300,000 sign petition against New Zealand’s smacking ban

Campaigners against New Zealand’s smacking ban have collected 300,000 signatures on a petition calling for its repeal, just a year after the law was passed.

As the population is just over 4 million, organisers say that the number of signatures is sufficient to push for a referendum on the issue, though the outcome of such a vote would not be binding.

A Bill removing the defence of reasonable parental correction was passed by 113 votes to 8 last year after a ‘compromise’ amendment meant police did not have to pursue inconsequential cases.

Campaigner Larry Baldock said: “It’s not just about pro-smacking or anti-smacking, it’s about our democracy. The most recent poll said 74 per cent of New Zealanders were opposed to the Bill.”

Smacking is not illegal in the UK but anti-smacking groups have recently renewed calls for a complete ban. They want the Government to allow MPs to have a free vote on the matter. However, the Government has said it sees no need to change the law.

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