Dodgy survey reporting from Children’s Commissioner
Oh this is classic. The Office of the Children’s Commission commissions a survey on smacking and concludes that most parents approve of the law change amending section 59 of the Crimes Act because respondents think that the law should treat the beating of an adult the same as child assault.
This is despite the survey stating that most who gave an opinion support physical discipline of children, with just 20 percent opposing smacking.
The survey asks should children be entitled to the same protection from assault as adults.
Well, of course they should. Just like my neighbour should not slap my kids if they nick his tomato plants, and I shouldn't punch my neighbour in the face if he pokes his tongue out at me. Both are entitled to the same legal protection, and always have been. But the survey doesn’t ask should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?.
We all know why. They wanted to conflate assault with smacking again, given that most don’t think smacking is assault.
Among the 750 respondents surveyed by UMR were Maori and Pacific Islanders. But the sample of Pacific Islanders chosen was less than the margin of error and the sample of Maori chosen was just over double the margin of error, and the question order was a shambles.
So, respondents were asked whether they supported the law, then once they said they did, they were asked how much they knew about it. Of those that knew about the law change, most supported it. Of those ignorant about the law change, many knew that smacking was now illegal. So some were ignorant of the law but could state some of its provisions? That’s just weird.
What surprised me is that 30 percent said that physical punishment should be part of child discipline. That’s high. The rest were split pretty much evenly between disagreement and neutrality. But the report of the survey says that parents do not have absolute right to treat children as they wish – negating the opinions of at least a third of respondents.
So the survey admits that the sample is not representative of the population and then reports as if it is, while misrepresenting responses and conflating smacking and assault. How dodgy is that? Never trust surveys from the Office of the Children’s Commissioner. The Commission should be scrapped.