Media Release 28 September 2017
Family First NZ says that fixing the anti-smacking law will be on the coalition negotiation table, based on statements made by Winston Peters and NZ First before the election.
In a speech in March in Northland, leader Winston Peters said; “We are going to repeal the anti-smacking law which doesn’t work and has in fact seen greater violence towards children.” He then further clarified his position in an interview on Newstalk ZB saying that this matter should go to a referendum with New Zealand people who are “far more reliable and trustworthy on these matters, rather than a bunch of temporarily empowered parliamentarians.” This position was backed up by senior MP Tracey Martin.
“NZ First is now in a position to be able to protect good parents and put the focus where it should be – on rotten parents and actual abuse. The politicians and anti-smacking lobby groups linked good parents who smacked their children with child abusers, a notion roundly rejected – and still rejected – by NZ’ers. The anti-smacking law assumes that previous generations disciplined their children in a manner that was so harmful that they should now be considered criminals,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
National leader Bill English also hasn’t ruled out holding another referendum on smacking, if that’s what it takes to form the next Government.
A poll released in January found continued widespread rejection of the law and that two out of three NZ’ers would flout the law if they believed it reasonable to correct the behaviour of their child.
“A report at the beginning of last year analysing the 2007 anti-smacking law, “Defying Human Nature: An Analysis of New Zealand’s 2007 Anti-Smacking Law”, found that there was not a single social indicator relating to the abuse of children that had shown significant or sustained improvement since the passing of the law, and that the law has negatively impacted law-abiding parents. And an analysis of the law in 2014 by Public Law Specialists Chen Palmer said that “good parents” are being criminalised for lightly smacking despite assurances by politicians that this wouldn’t happen,” says Mr McCoskrie.
(In 2014, NZ First said “NZ First policy is to repeal the anti-smacking law passed by the last parliament despite overwhelming public opposition. Accordingly, we will not enter any coalition or confidence and supply agreement with a party that wishes to ignore the public’s clearly stated view in a referendum on that issue.”)