Anyone spoken to Sue Bradford lately to find out how her anti-smacking law is working out?
The legislation was never intended to be an instant fix because there is not an instant fix, it takes years if not generations to change attitudes and behaviour. It was a start and a necessary start to change society's attitudes and habits. The resistance to the change is evidence that changing those attitudes will take a long time. It goes in part to educating New Zealand that there are positive alternatives to hitting our young.
NZ is not a safe place for kids and compared to similar countries our record is not good at all, a quarter of a century at the coal face leaves me in no doubt that the anti smacking laws was a positive and important start.
I wonder if it has anything to do with drinking and rugby. Anyone?
NZ drinking (measured as average volume of alcohol consumed per person per annum) is actually neither high nor low compared to other first world countries. I'm sure that alcohol plays a part, but doubt it explains the discrepancy. Rugby - no I doubt that either - anyway would be excluded from child-abuse stats. There are pretty thorough processes in place at A&E depts etc.
Correlations with other things... Multi-generational welfare dependency, that correlating with criminality, drug and alcohol abuse, educational achievement, as well as cultural differences WRT child discipline, those will probably lead to the answer.
Other stats would need to be differentiated out of it. Some things which may result in skewing NZ stats for child injuries, you'd need to be careful not to attribute to "neglect". NZ is (at least for many) a place where kids still have trees to climb, bikes to ride, sea and rivers to swim in. Eliminating risk entirely is not a good idea.