The Paua Palace

My royal blog, life, opinions and me, it’s all about ME.. Right?

Anti Spanking Law confusion

Posted by pauaprincess on June 20, 2007

Last month the NZ Govt passed legislation removing the statutory defense for parents to use force against a child for the purposes of correction.  It was passed with an amendment allowing Police discretion not to prosecute for light smacking of an inconsequential nature.  I covered the use of force in this post.  However it would seem the amendment that saw the law pass is producing it’s own issues if this story in the NZ Herald is anything to go by.

For one thing, the law does not define the age of a child; in criminal law ie for the purposes of charging a child with a crime, once the child is 17 they can be charged as an adult, other laws define a child as under 14 and under 18.  It is illegal to sell cigarettes or liquor to youths under the age of 18, fares for children on buses at movies etc end between 12 and 16.  There is no clear legislation for all that defines when childhood ends and adulthood begins.

In addition, a parent may move a child but not detain a child in an unreasonable manner or for an unreasonable period.  What does this entail exactly?  Will grounding a teenager be cause for an investigation?

It appears that Police will be investigating all reported incidents and making decisions based upon the evidence given.  If the little old lady next door witnesses you smacking your child on the hand for touching the bbq and reports it, the Police will be investigating.  Minor incidents will be recorded.  Which makes it clear, while some actions may be viewed as inconsequential, a prosecution may follow if the actions are repetitive or frequent. 

While I am not a fan of corporal punishment although I did use a light smack on the hand when my children were toddlers along with a stern NO when they touched things they were not supposed to, I respect that others might be.  More importantly, I don’t believe the Government should be making legislation affecting parenting decisions. 

I’ve said it before, this legislation will not affect those that beat and kill their children and is open to abuse.  This is a band aid, a smokescreen to make it appear that the Government is attempting to address a serious issue.



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