Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fletch Anything Less Than Law Change Unacceptable

Yes, we won in the referendum, but what happens now?
According to a comment from John Key this morning, he would take to Cabinet -

"options which fall short of changing the law but will provide comfort for parents about this issue"

This is not good enough. It falls into the same status as the unwritten idea that gives Police discretion in whether to prosecute in situations where a child has been smacked. There is a reason why we write down laws: it is so that everyone understands them; lawyers, judges, police and the public can refer to them; use them to prosecute or defend; determine whether laws have been broken or crimes committed.

What is going to happen in 50 years when the "general understanding" around the issue has long passed from human memory? All that those in the future will have is what we have written down or prescribed in law - the law that must be obeyed and enforced.

That provides little "comfort" for me, or for the parents and future parents of this country.

The same article states that Yes Vote spokeswoman Deborah Morris-Travers said -

New Zealand was still the only English-speaking nation that had banned physical punishment for children and other countries were watching to see if the ban would be reversed.

"If we were to go backwards, I think it would be embarrassing for New Zealand."

What is the more embarrassing? To try an experiment, admit we were wrong, and change back, or to go on blindly ahead irregardless of the negative consequences (and there will be) to our children and our country? That is false pride - that was Labour's downfall - I hope it will not be National's as well.

35 comment(s):

Angus said...

This is exactly the kind if sickening, insidious intrusion by the state into the lives of good families that the Nats should be reversing.

Instead however, they will tread water desperately trying to appease all and sundry until the progressive intelligentsia and the media establishment gnaws away at the support platform which got them elected in the first place - namely a reversal of nanny statism and intrusive Government.

ZenTiger said...

Sue Bradford accepted some people were uncomfortable with the law [banning smacking], but said it should stand "because it's a law about protecting our most vulnerable citizens".

So she's still at it, like a broken record. Any parent that smacks their children obviously need to be dragged off to the courts, because their children are not safe.

The law makes smacking illegal. Parents think they should not be classed as criminals for smacking, even if the police investigate and decide prosecution is not in the "public interest".

Sue thinks the government gets to order parents around. She has forgotten its the parents that give power to the government, and they get to tell the government when those powers are stepping over the mark. They just have.

Respect democracy Bradford. Your parents have overwhelmingly declared "eat your greens".

Angus said...

Any regular readers of Richard Prebble's "Letter From Wellington" will recall in the early 2000's that it was one of Helen Clark's primary aspirations to get an anti-smacking bill before the house of Parliament.

But being cautious not to make it a Labour Government initiative and face a backlash, she allowed an equally ardent far-left zealot like Sue Bradford to become the procurator of the bill - marketed ostensibly to protect the "chooldrin" of course

In effect, this appalling bill was Clark's all along.

graham roberts said...

get used to it
The law is not going to be repealed
Parents are not being arrested taken off and put in cells
Just a waste of 9 million to appease the looney christian right.

This is exactly the kind if sickening, insidious intrusion by the state into the lives of good families that the Nats should be reversing.
jez mate get a life you sound like a nutter

Lucia Maria said...


Wow. Makes me wonder what Helen told John before they passed the bill together. Has she still got something that she's hanging over him that makes him risk infuriating NZ over this. Most intriguing.

Lucia Maria said...


You're right, parents won't be arrested, not so many that it would matter. But, all other parents will fear harassment by the police. Every time they discipline their children, they'll be looking around to see who is watching and who might report them.

Obviously a state of affairs that you are comfortable with. And John Key and the National Party is comfortable with. Most disturbing.

graham roberts said...

If parents fear harassement from the police then thay have clearly been heavily influenced by the hype that surrounds this issue.
How many people have been prosecuted for smacking the kids since the law was introduced ?
The police say its working,, the agencies that work with kids say its working
whats the problem ?
Key et al said that the law would not be changed as it is working.
All that has happened is 9 mill has been wasted
I read Larry Baldrick wants the law changed so he can hit kids with kitchen implements. what's that all about?
surely none can support that.
Its all a big fuss about nothing

ZenTiger said...

What's the problem? I've done several posts about the problem.

If it's all a big fuss about nothing, lets reverse the law, or consider an amendment.

The law was working prior to this.

I.M Fletcher said...

Graham, I could show you the stories here on the vote no site of parents that have been affected, or this story of a wellington man who pleaded with CYFS to help him with his troublesome daughter but instead got convicted for smacking her "once, on the top of the leg".

It's only going to get worse, too.

If that does not influence you, then how about the referendum results? We put those people in Parliament to do OUR will, not to impose THEIR will on us - especially the will of radicals like Sue Bradford.

Now, the country has spoken; it's will is obvious. Whether you like it or not, the great majority of the country does not like the law (New Zealanders still have some common sense).

Are you saying that that democratic will and rights of the people of this country should not be followed, in favour of a law put forward by liberal elements in the Govt? I say NO!

graham roberts said...

The law was working prior to this.
er No it wasn't
In an effort to understand Larry et el
I recently read this page seems to be two schools of thought
really interesting

Leonidas said...

At the end of the day, what the "yes" bloc are saying is that they don't trust 12 adults to make the right decision, having seen ALL THE FACTS.

graham roberts said...

The referendum result means sweet FA
I didn't bother voting
Now if the question were
* Should children be entitled to the same protection from physical assaults as everyone else enjoys?
* Should the law allow parents and carers to hit or smack children when they misbehave?
Then i would have taken part
The word ‘good’ before ‘parental correction’ makes a value judgment which predetermines the answer. People answering the question will be drawn to answer ‘no’ on the basis that what is ‘good’ cannot be ‘bad’ (that is, criminal). It would be absurd to answer ‘yes’ because it would saying that an action which is good should be a criminal offence.
The term ‘parental correction’ is confusing in the context of the question. Because ‘force by way of correction’ was used in the old s59, it is often used as meaning ‘correction by the use of force’ or physical punishment. To speak of a ’smack as part of parental correction’ is repetitious and circular.

I.M Fletcher said...

At the end of the day, I have to say that it is Sue Bradford that has a problem. If she believes that a smack on the hand is "violence against children" then she has a problem. If she believes that 88% of this country have just voted for "violence against children" then she has a problem. Does she really think that 88% want the ability to be violent toward their kids?

If not, then there must be something wrong with her thinking: she needs counseling or some other kind of help. I don't say this in order to be mean, but it is the truth. Perhaps it is a guilt complex engendered in the raising of her own kids that she is now foisting upon the whole country - I do not know; but something is not right there.

KG said...

"How many people have been prosecuted for smacking the kids since the law was introduced ?"
Not the point. You're a real deep thinker, aren't you?
Have you ever considered the effects of non-objective laws and the dangers of leaving prosecution to the 'discretion' of the police?
The effect of such laws is to hem people in with a myriad of vague restrictions, regulations and laws to the point where the ordinary, decent citizens no longer know whether they're breaking a law or a regulation as they go about their normal daily business.
This gives the State and unelected bureaucrats enormous discretionary power over us all and produces a Stasi-like mentality where people are happy to inform on their neighbours for all kinds of motives.

I.M Fletcher said...

graham, the clerk of the house already made some changes before the question went out. It was thought to be quite clear. Also the phrase about "good parental correction" was taken straight from the law itself (as I understand from watching the Bradford debate on Triangle TV last night).

You are trying to make a tangle of a one line question that is quite easily understood. Sometimes a thing can be analyzed too much

ZenTiger said...

Graham, you are way off point.

The law bans smacking, the referendum indicates smacking shouldn't be banned. You want to end child abuse, this isn't the way to do it.

Why don't you ban all driving to stop dangerous drivers?

Why don't you ban all disagreements so they do not escalate into violent arguments?

Why don't you ban sodomy?

The fact that *real* child abuse is ongoing, that this law has made no impact on that, and that children who are disciplined in a loving family grow up fine is enough reason.

Furthermore, everything you say has been rebutted many times, in the many posts on this blog and others. Use our tags.

And note the people arguing to reverse the law were not arguing to enforce their child-rearing values on you. They were not arguing to discourage positive parenting and enshrine in the law all parents shall now smack in discipline to raise productive members of society. It was the anti-smackers making the value judgment that it is better to make everyone who smacks technically guilty, and ask the state to decide how hard they push the issue.

The anti-smackers are therefore also guilty of intolerance. Yet the Greens pretend to preach tolerance. Actually, it's "tolerate anything we want, and ban everything else", hence anti-smacking. Even Sue Bradford admitted she wasn't actually trying to reduce child abuse, she just wants smacking banned.

Which is ultimately why the referendum needs to be respected.

We debated. It was evident that your "side" would not tolerate any accommodation, so over 300,000 people exercised their democratic right to ask for a referendum.

Clark tried to derail it, and weakened the result by not holding it at the election. Key tried to derail it by saying he would ignore the result.

The Greens tried to confuse the issue by not acknowledging that the essence of the question speaks directly to the law as it now stands, not the empty promises of how it will be applied.

The referendum went ahead and the result was solid.

Respect democracy.

Andrei said...

From the fellows at the Standard comes the ultimate in disconnection
from reality

Referendum results

Unfortunately that tells us nothing about whether New Zealanders want to repeal the law.

ZenTiger said...

The above link didn't work, so here it is again.

The Standard Spin on the Results

I.M Fletcher said...

Also, I think that the phrasing of the referendum question is largely irrelevant. The debate over smacking has been going on now for at least two years, and I don't think that there would have been anyone in New Zealand who didn't know exactly what it was about and what they were being asked.

Anonymous said...

Good CIR result - no confusion about what Key must do. Change the law.

I prefer the old S59 most of all, but if that is ruled out, I then favour Larry Baldock's suggestion of tweaking Bradfords S59 by repealing the correction clauses - clause 2 & 3. That would allow smacking without saying how smacking should be done, but limit prevention & correction to the 4 reasons given. This would legally curtail child abusers a bit (those that beat with concrete and sticks, etc).

But most of all, this S59 issue is about democracy. It seems clear now that we should be changing our Parliamentary system - MPs are far too prone to ignoring the public will.

I favour shifting to STV electorates only (no MMP or party vote), with recall referenda for each electorate to hold MPs acountable to their community. Top it off by making CIR binding. That should do it for a start - let's see 'em ignore us then ;)

graham roberts said...

Thought this was interesting hat tip cheeky(standard)

Corporal punishment in the home:

* Austria – illegal since 1989
* Bulgaria – illegal since 2000
* Croatia – illegal since 1999
* Costa Rica – illegal since 2008
* Cyprus – illegal since 1994
* Denmark – illegal since 1997
* Finland – illegal since 1983
* Germany – illegal since 2000
* Greece – illegal since 2007
* Hungary – illegal since 2004
* Iceland – illegal since 2003
* Israel – illegal since 2000
* Latvia – illegal since 1998
* Moldova – illegal since 2009
* Netherlands – illegal since 2007
* Norway – illegal since 1987
* Portugal – illegal since 2007
* Romania – illegal since 2004
* Sweden – illegal since 1979.
* Spain – illegal since 2007
* Ukraine – illegal since 2004
* Uruguay – illegal since 2007
* Venezuela – illegal since 2007

graham roberts said...

So the law is not going to change and you will carry on smacking and not one of you will get arrested
Surely if you are going to get the country to spend 9 mil
you should ask a straight question.
and yes I know you all think that the question was fine
but the point a lot of people think that it wasn't and so diluted your point
shame as 9 mil is a shit lot of money to waste
The law is here to stay I would get used to it if I was you
There are plenty of other much more important issues to get wound up about

graham roberts said...

Why don't you ban all driving to stop dangerous drivers?

Why don't you ban all disagreements so they do not escalate into violent arguments?

Why don't you ban sodomy?

All of which have no relevance whatsoever

It ok though you carry on smacking if you must But please don't use kitchen implements as Larry Baldrick is proposing, that's not a good look .. trust me

Leonidas said...

"shame as 9 mil is a shit lot of money to waste"

1: with a 54% turnout, it's a success (for a cir)
2:Understand, that $9mill should come out of Clark's pocket, no-one else's.

Please answer this question: why don't you trust a jury to decide what is abuse?.

Bogusnews said...


if you didn't bother voting, what the heck are you doing standing up for this? You obviously have contempt for the democratic process.

Further, I'll spend up to 200K on each of my children during their lifetime. I utterly resent the fact that this law allows some faceless nameless official into my home that has never and will never spend a cent on them, yet they are allowed to tell me how I have to raise them.

Do you even have kids Graham? If so, why do you think your way of raising them is so much better than mine that you have the right to force your approach onto me? Quite frankly, your arrogance is breath taking.

I.M Fletcher said...

graham, and has violence against children gone down in any of those countries? I know that in Sweden there are more reports of violence between children now and children against parents.

Interesting to see that not a lot of the main countries like the US, England, Australia, India, France, South Africa have banned it.

KG said...

This issue is no longer about smacking children.
It's now about where political power in this country resides--with the people, or with politicians and bureaucrats and academics.

Anonymous said...

Have folks seen the Yes vote response to the referendum? I have posted a response spoofing their response ad. It is quite staggering to see some of the dishonest 'reasoning', and the open call for MPs to ignore an overwhelming electoral outcome.

ZenTiger said...

Well said kg. This is exactly where the issue is heading.

graham roberts said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
KG said...

Graham, fer cryin out loud, up the meds!

Leonidas said...

Graham, we don't want to HIT our kids, just the right to administer a light smack, when the situation calls for it. Now, ffs, answer my question please.

ZenTiger said...

Graham Roberts said (before I deleted it for inappropriate language):

Look its wrong to hit children
Just cos you lot can't see it doesn't make it right
Ok its WRONG to hit children
that's the message
Its just plain wrong
spin it how you like its just *** wrong
But surprise surprise you are not going to get prosecuted if you do hit children
But lets hope it makes you think about it
Why would anyone want to hit children anyway?
There are laws stopping you hitting animals
There are laws stopping you hitting adults
But you want to continue hitting kids
Its **** unbelievable
Have you read the foreign press reports?
How do you think this makes NZ look to the rest of the world?
Larry wants to hit kids with a wooden spoon ffs its disgusting and you should all be ashamed of yourselves
You do not NEED to hit kids and if you feel you do .then go seek help...

ZenTiger said...

But surprise surprise you are not going to get prosecuted if you do hit children

Oh Graham, you sound so disappointed that parents will not be thrown in jail and their kids adopted out to child molesters because little Johnny got a smack for ongoing inappropriate behaviour.

I hope your job has nothing to do with child welfare, as your inability to differentiate or understand graduations of force, and the context in which it is applied would see you causing more harm than good to average families.

Argue for better education and tools to help parents, sure. You will find little disagreement here.

Just keep your hysterical view of smacking out of the law.

Leonidas said...

Calling Graham,come in Graham.......

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