ARTICLE: Taking Smacking Seriously: The Case for Retaining the Legality of Parental Smacking in New Zealand Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2001 Legal Research Foundation Inc. 
New Zealand Law Review

ARTICLE: Taking Smacking Seriously: The Case for Retaining the Legality of Parental Smacking in New Zealand

2001

2001 NZ Law Review 1

Author

Rex Ahdar and James Allan*

Excerpt

Today in New Zealand the exercise of corporal punishment by parents to correct their children's behaviour, provided the force used is reasonable, is legal; it is sanctioned by statute. The same is true of many Western nations and all non-Western nations. However, the movement to abolish the legality of parental corporal punishment has grown in the recent past. Several European countries have moved to put corporal punishment by parents in the same position as all other smacking; in effect, they have made it illegal. 1 Many in New Zealand would like to copy those countries and take away the legality of parental smacking in New Zealand.

In this paper we make a case for opposing such abolitionist moves, for retaining the legality of parental smacking in New Zealand. Part 1 sets out the present law, which, in effect, permits moderate "smacking" for the purpose of correction. Part 2 then considers the abolitionist movement in New Zealand, a movement that has gained no small impetus from claims that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 mandates abolition. Part 3 moves from the specific to the more general, attempting to place the debate between abolitionist and retentionist in a wider, more philosophical context. Here we will examine the notion of paternalism, including the competing claims of parents and of the state. Part 4 returns to earth to consider the principal recurring arguments for the criminalisation of parental smacking. We examine ...
 
 
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