The Yes Vote – NZ Referendum on Child Discipline 2009

more info & downloads

Media Kits

  • The Yes Vote media kit – Everything a journalist needs to know to produce informed, thoughtful and balanced stories about the real issues behind the referendum including contact details for spokespeople in an 18-page PDF.

Fact Sheets

  • Section 59 Briefing Sheet – provides a succinct overview of why Section 59 was amended in 2008, how the law is working in practice, what the law says, and the 2009 referendum.  It’s a great synopsis of the information on this web site, in a four-page easily printed document.



  • Children are Unbeatable: seven very good reasons not to hit children, by Rhonda Pritchard.  Published by The Office of the Children’s Commissioner, UNICEF New Zealand and the Families Commission.
  • Choose to Hug: Information and suggestions for parents. This book is about positive discipline; supporting children, showing them what you want and rewarding acceptable behaviour… Positive discipline does not mean children can do what they like. They do best when they are well supervised and know what is expected of them. Secure and well-loved children want to please the people they love. With time, they learn to be self-disciplined and to respect others and care about how they feel. Published by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.
  • Insights – Children and young people speak out about family discipline – Insights is a Save the Children commissioned study into children’s perspectives on family discipline … “Children’s voices are often missing from the debate around family discipline and effective parenting. The level of physical punishment reported in the study is shocking and delivers crucial information for the debate … Children need to be listened to in discussions about issues that affect them. They have some important messages which challenge the assumptions of many parents out there”.
  • Unreasonable Force: New Zealand’s Journey towards banning the physical punishment of children. This book traces the journey to law reform in New Zealand and looks at the many factors that contributed to this.  As with other advances in human rights, people do not give up old habits and beliefs easily. There has been conflict, soul searching and heated debate in our country – and this will no doubt continue. In time, we will look back and wonder how we ever considered not changing the law.  We should remember that this legislative change received more public submissions than any other piece of legislation in our history. Many of these were opposed to change, but there were significant numbers of individuals and groups of organisations who supported the proposed change.
  • Positive Discipline: What it is and how to do it by Joan E Durrant, Ph D. A 356 page manual covering establishing goals, providing warmth and structure, understanding how children think and feel, problem solving, and responding with positive discipline.
  • A Theology of Children by Reverand Nove Vailaau. A 24-page booklet aimed at supporting and strengthening parents, grandparents, and caregivers with strategies for non-physical discipline of children within a theological context.

Papers and Research Presentations

Positive Parenting Resources

  • Ages and Stages (SKIP) – Not all children develop and reach milestones at the same rate, but they do pass through the same stages. Understanding something about those stages can help you to understand that what could look like naughty behaviour is actually just a part of growing up.
  • Tantrums (SKIP) -Most small children have tantrums – they are a natural part of growing up. Tantrums are caused by frustration and stress that children can’t deal with. Often they happen because children can’t express themselves using words, or they are tired, hungry, bored, uncomfortable or over-stimulated.
  • Supermarket Survival (SKIP) – The supermarket is an exciting place for small children, but sometimes it can all get too frustrating and they go into overload. There are ways to make shopping a less stressful time for children and parents.
  • Managing Behaviour for Under Fives (SKIP) – Guidance, or discipline, is most effective in a warm and loving relationship, where your child feels supported and secure.
  • Tips on Stress (SKIP) – It’s easy to get stressed as you juggle family, washing, cooking, cleaning, getting from A to B, money etc. There are times when too much stress makes life really difficult as everything seems too huge and too hard.
  • Children with Special Needs (SKIP) – All children need lots of love and warmth, and limits and boundaries to guide their behaviour. Sometimes they also need extra help with some areas such as mobility, learning or sensory input.
  • Keeping Kids Safe (SKIP) – Keeping your child safe can be tricky as they turn into curious toddlers who put things in their mouths, climb, open doors and reach up and touch everything they possibly can. All this exploring is an important part of their development. If they do put themselves in danger, punishment such as smacking doesn’t teach children anything. Instead make their environment safe and teach them how to keep safe.
  • Temperament – Like adults, all babies are different. Some are born easy to settle and placid, while others are wakeful and active. Some are regular in their habits from early on and others have irregular sleeping and toileting habits that make it harder to work out their needs. These traits start to show themselves in the first few weeks of life and are linked to particular temperament types. Temperaments are inborn and are not the result of parents’ or adults’ care giving styles.
  • Jealousy and Fighting (SKIP) – Although feelings of jealousy, rivalry and resentment are normal, children need to learn how to handle these feelings.
  • Take Time to be a Dad (SKIP, The Warehouse, and – Over 50 dads from The Warehouse North Island Distribution Centre in South Auckland shared stories and ideas about what it means to them to be a dad.

Advocacy Presentations

  • “What’s it all about? Section 59 of the Crimes Act”. It’s a good general overview of the issues suitable for presentations.

    You can also download the presentation, so you can load it onto your laptop and show it round everywhere.

Plunket Barnardos Save the Children Unicef Jigsaw Ririki Parents CentrePaediatric Society Womens Refuge Epoch

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