Heavy defeat for new smacking bill

Heavy defeat for new smacking bill

NZPA September 9, 2010, 6:23 am

ACT MP David Garrett

A bill that would have effectively repealed the anti-smacking law by again allowing parents to use “reasonable force” to discipline their children was defeated in Parliament last night by 115 votes to five.

The member’s bill was sponsored by ACT MP David Garrett, who said that although police had discretion over prosecuting for a light smack, it was still an offence in law and had to be removed from the statutes.

“The law has turned good parents into criminals, in the same category as those who bash and kill their children,” he said.

Mr Garrett said the law hadn’t worked anyway because since the legislation was passed 20 children had been murdered and notifications of child abuse had increased.

Labour’s deputy leader Annette King said the law was passed by a majority of MPs after a compromise was reached between then prime minister Helen Clark and John Key when he was Leader of the Opposition.

“This is a political bill, we have all moved on and it should be removed from the House as soon as possible”, Ms King said.

National’s Hekia Parata said the anti-smacking law was working, and a review had shown that.

“I’m personally applaud the fact that we are opposing it,” she said.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said the bill was a waste of Parliament’s time.

“It seeks to injure children. Wouldn’t we do better by finding ways to build safe, warm homes for them,” she said.

ACT MP John Boscawen drafted the bill but couldn’t sponsor it because he became a minister last month.

He said current law created confusion because of police discretion and a referendum had shown 87 percent of voters wanted it changed.

“This bill stands up for the rights of those people,” he said.

Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell said punitive approaches to discipline were wrong and the law didn’t criminalise parents.

“The law is working well, parents are prevented from using the defence of reasonable force and we reject this bill absolutely,” he said.

ACT’s five MPs were the only ones who voted for the bill.

Family First NZ Media Release 8 Sep 2010
Family First NZ is calling on politicians to respect democracy and the voice of NZ’ers expressed in the recent Referendum and support the bill being introduced tonight in parliament to decriminalise light smacking. READ MORE

Family First Comment:
This is an incredible result and, although not a scientific independent poll, it still gives you an indication that this fight isn’t anywhere near over!

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