Friday, 31 July 2009

Should a smack as part of good parent correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?

Today I received a citizen initiated Referendum "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"

Although this blog about gaming, I think this referendum is important enough for me to blog about. This is a very loaded question which any academic would rigorously reword. By placing the word 'good' in front of parental correction, we are creating the idea the smacking is 'naturally' a good/positive part of parental correction. Who doesn't want to support 'good parenting'? If smacking is part of 'good parenting' than we should support 'good parenting'. Hence we should not criminalise good (smacking) parenting. It is after all 'good'.

However the real issue here is smacking. Smacking is often used as part of parental correction and has only recently been made a criminal offence in New Zealand over the last couple of years. Seen in this context, this question favours the pro-smacking side and this referendum is clearly misleading. It is an attempt to sway the opinions of politicians to support the pro-smackers. I hope people will realise that this is a very poorly constructed referendum question and I think can not be used as a proper measure of public opinion for the reasons covered in the previous paragraph.

For more information, please check out . It's a website devoted to retaining the existing laws and is anti-smacking.

Update: I don't forget to visit Referedum Generator where you can generate your own (nonsensical) referedum!

Disclaimer: I don't think smacking is right.

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