A book teaching parents how to smack, thump and pull their children’s hair was the latest considered for censorship.
The Censorship Compliance Unit assessed the book, written by fundamentalist Christians Michael and Debi Pearl, and decided not to ban or restrict it.
A spokesman for the Department of Internal Affairs, which the office and unit belong to, said while the book was contrary to section 59 of the Crimes Act, which stated a parent or guardian could not use any force on a child “for the purpose of correction”, that wasn’t sufficient reason to justify restricting or banning the 20-year-old book.
The complainant could, however, ask that the Office of Film and Literature Classification also investigate the book’s content.
To Train Up A Child courted controversy worldwide after a California couple who followed its instructions were convicted of murdering their seven-year-old adopted daughter.
An American child abuse victim, now living in New Zealand, complained to Whitcoulls last month and the bookseller agreed to remove the book from its website.
They also made a complaint to the compliance unit.
The victim said he was shocked to find out the book was being sold in New Zealand, despite the country’s anti-smacking law.
“I’m not one to prevent books from being sold, but I think an instruction manual on how to enact violence on your child is a completely different story,” he said.
“New Zealand has such a high rate of child abuse and to instruct people on how to do this is just so irresponsible.”
Source: Fairfax NZ