26 March 07
Anti-smacking campaigners have been dealt a fresh blow, with a new poll showing an overwhelming number of New Zealanders support parents' right to smack their naughty children.
The news comes as MPs prepare to once again debate the controversial bill banning smacking, and those against it are promising to keep turning up the heat.
A ONE News Colmar Brunton poll has found 83% of those surveyed believe it is okay to smack naughty children.
Just 15% disagreed with that, but supporters of Sue Bradford's bill say it is not aimed at those who lightly smack their child.
"The point of the Bradford bill is to enable the police to successfully prosecute serious child beaters," Prime Minister Helen Clark says.
It is already illegal to hit children but if prosecuted you have a legal defence that you were simply using reasonable force to correct their behaviour. The bill removes that defence because Bradford and others believe it was being wrongly used to get people off the hook for hitting their children with a riding crop or wooden sticks.
But there does not seem to be much faith that the bill will actually help those children. Just 18% say it will cut child abuse rates while 78% say it will do nothing.
With the bill to be debated again on Wednesday, the pressure is being racheted up.
A new advertising campaign against it kicks off on Tuesday. Family First, For the Sake of our Children, the Sensible Sentencing Trust and Grey Power are placing a full page newspaper advertisement to encourage people to sign a petition against the bill.
So far the petition has received more than 50,000 signatures. The aim is to hit 300,000 so the government is forced to hold a referendum.
More protests are also planned and one party is even threatening its own MPs with the boot next election if they do not vote against the controversial law.
The Colmar poll results are backed by a Research New Zealand survey, which showed that of the 497 people polled 73% disagreed or strongly disagreed with the anti-smacking bill.
The poll also showed that 72% of New Zealanders thought that if the bill were to be passed into law, it would be unenforceable.
The poll also found those aged 15 to 29 were more inclined to support the legislation, with a quarter strongly supporting the bill.
Fourteen other polls conducted by various organisations show on average about 80% of people oppose the legislation.
A text message poll run by Bay of Plenty Times over the weekend found a staggering 94.6% opposing the legislation.
"Supporters of the bill have always tried to argue that the 14 polls done over the past two years, and averaging 84% support for section 59, are not accurate," says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
"Yet here is yet another independent poll showing that 83% of Kiwis either strongly disagree or disagree with the bill, or have no clear support for the anti-smacking bill.
"The message is clear to our politicians," says McCoskrie. "Reject the bill, don't criminalise our good parents, come back to the drawing board, and let's tackle the real causes of child abuse as identified by UNICEF reports, CYF reports and national and international research - namely family breakdown and dysfunction, drug and alcohol abuse, and poverty and stress."
Also on this page - this poll:
|Will a smacking ban stop you from smacking your children?|
|I don't smack them anyway|