Documentary Exposes Harm of Anti-Smacking Law

Media Release 17 July 2011
The DVD “My Mummy’s A Criminal” has just been released and is a must-watch documentary for every NZ parent and grandparent. 

“The politicians entered every family home in 2007 with an attitude of ‘we know better than you’ and removed the right of good Kiwi parents to raise their children as they see fit in a reasonable and non-abusive way,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. 

My Mummy’s A Criminal highlights five families who have been criminalised as a result of the anti-smacking law, in direct contradiction to the claims, promises and reassurances made by the Prime Minister, psychologist Nigel Latta, police and Child Youth and Family.” 

Quotes from the documentary include

“The couple on trial were good decent parents…I was embarrassed to be a NZ’er” – Head Juror
“I’m a housewife, I’m a mum, and they made me feel like NZ’s most wanted.”  
“Our family has been ripped apart because of the anti-smacking law.”  
“The only abuse that’s happened to our kids has been having to go through this process.”  

 The documentary includes interviews with the head juror of one of the cases which lasted two weeks in court (with a full acquittal), and the older daughter of a solo dad who says that her younger sister used the anti-smacking law to ‘get’ her dad.

 A Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Auckland University explains the meaning of ‘criminalisation’, and warns parents that any smacking could land them in trouble with the police or CYF. And a prominent Wellington lawyer argues that the ‘net’ has been cast too wide and the anti-smacking law is penalising good families. 

Previewers of the documentary say
“This documentary is shocking and disturbing.”
“This is a wake-up call to NZ parents about the danger of the anti-smacking law to good parents.”­
“Every kiwi parent needs to watch this.”  

“We would encourage every NZ’er to view this documentary and judge for themselves whether the anti-smacking law is damaging to good families and is a distraction from tackling actual child abuse,” says Mr McCoskrie.



24 comments for “Documentary Exposes Harm of Anti-Smacking Law

  1. Thomas
    16 July 2011 at 5:31 pm

    I think that those who oppose the anti-smacking law are misinformed, & ignorant of the real purpose of it.
    There has been so much concern expressed in regard to child abuse in this country, & the government could have stood back & done absolutely nothing, but they did do something.
    They brought in a law in the hope that it would help to change the mindset of those with the inclination or tendency to overstep the mark in regard to hitting or smacking their kids too hard…it’s that simple really, but unfortunately no that simple to the many with their heads in the sand.
    Common sense needs to prevail here & parents need not fear if they act responsibly, but if the don’t or choose not to the law is there to protect those poor innocent children.

  2. Bob
    16 July 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Watch the doumentary Thomas

  3. Thomas
    17 July 2011 at 5:22 am

    Some years ago when my son was around four years old with a tendency for having regular hyperactive outbursts I lost my temper one day & whacked him quite hard across the back of his head, & when I look back on that incident now I feel really bad & am sure that if the anti-smacking law had been in place at that time I would have been too afraid to have used that excessive force on my child, so this law would most definitely have worked for me, apart from the fact that the incident also happened in a public place.
    It’s easy to highlight a small handful of cases where there has been an obvious misunderstanding in regard to the law, but I think many would agree that ‘generally’ the law is working pretty well…well, working for those with enough common sense to adhere to it I would think.

  4. Jane
    17 July 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Thomas so from that incident imagine if the law was how it was now and your family would have been torn apart and the damage done to your four year olds mind. None of us are perfect parents but this law as it stands judges all of us as perfect has turned into a modern day witch hunt and this goes far beyond just smacking. This movie only shows a select few very brave famalies. How many more are too scared to come out?

  5. Bob
    18 July 2011 at 12:20 am

    None of the cases we’ve highlighted have involved whacking a kid in the head. We actually support an amendment to the law which disallows any actions involving the head. But we agree with Jane. Removal of the kids is not the answer when you’ve shown no other evidenceof being an abusive parent.

  6. Thomas
    18 July 2011 at 5:27 am

    Jane,the point

  7. Thomas
    18 July 2011 at 5:44 am

    Jane, the point I made was that if the law had been as it is now at the time of the incident regarding my four year old son I most probably would not have done it, so talk about my family being torn apart & damage to the child’s mind in just meaningless babble in this case.
    Also you may concede that there must have been many cases where the law has worked in bringing a prosecution against those who have unquestionably overstepped the mark in the severety of the smacking of their children, & as Jane states none of us are perfect parents & that’s one reason why many parents lose it & reprimand their children out of anger in some weak moment.

  8. Bob
    18 July 2011 at 6:04 pm

    The problem with your argument Thomas is that what you did was illegal before the anti-smacking law. Whacking a kid in the head is not ‘reasonable force’ at any time. So the law made no difference to you actions.

  9. Thomas
    19 July 2011 at 6:11 am

    What I did to my child might have been illegal at that time Bob, but the problem is that law was not highlighted as being a controversial law in the way that the anti-smacking law was given so much attention that almost everybody was aware of it, & you don’t have to tell or remind me that whacking a kid in the head is not ‘reasonable force’ at any time, but it seems that I have to repeat the fact that had the anti-smacking law been in place at the time of my personal incident I’m very sure I would have been too afraid to use that excessive force on my child, so the law would have worked for me, but how many others the law would work for in another story I guess, & to finish Bob the problem with you & your supporters so-called argument is that you don’t really have one.

  10. Bob
    19 July 2011 at 2:29 pm

    The law didn’t work for you then. It wouldn’t work for you now. You’re right though – the public debate has reminded all parents about what is reasonable and what is not. Our supporters (87% of the country!) just want a law that targets bad parents and doesn’t criminalise good parents who are simply raising great kids.

  11. Thomas
    19 July 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Bob, that’s exactly what I want to see come out of this law also, one that targets bad parents so it can help protect their children & bring prosecutions against those bad parents, & the good parents who are responsible & do use reasonable force should not have anything to worry about which is something I’m sure the proponents of that law would also agree with….they didn’t set out to target the good parents.
    And Bob, you are so wrong in saying that the law would not work for me now & am very surprised that you would suggest that after all I have written…maybe you have trouble comprehending things properly, & maybe your right-wing religious extremism is partly responsible for that, start living in the real world Bob.
    And as I have already suggested the law did not work for me at the time of the incident with my son because I was much younger then & not aware of that law because it didn’t have the high profile attention that the anti-smacking law has…have I left anything out?

  12. Bob
    19 July 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Could you define “right-wing religious extremism”

    I always know when a person is struggling with their argument because they start resorting to labels 🙂

  13. Thomas
    19 July 2011 at 8:28 pm

    I think you know who you & your supporters are Bob without me having to explain it, & I find it interesting also that you didn’t really get yourself into the core of the argument or discussion, which is about smacking laws, for & against etc etc.
    I heard an interesting little story on the radio some time ago which went something like this…a mother had a baby plus her very young son in the house with her & apparently the son was more than a handful for her so she gave him a smacking, then left the room for a while & when she returned she was witness to her young son smacking the baby…so I imagine the young boy had learnt that the bigger & stronger person can get their own way or what they want through applying physical force, interesting eh?

  14. Jane
    19 July 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Again Thomas you have missed the point this law is more then just a smack and again you are caught up on that word. If you watch the movie it’s more. Yes I have to agree with Bob you are resorting to labels and labels are not going to get our country anywhere in the efforts to protect our children. It will only divide further. None of us are perfect although once again this law judges everyone as if they are.

  15. Thomas
    20 July 2011 at 12:42 am

    Jane you really do come across as such a misinformed woman in regard to the anti-smacking law & why it was introduced, & I don’t think I have missed the point, so are you saying that if reasonable & responsible force is used to smack a child then people are generally in danger of being prosecuted?..I’ve always been under the impression that the law was introduced to protect children from parents or caregivers etc from being injured or harmed when unreasonable or excessive force is used against them…was that not the intention of the law?

  16. Bob
    20 July 2011 at 1:45 am

    Oh dear – now the truth comes out Thomas. You quite obviously haven’t watched the facts –

    You say “are you saying that if reasonable & responsible force is used to smack a child then people are generally in danger of being prosecuted?”

    Come back to us after you’ve watched the documentary. Until then, (with the greatest of respect) you really have no idea about what is happening in NZ

  17. Thomas
    20 July 2011 at 2:34 am

    Once again Bob a misinterpretation of what I actually said….I was asking Jane a question in regard to reasonable & responsible force etc etc & in doing so I was not making a statement as you have tried to insinuate…no wonder you people are having so much trouble interpreting the law.

  18. Jane
    20 July 2011 at 4:41 am

    Thomas I am extremely well versed in this law as well as experianced in it. Like I have said before it encompasses more then just ‘smacking’. Good parents know the difference between a smack and a beating. Yes I know first hand of people being prosecuted many of such story’s are out there but because of other reasons can not be told at this time the law as it stands is failing children and famalies in theory the law should work but in reality the way it is written has caused confusion. I agree with Bob watch the video before you start to judge and start saying things about people that you have no idea

  19. Thomas
    20 July 2011 at 5:18 am

    John Key seems to think the law is working well as it stands & I would imagine he gets plenty of feedback.

  20. Jane
    20 July 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Honestly Thomas all of the MPs have been hearing things for years but they all have excuses the longer it stays buried the more damage it is causing

  21. Thomas
    20 July 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Someone said to once, “Why is it that christians like to hit or smack their kids do much”….I looked at all the alternatives in bringing up my two kids such as time out rooms & denying them of things they like or want as a form of punishment, but of course when they were at an age to understand these things….but if you think a light smack will do the job then I guess it might work sometimes, but don’t go too hard as that’s what this discussion has been all about, but anyhow I’m about to to away tramping in the mountains for a couple of days so during that time this discussions will be the last thing in my mind.

  22. Jane
    20 July 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Under the law Thomas you can get charged for the alternatives as they can be twisted. Which is why it’s more then just smacking. I don’t smack my children and I know many good Christian families that don’t smack as well. Also people who are not Christians smack also. Have fun in the mountains.

  23. Bob
    20 July 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Why is it that christians like to hit or smack their kids do much?

    Gosh Thomas – are 87% of NZ’ers christian (the number who opposed the anti-smacking law in the recent Referendum)

    Or just perhaps 87% of NZ’ers have some common sense on the difference between good parental practice and child abuse.

    We’ll go for the latter.

    Enjoy God’s creation 🙂

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