how to make their children go to school because they can no longer smack them. Manukau truancy officer Therese Luxton yesterday told a forum on next month’s smacking referendum that there were not enough education programmes to teach parents alternative disciplinary techniques. “I work with high Maori and Pacific populations in decile 1 [the poorest] communities,” she said. “The majority are incredibly good people. They love their kids dearly. Surprisingly, they are the ones who have taken this anti-smacking law to heart. They all say to me, ‘Before I could have hit my kid, now I don’t know how to teach them any more.”‘

The forum was one of the first public meetings about the postal referendum starting on July 31 which will ask the question, “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” Family First lobbyist Bob McCoskrie, who helped to gather more than 300,000 signatures on a petition to force the referendum, attacked the organisers because they included two speakers from the campaign for a “yes” vote and did not invite leaders from the “no” campaign.