PM rules out total ban on smacking
It is inevitable parents will lose the defence of “reasonable force” when punishing their children, the Prime Minister says, but she would not ban all smacking.
“The Government has been on quite a careful course with respect to this issue,” Helen Clark said yesterday. “That led us to absolutely rule out legislation banning smacking. That would be a very silly thing to do.”
Earlier, Miss Clark said on TV One’s Breakfast that the repeal of Section 59 was only a matter of time. “My view is that it has to go; the question is when. (However) it would be quite wrong to have a law which banned smacking. That wouldn’t be tolerable because no one wants to see parents dragged before the courts for lightly touching a child.”
Ms Bradford’s bill is due to have its first airing in Parliament on July 27, but there will not be time to pass it through all stages before August 11, the last possible sitting day before the election.
The law change has won the backing of the Plunket Society and Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro.
Plunket president Kaye Crowther said the 560 delegates at Plunket’s national conference saw it as a way of changing the culture of violence and sending a clear message that violence against children was not condoned.
ACT and United Future have said they will oppose the bill.