Auckland City Council takes a stand against S59
Green Party notice to mailing list subscribers, August 25, 2006

25 August 2006

Green Party MP Sue Bradford has congratulated the Auckland City Council for passing a resolution last night to support the full repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act. The Council found that the repeal of section 59 was consistent with its child and families policy.

"This vote is a reminder that city councils are not simply about rates and water supply. Local government also has a role to play regarding social issues that affect us all. I would like to acknowledge the courage in particular of Councillor Cathy Casey, who championed the Council motion, and all the Councillors who debated the issue extensively before passing the resolution, " Ms Bradford says.

"What the Council's brave action demonstrates is that the repeal of section 59 is fast becoming the mainstream opinion. My opponents on this issue are increasingly being marginalised. They are being reduced to repeating concerns about my Crimes Amendment (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Bill that are clearly unfounded, such as the fear that parents will become criminalised for lightly smacking their children.

"This is not the case. Earlier this week, the EPOCH New Zealand anti-smacking lobby released a letter from the Police on what would be the likely Police response to complaints about parents using physical punishment on their children.

"The Police said they would consider the amount of force used in the circumstances before making a decision to prosecute. Also, the Police said that the Solicitor-General's guidelines apply to Police decisions as to whether prosecution would be in the public interest, and these would require them to consider such things as the seriousness or triviality of the offence, the mitigating circumstances, and the availability of alternatives to prosecution.

"If my Bill is passed, we are not going to see a wave of parents brought before the courts for lightly smacking their children. I congratulate Auckland City Council for its considered debate of the issues addressed by my Bill, and for the public stance they have taken to support it."

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