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Anti-Smacking Bill now in NZ Firsts Hands?

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 2, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Anti-Smacking Bill now in NZ Firsts Hands?
Sunday, 01.04.2007, 03:24pm (GMT12)

Labour waiting on Peters’ nod for anti-smacking bill

By IRENE CHAPPLE – Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 1 April 2007

 

NZ First appears likely to back the Government’s move to adopt Green MP Sue Bradford’s bill banning violence against children, giving it a final push for its expected passage into law.

Labour deputy leader Michael Cullen is waiting for the return of Foreign Minister and NZ First leader Winston Peters today before making a decision on whether to adopt the bill as a government measure.

Bradford has confirmed the support of 65 MPs for her private member’s bill repealing section 59 of the Crimes Act, which provides a defence for hitting children.

Despite a groundswell of opinion against the bill, the Government is mulling whether to adopt it as its own, ensuring a rapid progress to law and getting it off the agenda before May’s budget.

The issue has been damaging Labour’s poll ratings but new figures out tonight are expected to show it has bounced back in the wake of Prime Minister Helen Clark’s meeting with United States president George Bush in Washington.

Tonight’s 3News TNS poll is expected to show Labour’s nose ahead of National with Clark well ahead of Key in the preferred prime minister stakes.

With the anti-smacking bill becoming a public relations disaster and numbers in support of Bradford now entrenched, Peters appears unlikely to stymie it further.

NZ First, which has two MPs in favour of the bill and five against, wants it off the agenda after internal fighting over the issue pushed the party into the headlines. They will discuss it with Peters, who has been in South America, in caucus on Tuesday.

NZ First MPs Brian Donnelly – a long-time advocate for the repeal of s59, who sponsored a similar bill in 2001 – and Doug Woolerton are voting in favour of the bill. That stance has brought threats of demotion from party president Dail Jones.

Bradford said she was unsure if her bill would be picked up by the Government but was confident it would be passed either way.

She said polls showing massive opposition to the bill were fed by misinformation and powerful lobbying against it.

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