Gordon Copeland Press Release
For Immediate Release
Monday, 19th March 2007
How misleading can you get?
United Future MP Gordon Copeland today expressed his dismay at the misleading nature of an information sheet which is
being circulated by Labour MPs in reply to correspondence on Sue Bradford’s ‘Anti-Parental-Correction Bill’.
“I assume that the source of this disinformation sheet is Labour MP Russell Fairbrother’s speech to the House during the
Committee stage of the Bill,” said Mr Copeland.
“It is utter rubbish. The claim is made that for over 110 years parents who have smacked their children have committed
the crime of assault and those that have sent their child to its bedroom have committed the crime of kidnapping!”
“They have not. Section 59 of the current Crimes Act specifically states that a parent is “justified in using force by
way of correction towards the child, if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances”. The important word is
“justified”. It is defined in the Crimes Act as follows: “Justified, in relation to any person, means not guilty of an
offence and not liable to any civil proceeding”.”
“Therefore, as everybody in New Zealand, apart from Labour’s MPs, knows light smacking and ‘time-out’ are not presently
criminal activities in New Zealand.”
“That is the whole point. Sue Bradford’s Bill removes the justification of reasonable force if used “for the purpose of
correction”. Accordingly it is crystal clear that light smacking and ‘time-out’ will constitute the crime of assault in
New Zealand for the first time should this misguided Bill become the law of the land.”