Tuesday, June 24, 2008

ZenTiger It is a simple question

It is a simple question: "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offense in New Zealand?". There are 390,000 people in New Zealand who were prepared to put their name to paper to have that question asked.

So what does Helen say?

"There is very little evidence I can see of parents being dragged before the court"

Well, quite frankly, so what?

The DomPost article today indicates Helen Clark doesn't see much sense in this petition. She doesn't see a problem. This is the person who bans smacking to end child abuse. The person who wants to ban bottle stores to end armed robberies. (Not to mention that alchohol is also sold at Woolworths, Pak N' Save, New World, 4 Square and Countdown supermarket chains all over New Zealand).

The issue here is that sending a message to people who abuse children by making smacking illegal for every parent is as undesirous as banning driving to send a message to people who excessivley speed. You don't make driving illegal, and then let off the people that are driving safely after putting them through an interview with 5 policemen.

And dragging parents before the courts? Dont make me laugh. 90% of issues with parents and children happen at the CYFS level, and they can remove children without a court case. They have also proven in New Zealand that they can remove children from parents even if the court finds the parents not guilty of the charge. And Family Court gets to keep this all secret. Family Court proceedings are not open to the public. Journalists have limited access, and are bound by strict privacy rules. We would need to have full access to CYFS cases and Family Court proceedings to test the validity of this claim.

Whatever the position on smacking, one thing we should respect in New Zealand is that we have nearly 400,000 signatures who think making a smack administered in discipline should not be a criminal offence, and who believe that the current law is one waiting to be abused.

This petition has the numbers. It could easily be included in the upcoming election. That would be the most effective and efficient time to ask it.

The people of NZ want a simple question asked.

Will the people be allowed to ask it?

5 comment(s):

Psycho Milt said...

Just commented over at No Minister along the lines of how I hate citizen-initiated referenda, because they waste taxpayers' money asking me stupid questions. They're a recipe for govt by, of and for the simplistic.

This one is no different. The answer to the question is "No." No petition or referendum is required to answer it. Now suppose we go ahead and hold an expensive referendum simply to labour the point - what conclusion exactly is the govt to draw from it? That people think S59 should be un-repealed>? Well no, not really, because smacking your kid was a criminal offence before S59 was repealed. It's just that S59 gave you a defence against that charge. This referendum is going way further than that.

So what exactly is the referendum saying? That the law needs to be completely rewritten so smacking your own child specifically isn't a criminal offence. If I was in govt, I wouldn't touch that tar-baby with a bargepole. It's a recipe for wasting Parliament's time on months of grandstanding, the unedifying sight of politicians trying to put a legal definition on the word "smack," and a guaranteed future swathe of unexpected judicial outcomes which would be uniformly blamed on the govt. Clark won't touch it? No surprise.

I'd greatly prefer skipping the stupid questions and getting a govt that governs. If Key thinks repealing S59 was a bad idea, let him say so and account to the citizenry for why he voted for it. If they still want to vote for him afterwards, he can reinstate S59. If he hasn't the bollocks for the job, he shouldn't hide behind us by making us state the obvious at great taxpayer expense.

ZenTiger said...

Not as much as a waste of money as bad legislation. Not a waste of money if it sends a strong message of protest that this legislation is bad.

It's not so much about a simple question, but that the people felt sufficiently moved to ask it.

You say it's a waste of money - but one has to wonder how it got to this, and then we see the huge waste of time and effort on the whole s59 debate whilst child abuse continues. And child abuse was the justification for criminalising smacking.

If Helen bans liquor stores to end liquor store robberies, then the same would apply - a srong petition sends a signal to the politicians that this is an issue of note and that the reason for law change has little to do with solving the initial problem.

KG said...

"..how I hate citizen-initiated referenda,.."
Of course you do--you're a leftard collectivist PM.
God forbid the people should actually have a voice--far better to send 'em to re-education camps eh?

Psycho Milt said...

Ah yes, how essential to democracy that the people should be asked to establish that yes, 80% of them do hate politicians (99-MP referendum); that yes, 90% of them do hate crims (tougher sentences referendum); and that yes, the great majority do like firefighters (firefighters referendum). There's nothing like throwing wads of taxpayer cash at establishing something we already know to demonstrate our unshakable commitment to freedom.

ZenTiger said...

If only the government responded with tin buttons with those messages eh, PM? Just like the ones they produced recently to advance Maori education.

Unfortunately, they seemed to have allocated a couple of billion dollars to paying Kyoto taxes just in case we were too stupid to work out that we produced CO2, and we should do something about it.

We would of course, had we any money left after paying for the buttons and Kyoto taxes, to name just two more serious wastes of money.

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