I was interested to read the recent (July 10) NZ Police review relating to the operation of the 2007 amendment of the Crimes Act (see 4th review of police activity since enactment of the Crimes (substituted section 59) Amendment Act 2007). It really does show that this current referendum is a pointless farce. Some conclusions form the report:
1: “Smacking” in itself is not an offence. The report had to consider offence codes which weren’t “smacking” but most likely to include “smacking” type incidents.
2:The legislation has had “minimal impact on police activity.”
3: During the review period “police attended 279 child assault events, 39 involved ‘minor acts of physical discipline’ and 8 involved smacking.”
4: There has been a decrease in ‘smacking events’ and ‘minor acts of physical discipline.’
5: There has been an increase (36) of ‘other child assault’ events. (We should be concerned about these).
6: “No prosecutions were made for ‘smacking’ events during this period.”
No wonder polls indicate that most people think this referendum is a waste of time and money. Quite rightly, the government will ignore the result – except possibly making changes to the Citizens Initiated Referenda legislation to prevent future waste of money.
The whole area of normal child upbringing methods has always been an issue of contention and debate. It always will be. The state should not intervene or express an attitude unless children are being harmed, or are in danger of being harmed. Psychologically or physically.
Currently, this referendum seem to be supported mostly by those with a fundamentalist and/or conservative religious agenda.