In an interview with RadioLive’s Marcus Lush, Conservative Party leader Colin Craig this morning admitted that he runs what could be described as an underground smacking ring, in which he occasionally accepts the money of strangers in exchange for disciplinary services that include hitting their children.
Craig, who says he feels his candidacy in this year’s election won’t be affected by his not having a real last name, is strongly opposed to a 2007 law that technically made it illegal for parents to use physical force as a disciplinary measure.
Craig says that ordinary parents who smack their children have now become so fearful of the new law that they have turned to people like him to help them “fulfil their basic obligations as parents.”
“Oh, look, Marcus, I already do occasionally give my kids a light smack, and, you know, now and again, I do accept money from the odd stranger to smack a kid, yeah,” said Craig. “I mean, I travel all around this country at the moment, and I’m talking to people, and they say to me ‘Colin, will you accept this $50 note to just slap my wee Callum on the buttocks a few times, teach him a lesson?’ and I don’t really see anything wrong with that.
“It’s just, parents are so afraid these days, they’re not willing to do these sorts of things themselves, because they know if they get caught, the police could turn up with sirens and everything.”
Craig acknowledged that his practice of accepting money to smack other people’s kids was “probably” against the law, but that he was “no different” to “two thirds of New Zealanders, who think this is a silly law and it should be thrown out.”
“I think New Zealanders had it right in the referendum, and we’ve still got it right today,” he said.
Craig is referring to a 2009 referendum that asked the question “Should a financial exchange between two parties for the deliverance of services by at least one party that include the smacking of the other party’s offspring, as part of legal parental correction, be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”
A police spokesman told media this morning that no action would be taken against Craig, despite his admission, and said he did not want to be drawn into a political issue during an election year, unless it was specifically about his salary.