FLASHBACK 2007: Debating Cindy Kiro on the anti-smacking law

In 2007 just before the anti-smacking law was rammed through parliament despite significant public opposition – and only passing because John Key ‘whipped’ all National MPs to vote for it! – Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro debated a US research expert on child discipline on TV3’s Campbell Live.

If you can stomach it, have a watch.
If you dare to have a personal faith, you’ll find it tough to watch.

In 2006, during the anti-smacking bill debate, Dr Kiro along with Sue Bradford, EPOCH and Barnardos misrepresented the child abuse statistics from both NZ and Sweden. They said ‘Around one child a month dies at the hands of a parent or caregiver in New Zealand. In Sweden, the average annual deaths attributable to child abuse for the past 30 years or so has been less than one every four years.’ In fact the actual rate of child abuse deaths in Sweden had averaged around seven every year and has sometimes been as high as twelve, according to Sweden’s public health minister.

The Children’s Commissioner had knowingly misled the public on child abuse statistics, but that it is not the only time that she had done so. In a 2008 Sunday Star Times article, Dr Cindy Kiro said that 88 children were killed in a five year period. These were repeated in a Dominion Post article on Dr Kiro. But blogger Lindsay Mitchell obtained an admission from Dr Kiro under the Official Information Act that the figures were inaccurate, and that the real figure was 35. “Despite the gross inaccuracy of the figures, Dr Kiro allowed them to be republished in an interview a year after the first incorrect report and despite being aware of the misrepresentation,”

In 2009, Cindy Kiro also attempted to discredit the huge response to the two petitions asking for a Referendum on child abuse and the anti-smacking law by saying that previous generations of parents didn’t parent as positively and were less qualified in knowing how to raise their children than parents of today.

“We know more about parenting and child health and development now than we did in our parents’, grandparents’ and great grandparents’ times.” – Cindy Kiro

Dr Kiro also labelled the hundreds of thousands who have signed the petitions as gullible and misguided, and simply puppets to a political agenda. Once again, this is highly insulting to the more than 300,000 New Zealanders who care about good parenting and have thoughtfully signed the petitions.

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