New poll shows smacking ban is ineffective in New Zealand

Ahead of this week’s debate in the Welsh Parliament calling for a smacking ban to be introduced in Wales, Clwyd West AM Darren Millar highlighted that a new nationwide poll in New Zealand has found that half of New Zealanders believe that the 2007 anti-smacking law there has caused a decline in discipline.

The poll carried out at the beginning of last December also revealed that almost 40% of mothers of young children say they have smacked despite the law change.

On Tuesday Assembly Members debated ‘Stage 3 of the Children (Abolition of the Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill’ , which Darren has warned if passed, will “result in the criminalisation, potentially, of tens of thousands of decent loving parents across Wales who use the occasional smack to discipline their children”.

Speaking ahead of the Debate, he said:

“This latest poll from New Zealand is further evidence that smacking bans do not work. Thirteen years after a ban was introduced in New Zealand, this poll indicates that the it is having no effect on child abuse rates, and may actually be doing more harm than good."

Darren added: “As I have previously stated when objecting to the Welsh Labour Government's plans, parenting is tough enough as it is, so instead of punishing loving mums and dads, we should be supporting them and providing universal access to positive parenting courses which promote alternatives to smacking as a form of discipline.

“The public in Wales don't want this legislation. Whenever public opinion has been tested, the response has been very, very clear, and that is: the overwhelming majority, between two thirds and three quarters of people, do not believe that a smacking ban should be introduced.

  “We already have comprehensive legislation in place that the police, social services and others do use to deal with child abuse and those who break them should feel the full weight of the law.  

"Most parents who use the occasional smack do so within the confines of a loving relationship with the child who they want to raise to be a responsible adult and someone who can contribute to society usefully in the future.

“The Welsh Government should abandon these unpopular plans."