March 2005


In 2005 EPOCH New Zealand continues its efforts to change the way New Zealanders understand children's behaviour and how to influence their behaviour.

EPOCH New Zealand believes that persistent use of physical punishment is one of the factors contributing to the high level of family violence experienced in New Zealand.  The large number of cases of violence to women and children in the months around Christmas 2004 indicate that violence is not in decline.  The Government recognises the economic and social cost associated with violence to women and children and acknowledges growing public concern.  Reducing violence to women and children is one of Government's priorities in "Opportunity for All" - the Government's election year focus.

But don't expect any change in the legal status of physical punishment in 2005.  The issue is politically risky with limited public understanding and limited support for change.  The best we can hope for is that the present Government (if re-elected) will keep its promise and review section 59 after the election.

Meanwhile there is plenty for EPOCH New Zealand and others to do.  We can increase understanding of the need for repeal, and promote public education and parent support.  Anything that can be done to move public understanding about repeal of section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 and increase public support for change may influence future politicians.  Physical punishment of children remains a public topic with occasional media interest and some communities are working hard to bring about local change.

This year EPOCH New Zealand will focus on building its network.  EPOCH New Zealand wants to expand the network of agencies supporting repeal of section 59.  Further, we will add names of well-known or influential New Zealanders who support this change.  If you can help by linking us to agencies or supportive individuals, please contact us on our website email address