29 September 2008
Family First shows legal ignorance
Clarification of earlier media release
Green Party MP Sue Bradford has responded strongly to a statement by pro-violence lobby Family First saying Bob McCoskrie appears confused about what the amendment of Section 59 is actually about.
"There is no specific law relating to smacking on New Zealand's statute books. People like Mr McCoskrie have fostered a myth that what has happened is that a new law has been created that specifically outlaws smacking. This is simply not true.
The amendment of Section 59 removed a defence that has in the past allowed some parents get away with seriously assaulting their children, some with weapons, on the basis that they merely used 'reasonable force'.
"What the repeal of Section 59 means is that we now have a law that offers children and adults equal protection from harm."
"Assault has always been assault for adults and children alike. Previous to the amendment of Section 59, the only, albeit significant, difference was that parents could defend themselves against assault charges by saying they were using reasonable force when they assaulted their children.
"I believe the petition question is aimed at creating the impression that a new crime has been created, and that the pro-violence lobby are aiming to create a law that will define acceptable assault," Ms Bradford says.