May 27, 2009
The Yes Vote Coalition launched a campaign for the August referendum with a media kit to provide background on the issues for journalists.
Having a law that makes hitting kids illegal makes sense in every way. That’s why people who support non-violent child-rearing should consider voting YES in the postal referendum on the issue in August.
The referendum question is misleading: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” This question links smacking with good parenting practice, which it is not.
“This unnecessary $10 million referendum is an attempt to overturn a recently enacted law that gives children the same legal protection from assault as adults,” said Deborah Morris-Travers, spokesperson for the Yes Vote Coalition.
“We are supporting a Yes Vote because that is the only option to send a clear signal to Parliament that smacking and hitting children is wrong.”
“Two years on, the new law is working well. Police reports show that parents are not being criminalised unnecessarily. Organisations belonging to the Yes Vote Coalition report a noticeable increase in interest from parents seeking alternatives to physical punishment, including smacking”.
“It is simply wrong to suggest, as some do, that ‘nothing has changed’ since the amendment to s59 of the Crimes Act in June 2007. This nationwide desire to learn more about parenting and non physical discipline is, like the law now in place, a fundamentally important step towards a less violent society”.
“We agree with those critics of the current Child Discipline Law who say the new law has not changed the ghastly pattern of child abuse and murders in the home in New Zealand. To think it could do that so quickly is naive. That does not make it wrong for society to draw a line in the sand that says ‘no violence against children’. After all, we have laws against speeding and murder, but people still do both. Shall we drop those laws too just because real life doesn’t always match the law?” added Ms Morris-Travers.
“The Child Discipline Law as it now stands represents a child-rearing standard that many New Zealanders actually already support. Over time, support for the law and reduced tolerance for any violence against children will increase and people will acknowledge that not hitting children makes sense”.
“In the meantime, the public will once again debate the rights and wrongs of hitting children. We urge people to look behind the misleading claims that are stirring up unfounded fear, to find out what the law actually says and how it is working by visiting YesVote.org.nz”
“A YES vote protects children and supports positive, non-violent parenting,” concluded Ms Morris-Travers.