EDITORIAL: Smacking law misses real target

GARTH McVICAR – Sensible Sentencing Trust
Hawkes Bay Today 4th August 2009

Child abuse is the scourge of New Zealand; it is like a plague on the horizon, hanging over us like a ticking time-bomb waiting to explode. When will the next case occur and how horrific will the child’s injuries be? Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand? That is the question Hawke’s Bay people are being asked in the referendum. Hitting a child with a pipe or a piece of 4×2 was never allowed and the perpetrators should always feel the full force of the law _ but banning smacking hasn’t and will never stop the person who would commit such an act.

Let’s face it; the calibre of person who would do such a thing probably can’t read the law, anyway. And if they could they wouldn’t give a toss! Most of them only get a slap on the hand with a wet bus ticket, anyway. I want child abuse stopped. But Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking law has not done that, in fact child abuse is as rampant today as it was before the legislation changed.