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    Open Letter to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

    By admin | August 26, 2009

    Larry Baldock

    Larry Baldock

    The Kiwi Party
    Press Release

    Open Letter to the Prime Minister of New Zealand,
    Parliament,
    Wellington

    26 August, 2009

    Dear Prime Minister,

    As you are aware I have led and organised the recent Citizens Initiated Referendum on the amendment to section 59 of the Crimes Act that has given all New Zealanders a chance to voice their strongly held views on a controversial subject. This was only possible because of the support given by a marvellous group of volunteers who gave their time and resources freely.

    An important part of that group, at least in the first months of the campaign, were many of your Caucus members who strongly opposed the Sue Bradford’s bill, and actively collected signatures for the petition to force the referendum.

    Given this common history in the referendum, and the very strong result, it would seem reasonable then that I may have been invited by you to discuss some proposals to address the widespread concerns of the majority of this country’s citizens.

    In contrast, I have learnt from news reports that, prior to the referendum results being announced you have been involved in discussions with those we discover now only represent just fewer than 12 percent of the Referendum vote, such as Sue Bradford and Deborah Morris-Travers. In fact it seems that advisors from the ‘Yes” vote coalition are literally crawling all over our ‘House of Representatives.’

    I shall therefore endeavour to communicate my concerns through this open letter and hope you may grant me an opportunity for personal dialogue as well.

    The final results show that 87.4 percent voted ‘No!’ This means more New Zealanders voted ‘No’ in this referendum than voted for the National party in the 2008 elections and that the turnout at 56 percent was higher than for the referendum on MMP in 1992.

    Your views about the rights of parents and your disapproval of the way the Helen Clark-led government ignored the majority opposition to the Bradford law are well known and documented. This makes your current position very difficult to understand and impossible to justify or defend.

    When you try to reassure concerned parents with your personal promises, it seems, from the outside at least, that you are falling prey to the attitude that your predecessor developed wherein she thought as Prime Minister her opinion mattered more than anyone else’s, and that it was within her power to take care of everyone.

    With all due respect John, you will not be Prime Minister forever. If you leave the Bradford law on our statutes any future government will be able to change the police and CYFS policy guidelines by executive decree, without reference to the democratically elected House of Representatives. This would render your short-term proposals aimed at giving comfort to the good parents of New Zealand null and void.

    Prime Minister, good parents do not want words of comfort they want legislative change!

    Your continued claims that the ‘law is working well’ are not enhancing anyone’s view of your comprehension of what the law was supposed to do, and what it is in fact accomplishing.

    As a parliamentarian you will know that the purpose of a bill is summed up in its ‘purpose clause’.
    It is impossible to properly evaluate whether or not the law as enacted is working well, except by reference to the purpose clause of the Bill itself.

    Sue Bradford’s purpose clause was “The purpose of this Act is to amend the principal Act to make better provision for children to live in a safe and secure environment free from violence by abolishing the use of parental force for the purpose of correction”.

    Here in clause 4 of her Bill we have the purpose and the means of achieving that purpose, defined very clearly, namely to reduce violence towards children (child abuse) by abolishing the use of parental force for correction!

    The continued abuse and sickening deaths of children since the Bill was passed is proof that it is not achieving that purpose. The awful abuse continues, and Sue Bradford herself readily admits, “My bill was never intended to solve this problem”. (National Radio Dec 2007)

    So not only is the law not working, but also that lofty goal has long since been abandoned by its sponsor!

    When you claim that no good parents are being criminalised I think you are referring to ‘prosecuted’.  The police records do indicate that the numbers of prosecutions are low at this point for smacking or minor acts of discipline offences, but the truth is that every parent that continues to use a smack for correction is automatically criminalised.

    After all, wouldn’t we consider a thief a criminal once they stole possessions that were not their own, regardless of whether they were caught by the police and prosecuted? After being found guilty in court their status would then be changed to that of a convicted criminal.

    The number of prosecutions by the police of good parents is therefore not evidence of whether the law is working or not.

    The law has an effect on every good parent in this country even if a single prosecution has not been laid.

    You may not have had to deal with the circumstances created when your child comes home from school to announce that they had been informed that they should report Mummy or Daddy to the teacher if they are smacked, but many have.

    Your proposal to solve this dilemma appears to be that parents should wilfully break the law of the country, while disciplining their children for breaking the rules within the family home! This forces many parents into the awful position of a hypocritical ‘do as I say, not do as I do’ type parenting which should not be recommended by anyone, least of all the Prime Minister.

    A useful test of the efficacy of the new law might be to determine how many more prosecutions the police are bringing before the courts against real child abusers. This is because supporters of the amendment to Sec 59 constantly claim that the police were hindered from prosecuting real child abusers because the previous Sec 59 defence of reasonable force meant they could easily be acquitted. They claimed that as a result the police were not even bothering to bring charges against these criminals.

    This of course was not supported by a proper study of case law over the past 15 years, or the police statistics.

    However, if this is the justification for the new law we should have seen a dramatic increase in the number of police prosecutions for crimes against our children, given that any use of force by parents for correction is now prohibited.

    Police records and statements by Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope in the last police report on the new law saying that “its business as usual for the police” clearly confirms that the law is not working in that regard.

    There is only one way in which it could be claimed the law is working, (though I cannot believe that this is what you mean), and that it is that progress is being made towards the total abolition of the use of parental force for the purpose of correction.

    While prosecutions at this stage are low, the latest police report confirms that the police have issued a considerable number of warnings. What is the purpose of those warning Prime Minister? Does not a warning imply that the police have informed the traumatised family members that have just been subject to an investigation that they should not use force for the purpose of correction again, or else prosecution would likely follow. Surely that must be the case.

    Because the purpose of the law is to ultimately stop parents from using any force for the purpose of correction!

    All your promises and words of comfort are meaningless since the police are to be independent in enforcing the law in New Zealand. We have had enough of the police asking the PM whether they should prosecute or not with ‘paintergate’ and the failure to prosecute Heather Simpson over the illegal spending of taxpayer money in the 2005 elections.

    New Zealanders are not stupid and they were not confused about the referendum question. They have understood from the very beginning what Sue Bradford and her supporter’s real intentions were. Surely you are not unaware of her motives, or have you now joined with her and the UN in their plan to run our country?
    That plan was made clear in the Green party’s first press release back in 2003 when they announced they had drafted an ‘anti-smacking law’ to “stop parents physically punishing their children in line with UN demands.”

    A recent survey confirmed a reduction in the number of parents using smacking for correction, which is not surprising given that it has been a criminal offence for the last two years. Unfortunately, such a decline has not resulted in a less violent society.

    I guess this does reveal though, that the law is indeed working, but is that what you and the National party were committed to? Have you really become so aligned with Sue Bradford and the 12 percent minority of the country who view all discipline as violence, that you are pleased with this outcome?

    If so, it must be said that your party has made a flip-flop in policy between May and June 2007, without consultation with your supporters, sufficient to make the 1984 Labour government look like angels of democracy!

    Given that a recent Colmar Brunton poll showed that 90 percent of National Party voters were going to vote ‘no,’ and that the result from your own electorate was about the same, surely there are many of your loyal voters who would be shocked at the change in your views on parenting?

    One of the things that made a positive impression on me, when I discussed with you how you would vote on the Prostitution Law Reform Act back in 2003, was that you said that when you were made aware of your electorates’ opposition to the proposed bill, you felt you were obligated to represent them and vote against the law.

    Surely you have not abandoned your principles in just a few short years?

    Prime Minister I have no personal interest in becoming your enemy, but I will speak up on behalf of 87.4 percent of Kiwis who voted ‘No’.

    Many of these people feel they have lost all hope of being heard by politicians in their own country. As my wife and I criss-crossed the country many times over the 18 months in which we collected signatures to force the referendum, we encountered a great deal of despair and distrust towards parliamentarians. Having been one myself, this saddened me a great deal.

    I know that most MPs generally work hard and try to do what they can to make New Zealand a better place.

    However, we both know that most Kiwis do not evaluate their MPs on the basis of their daily activities but on events like this, when there is a clear choice to be made between listening to the wishes of the people or following ones own ideas or political agenda.

    Given the current political landscape where both the Government and the ‘Queens Loyal Opposition’ MPs in this country are refusing to listen to the voice of the people and stand up for democracy, it is entirely possible that you may be able to disregard this referendum and survive politically for a few more years.

    I am absolutely convinced however, that you will do almost irreparable harm to our democracy, and strike a deep wound in the hearts of so many of your countrymen and countrywomen.

    I humble urge you to reconsider your current position,

    Yours sincerely

    Larry Baldock

    Topics: CIR Petition, News Media/Press Releases, Referendum | 5 Comments »

    5 Responses to “Open Letter to the Prime Minister of New Zealand”

    1. National is ignoring NZ, now NZ is going to ignore National. | Family Integrity Says:
      August 27th, 2009 at 10:31 pm

      […] Open Letter to the Prime Minister of New Zealand […]

    2. Dean Carter Says:
      August 28th, 2009 at 2:22 am

      Extremely dissapointed in decision by National to ignore the people’s vote. When 13% of the people make decisions for the 87% this is a very poor state indeed. John Key’s will earn integrity and respect even if he came out and said “I dont personally support the need for a change of legislation but the people clearly are asking for one and I must respect that and champion their democratic right”

    3. Peter Says:
      August 28th, 2009 at 12:20 pm

      In a world that has been caught by the cult of personality, some politicians such as our Prime Minister can become confused with their success at the polling booth. They can begin to believe that this contest has elected them as the brightest person in the land. They rely on well chosen publicity shots and touch up artists to always look the part.

      Yet, as each day passes their lack of virtue shines out across the land and like Dorian Gray they are one day discovered for who they truly are.

      Mr Prime Minister, you are currently, installed in our most public leadership position. Do us proud by taking the high ground and demonstrating courage to lead this nation. Give us a reason to respect you as a person, and a leader. Display the character that has become so uncommon in many leaders today.

      I urge you to meet with Larry Baldock who has worked tirelessly to bring about this peaceful resolution to a problem that is so obviously troubling many people.

      I for one do not need my children to see another person in leadership demonstrate a lack of virtue. They need to grow up with role models that inspire them to greatness. Show is the way Prime Minister.

    4. Michael Thorne Says:
      August 30th, 2009 at 9:17 am

      Dear Prime Minister,

      It was a great disappointment to hear that you are not listening to the voice of the New Zealand nation when it spoke in the recent anti-smacking referendum saying an emphatic NO to the criminalizing of parents who use a light smack to correct their children. I want you to clearly understand that I view this betrayal of the democratic process VERY seriously. As a result I also want you to know that if you do not reconsider your position and address this situation honestly by ensuring that parents can smack their children lightly without being placed in a position where they can be be criminalized (repeal the law currently in place), you leave my family and I with no other option but to move our vote to another party.

      Yours faithfully,

      Michael Thorne

    5. peter petterson Says:
      September 5th, 2009 at 2:19 am

      The last election was just a great con – overall Labour had ben a good government for most of our people. People wanted change because they had enough of the nanny state. Kiwis like a nanny state and the government doing things for them. Many people didn’t understand that much of the controversial legislation was actually about protecting minority groups. The prostitution law was about protecting ‘working women’ from the police, for one thing. Civil Unions: Was it needed; probably not. There were other ways to achieve the same goal. But so what. Who really cares! Etc etc.

      The bad world economic situation has really stuffed things up. Can John key succeed? Maybe! if he gets a second term, he will be rolled by the Bill English clique, who know Bill could never be elected as leader. The only thing preventing Labour from taking back power, may well be Phil goff!

    Comments