Stuff.co.nz 12 January 2014
Supporters of the controversial “anti-smacking” law are claiming victory after a dramatic fall in the number of parents being investigated for hitting their children.
But opponents of the 2007 law change have accused the Government of fudging the numbers and the issue looks set to become an election lightning rod, with the Conservative Party, a potential Government coalition partner, committed to overturning the legislation.
The amendment to section 59 of the Crimes Act in 2007 removed the defence of “reasonable force” for parents prosecuted for assault on their children.
It divided the country, with its sponsor, former Green MP Sue Bradford, receiving death threats while Family First director Bob McCroskie, an opponent of the change, found plastic knives stabbed into his lawn.
Family First plans to campaign strongly on the issue during the election buildup. “It’s a big issue because it was a law that came into every family home. Politicians want it to simmer down and go away, but it’s not,” McCroskie said, adding figures on falling smacking notifications are “fudged . . . It doesn’t identify cases where parents are being ransomed by their own kids.”