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    Anti-Smacking Law, One Year On

    By admin | May 2, 2008

    Thanks Andy for reminding us again of this dark moment in New Zealand’s history 12 months ago. Visit Andy’s site to make comments on this:


    Anti-Smacking Law, One Year On

    One year ago, on 2 May 2008, Sue Bradford’s Anti-Smacking Bill passed it’s third reading. The bill had the numbers to pass, however the entire National party turned 180 degrees and all National MPs were forced to vote in favour of the bill.

    Just hours before, John Key and Helen Clark had come to an agreement for a “compromise” on the bill. ACT Party leader, Rodney Hide had this to say, on 3 May:

    “I arrived back in the country jetlagged and flew onto Wellington to learn that an historic peace had broken out with Helen Clark and John Key agreeing to a compromise on the smacking bill. Good on John Key I thought. He’s taken the high ground and made a difference. That’s what I thought. Until I saw the amendment. It makes no difference. Of course, the police have the discretion whether to prosecute. If anyone knows that, it’s Helen Clark!! This
    amendment just confirms it and then adds the confusing terms “inconsequential” and “public interest”. – Rodney Hide: “Ammendment makes no difference”

    The ammendment was the new subsection 4 of Section 59 of the Crimes Act, 1961, and reads:

    (4) To avoid doubt it is affirmed that police have the discretion not to prosecute complaints against parents of any child, or those standing in place of any child, in relation to an offence involving the use of force against a child where the offence is considered to be so inconsequential

    However, the ridiculous thing is that this “inconsequential” clause was already a part of the law in New Zealand, and applies to all cases where police are considering prosecution.

    Sue Bradford’s bill to repeal Section 59 of the Crimes act
    Criminalises parents who elect to lightly smack their child(ren) occasionally.

    Everyday mums and dads.

    The bill for repeal passes with

    113 votes for. 93% of the members of Parliament. 17% to 32% of New Zealanders
    Labour, National, Maori, Greens, Progressive, Peter Dunne (United Future), 4 members of NZ First

    votes against. 7% of the members of
    Parliament. 68% to 83% of New Zealanders
    ACT, Gordon Copeland (ex United Future), Taito Philip Field (ex Labour), 3 NZ First, Judy Turner (United Future)

    And on 21 May 2008, the Governor General abandoned his duty of protecting New Zealand citizens from bad law that had managed to get through the parliamentary process – and gave consent to the bill becoming law.

    On Thursday 21 June 2007, the law came into effect.

    New Zealand has not forgotten this dark moment in her history. This will make itself evident at the 2008 election.

    To read the rest and to make comments on this go to:


    Topics: Blogs, Section 59 - MPs, Section 59 - The Bill | No Comments »