Newsletter 59 — Submission to Crimes Amendment Bill

I’ve attached a sumbission I’ve already written on this “anti-smacking bill”. You are free to borrow whatever you find useful for your own submission.


The Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill, the one to repeal Section 59 and remove from parents the legal justification for using force — any force — with their children, effectively outlawing pro-active parenting, is before the Justice and Electoral Select Committee.

They are receiving submissions on this bill until 28 February 2006, about 3 months away.

Here is a list of the Committe members. Lobby them respectfully while preparing your submission. You need to send 20 copies of your submission to:

Clerk of the Committee
Justice and Electoral Committee
Select Committee Office
Parliament Buildings

by the 28th of February 2006.

For tips on how to prepare a submission, visit:


Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

Submission on the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill

I. Violence and abuse against children are already illegal.

A. Repeal of S. 59 is therefore redundant. There are certainly other effects that will follow repeal, and it may be that these are the real reasons why some people support repeal.

B. It appears to be a form of cultural imperialism with a minority attempting to use the power of the state to enforce its particular philosophical hegemony over the majority of New Zealanders.

C. Lawyer and MP Stephen Franks said there is no evidence in the case for repeal: “As a lawyer I am also concerned about the absence of any evidence in the case for repeal of section 59, that it will actually penetrate the consciousness of the target groups. I simply don’t believe the claims that child abuse is spread evenly through society. That is not what experienced police, judges and social workers say. It is not the case for other forms of crime. While clearly there will be violence and harsh discipline in all corners, the worst forms are disproportionately concentrated in a few thousand so-called families. And that is where the law should be directed: where the greatest good can be done.” (From his address to a Barnardos Forum in Wellington, 15 October 2001.)

II. Section 59 itself
Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 is bracketed with Section 60 in their own little sub category titled: “Powers of Discipline”. Here they are together:

59. Domestic discipline-
[(1) Every parent of a child and, subject to subsection (3) of this section, every person in the place of the parent of a child is justified in using force by way of correction towards the child, if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances.]

(2) The reasonableness of the force used is a question of fact.
[(3) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section justifies the use of force towards a child in contravention of section 139A of the Education Act 1989.]

60. Discipline on ship or aircraft-
(1) The master or officer in command of a ship on a voyage or the pilot in command of an aircraft on a flight is justified in using and ordering the use of force for the purpose of maintaining good order and discipline on board his ship or aircraft if he believes on reasonable grounds that the use of force is necessary, and if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances.

(2) Every one acting in good faith is justified in using force in obedience to any order given by the master or officer or pilot in command for the purpose aforesaid, if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances.

(3) The reasonableness of the grounds of which the use of force was believed to be necessary, and the reasonableness of the force used, are questions of fact.

A. The law as it stands recognises parents, pilots and ship captains as having legitimate authority to use limited force in order to fulfil their responsibilities to their charges, be they children or passengers.

B. Repeal of S. 59 will remove this authority from parents, but not from pilots or captains or “Everyone acting in good faith” on a ship or aircraft.

C. Section 59 clearly does not condone violence or abuse against children. It only condones force that is hedged about by two considerations: that the force is reasonable in the circumstances and that it is further used by way of correction.

D. This is a brilliant piece of legislation. It allows parents to go about their parenting tasks wherein they have to correct and discipline and train and do a myriad of tasks for their children and to their children for the children’s good, without fear of being charged with assault, since it is common for children to object and struggle against the parents’ wishes and requests and requirements.

E. If parents did not ensure, by force when necessary, that their children were fed, clothed, washed and rested properly, but only relied on their children going along with parental suggestions in these areas, the parents could be charged with neglect under Sections 152.

F. S. 59 mostly acts as a protection for parents as they go about their parenting tasks, tasks which are unique in human relationships, so that they are not constantly exposed to charges of criminal assault against their children. This is an issue because of the broadness of the Crimes Act definition of Assault.

G. Section 2 of the Crimes Act 1961 defines “assault” very broadly: “Assault means the act of intentionally applying or attempting to apply force to the person of another, directly or indirectly, or threatening by any act or gesture to apply such force to the person of another, if the person making the threat has, or causes the other to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose.” Physical contact is not needed to commit assault: all that is needed is a gesture that is subjectively interpreted by another person to mean the gesturing person is about to use force on the other person.

H. Parents do a lot more than gesture toward their children or make suggestions: they issue orders and make requirements of their children as part of their unique task to train a sense of orderliness, responsibility, propriety, work ethic, duty, etc., into their children. Paid baby sitters and/or teachers and/or other professional helpers are not expected to be responsible for this training, whereas parents are. Consequently parents will routinely follow up their verbal requests, commands and requirements with physical guidance, restraint, manoeuvrings, manipulations, pinches, taps or smacks as required.

I. Repeal of S. 59 would remove “Domestic Discipline” from the law. All parents would be legally disallowed, disempowered, unauthorised from employing discipline as it of necessity involves the use of force to ensure children follow a certain line of behaviour or refrain from a certain line of behaviour. All parents need to use force in its various forms (smacking being only one of them) as an essential and inescapable part of fulfilling their parenting responsibilities.

J. Removing this authority would remove parents’ ability to parent effectively in the same way that removing authority to use force from pilots would not legally allow them to stop passengers from hijacking the plane, lighting fires on board or opening doors at 30,000 feet. Police, the IRD and city councils would all likewise be reduced to making suggestions that people could entirely ignore if these entities could not use force to back up their demands. Parents must legally have the authority to use force, for society could not function where the children entirely ignored their parents.

K. Section 59 as worded will flex with the understandings and attitudes prevalent in the society of the day, as represented by the jury.

III. Bradford’s Bill
It is very short and has only five parts: title, commencement date, statement of purpose, repeal notice and consequential amendments. The largest part is the Explanatory Note which says:

“The purpose of this Bill is to stop force, and associated violence and harm under the pretence of domestic discipline, being inflicted on children. Presently, section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 acts as a justification, excuse or defence for parents and guardians using force against their children where they are doing so for the purposes of correction and the force used is reasonable in the circumstances. The Bill will repeal that provision. The effect of this amendment is that the statutory protection for use of force by parents and guardians will be removed. They will now be in the same position as everyone else so far as the use of force against children is concerned. The use of force on a child may constitute an assault under section 194(a) of the Crimes Act, a comparatively new provision in the criminal law, and the repeal of section 59 ought not revive any old common law justification, excuse or defence that the provision may have codified.”

A. The first sentence is misleading, for this Bill will criminalize all force, not just that associated with violence and harm.

B. This Note makes it clear that the effect of repeal is to remove protection from parents so that they will be reduced to “the same position as everyone else so far as the use of force against children is concerned.” This denies and ignores the unique relationship of responsibility for training and discipline parents are expected to have with their children.

C. Since parenting requires force of many kinds (obedience to verbal command, physical movement, smacking, intimidation, warning of negative consequences, appeal to family tradition or conscience), effective parenting will be outlawed in that parents could legally force their children to do only what “everyone else” could legally force children to do: virtually nothing.

D. The Note goes out of its way to warn parents that using force could constitute child assault under Section 194(a). It is clear that far more than unreasonable force that causes violence and harm will be caught up in this prohibition: all the other acts of parenting which require force technically will also become acts of assault.

E. The reference to excluding any common law justification demonstrates that this Bill is meant to represent a break with our historical precedents, our connection with centuries of British common law and other understandings in law and an embarkation into a brave new world.

IV. Effects of Repeal — There is the law of unintended consequences. It is a weakness of those in places of power that they tend to ignore this law because they enjoy telling others what to do and enforcing their theories with the coercive power of the state.

A. Refer to attached letters from Commissioner of Police and Minister of Police: Dr A. Jack says clearly that the ancient and nearly universal parental practice of smacking will definitely become a form of assault.

B. Dr Jack further says: “If section 59 was repealed in its entirety parents would not be authorised to use reasonable force by way of correction.” Parents’ authority over their children will be severely compromised: if they cannot even use “reasonable force”, then they clearly cannot legally use any force at all. All parents will have their hands tied.

C. Even the favoured alternative method of discipline – time out – cannot be enforced without the use of force. It will also be criminalized, meaning virtually every parent in the country will be constantly exposed to being charged with criminal assault, unless we assume either that police will not enforce the law or that parents will suddenly and completely cease disciplining their children.

D. Section 194(a) of the Crimes Act provides for a maximum two years in jail for assault upon a child under 14. Parents who today perform parenting acts that are considered by the vast majority, as being well within “reasonable force” will face prison terms after repeal since they will have no legal defence whatsoever. This is a very serious form of child abuse: to threaten and stress with fear of prosecution and to actually imprison parents for no good reason.

E. Many parents have strong convictions about the need to use smacking in certain circumstances, convictions borne of religious faith, family traditions, cultural practices and the like. These people will suddenly have their beliefs and convictions criminalized.

F. Properly conducted surveys, such as the one commissioned by the Ministry of Justice in 2001 and performed by the National Research Bureau, show that 80% of New Zealanders oppose a ban on smacking. (See

G. Parents technically commit assault, as defined in Section 2 of the Crimes Act 1961 (see point II G above), against their children all the time: i.e., whenever they impose their will upon the child.

H. Parents will be guilty of committing technical assault against their children nearly every moment of every day as they brush the child’s hair, change its clothes, wipe its bottom, make it wash its hands and eat its veggies and go to bed at a certain time, confine it to its room, etc., all of which would be acts of assault if committed on non-consenting adults.

I. Repealing S.59 will make parenting a fearful and impossible task as the parents constantly wonder when they will be charged with assault. Effective parenting will effectively be outlawed.

J. Any report that a parent had smacked a child would have to be investigated, irrespective of whether the child had suffered any harm or not. This means children from loving homes could be placed on the child protection register and forced to testify against their parents in court. The Police Commissioner has already stated that if the defence of reasonable force were to be abolished, smacking would be considered as an assault. If the parent’s employment involved work with children as a childminder, youth worker or member of school staff, the charge of child assault would almost certainly lead to the parent losing his or her job.

K. There would be a very real danger that genuinely abused children would not receive the help they need because the authorities would be spending time with families where the children were not suffering significant harm. The misappropriation of child protection resources would expose abused children to increased risk of harm.

L. If smacking were to be outlawed, some parents may resort to shouting at their children, verbally abusing them, shutting them in their room, refusing to speak to them or in other ways withdrawing tokens of their love and affection. Compared with other responses – which would remain legal – a moderate and controlled smack in the context of a warm and positive parent-child relationship is a much more kind and merciful way of dealing with a child’s misbehaviour. A well-timed smack can nip the problem in the bud, and addresses the issue there and then so that it is over and done with and family life can move on. Many other responses can be more emotionally and psychologically damaging.

M. There is also the very real danger that parents would refrain from smacking while they are in control only to lash out when they reach the end of their tether. It is at that point that serious harm can be done.

N. A simple repeal will vastly complicate our law of assault, for assault is easily proved (just look at the legal definition under point II G). Judges will have to wrestle with new distinctions, trying to avoid being forced to convict people they see as morally innocent. Many law-abiding citizens will consider this law change an ass and become contemptuous of the law. When this happens, the law loses credibility in the eyes of everyone. It causes more indecision for those who must enforce it, and more doubt about its value, and worse still, there will be more pressure on the courts to find cunning or discreditable arguments to avoid enforcing the clear words of the law.

O. MP Sue Bradford and Children’s Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro routinely say that the Police will not prosecute for “light smacks”, even though they will clearly be acts of assault. These people are advocating that the Police fail to uphold and enforce the law of the land.

P. Some of the institutions supporting Repeal, Barnardos, Plunket, Children’s Commissioner and Families Commissioner, should enjoy universal support as champions of the victims and the underdogs; but as they support such harmful unintended consequences, they are being viewed by growing numbers with suspicion, perhaps as though they are in league with a grasping and centralising nanny state that believes the children belong to it.

Q. These institutions are attacking the child rearing practices held by many families, across many religions and cultures and traditions, some of the deepest and most important cultural practices we have. They are starting to pay the price in increasing suspicion against them.

V. Refuting the Repeal Lobby’s Arguments: UNCROC – United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Many have said that NZ, as a signatory to UNCROC, is required by Article 19 to repeal Section 59 or to ban smacking in the home. Article 19 requires no such thing.

A. UNCROC Article 19 says: “States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.” This is targeting “violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation” which is obviously not at all the same as either reasonable force used by way of correction (section 59) or smacking, unless one holds the unusual opinion that reasonable force used by way of correction and traditional smacking as it is known in New Zealand are by definition the same as “violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation”. Bradford’s Bill may simply be an attempt to foist her fringe/minority definition of smacking onto everyone else in New Zealand even though the vast majority do not agree (see point IV D above).

B. Those referring to UNCROC as justification for repealing S.59 or criminalizing/banning smacking appear hypocritical in that they ignore far more numerous and pointed references in UNCROC to the need to protect the unborn child, not from potential “violence, injury or abuse” but from certain and unjustifiable death.

a. From UNCROC’s Preamble: Bearing in mind that, as indicated in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, ‘‘the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth’’

b. UNCROC Article 1: For the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.

c. UNCROC Article 2(1): States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.

d. UNCROC Article 6(1): States Parties recognise that every child has the inherent right to life.
e. UNCROC Article 6(2): States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.

f. UNCROC Article 24(1 & 2)(a) & (d): States Parties recognise the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services. States Parties shall pursue full implementation of this right and, in particular, shall take appropriate measures: (a) To diminish infant and child mortality; (d) To ensure appropriate pre-natal and post-natal health care for mothers.

VI. Refuting the Repeal Lobby’s Arguments: Hiding Abuse Behind S. 59. It is constantly asserted that abusive parents hide behind the provisions of S. 59 and that it is even used by the courts to let clear cases of abuse get off free.

A. S. 59 cannot be used to justify violence toward children. It cannot even be used to justify unreasonable force, but only “reasonable force used by way of correction”. That’s why it was placed in the Crimes Act in the first place: to nail the abusive and violent while protecting parents in their legitimate parenting activities.

B. When cases of possible abuse come before the courts or are investigated by CYFs, how often is a defence of S. 59 even attempted? “Each year Child, Youth and Family investigates more than 25,000 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect.” ( on 19 August 2005). How many times a year, out of these 25,000, is Section 59 brought up?

C. Lawyer John Hancock of Action for Children and Youth Aotearoa Inc., summarised such cases in a document titled “Parental Corporal Punishment of Children in New Zealand” for the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and dated 28 August 2003. In this document he listed only 18 cases in which Section 59 featured spanning the 13 years from 1990 to 2002. That is a mere 1.4 cases a year out of the 1,415 reported cases of child abuse/assault Statistics NZ recorded for 2004! That is, S. 59 is used as a defence in about 0.1% of the cases annually! Read the full report at:

VII. Refuting the Repeal Lobby’s Arguments: Research Demonstrates Only Negative Behavioural Outcomes from Smacking

A. Researchers fall into two camps.

a. Those who can find no demonstrable causal connection between normal smacking and negative behaviours include: Dr Diana Baumrind of U of California at Berkeley; Dr Robert Larzelere of U of Nebraska; Drs Rex Ahdar & James Allan of U of Otago.

b. Those who claim a demonstrable link include: Dr Murray Strauss, U of New Hampshire; Dr Joan Durrant, U of Manitoba; Dr Anne Smith of U of Otago.

B. They all acknowledge the near impossibility of establishing a causal link between specific events in one part of a person’s life (i.e., physical discipline as a child) among all the other events in that person’s life and events in later life (i.e., negative social behaviours).

C. According to Derek Rogusky, director of research for Focus on the Family Canada, many studies lump abuse and disciplinary spanking together. “However, the studies done that differentiate between abuse and spanking show kids who are occasionally spanked, in a loving and caring environment with other forms of discipline also used, are very well adjusted.” (See )

D. Dr Larzelere said in his paper “Child Abuse in Sweden”, “Durrant and I used the identical data source to arrive at nearly opposite conclusions.” Quoting statistics has limited or no value in determining the harm or benefits of repealing Section 59. (See .)

VIII. Refuting the Repeal Lobby’s Arguments: Extend Common Human Rights to Children the Same as to Fellow Adults

A. This is a ridiculous argument as it pre-supposes a parent’s relationship to his own child is not essentially any different from his relationship to other adults outside the family.

B. One doesn’t smack other adults for the same reason one doesn’t try to change their clothes or bathe or feed them. When a person has reached adulthood he is assumed to have matured to a place of independence and is self-governing.

C. Children by definition have not reached maturity nor are they independent or self-governing. They are dependent upon their parents who are responsible to train and discipline the children toward this happy state of independence.

D. There are those cases wherein one would change and feed and bathe another adult: when that adult is in a degenerating condition (not maturing) due to illness and/or old age; plus the one caring for the adult has a special responsibility and authority to do so. We find this authority in nurses, rest home employees and parents.

IX. Refuting the Repeal Lobby’s Arguments: We Need to Send a Signal to Society that Violence Will Not Be Tolerated

A. If this society or this Government were serious about signals, they could sack the Abortion Supervisory Committee and slam the Certifying Consultants into jail for illegally allowing abortions on demand, which was surely not the intention of the CSA Act, yet children are systematically killed at the rate of 50 per day, 18,500 last year.

B. Charge school bullies with assault.
C. Fire the top two film censors in this country for not doing their job properly, polluting this country with possibly the vilest and most degrading, gory and sexualised violence ever recorded.

D. Tell the TV and video-games people to take their gratuitously violent and gory shows somewhere else. The truly harmful effects of TV and video violence are well known and well documented (the school shootings at Jonesboro, Arkansas; Paducah, Kentucky; Pearl, Mississippi; Stamps, Arkansas; Conyers, Georgia; and of course, Columbine High in Littleton, Colorado; see Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie and Video Game Violence by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and Gloria DeGaetano). 1

X. The Most Accurate Predictor of Child Abuse Is “Family” or Household Structure.

A. Analysis of British data by the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., shows that compared with the intact married family, serious child abuse is: six times higher in the step-family; 14 times higher in families with single mothers (divorced and single mothers combined); 20 times higher in families with single fathers (predominantly divorced fathers); 20 times higher with de facto biological parents; and 22 times higher where the mother cohabits with a boyfriend. (See . Also Greg Fleming, Managing Director of the Maxim Institute, New Zealand Herald, 25 June 2002, ‘Parents need secure option before giving up smacking.’)

XI. Conclusion

A. Ministry of Social Development should direct the Police and CYFs to start keeping statistics on the household structure of cases of child abuse.

B. Drop the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill as unworkable and as ushering in too many very damaging unintended consequences. Leave Section 59 intact just as it is.

1. Family Fact of the Week: Video Violence
“Based on an examination of the research that shows the negative influences of violence in interactive media on youth, the American Psychological Association (APA) today adopted a resolution recommending that all violence be reduced in video games and interactive media marketed to children and youth. Additionally, the APA also encourages parents, educators and health care providers to help youth make more informed choices about which games to play. …Research on media violence also revealed, that perpetrators go unpunished 73 percent of the time in all violent scenes. ‘Showing violent acts without consequences teach youth that violence is an effective means of resolving conflict. Whereas, seeing pain and suffering as a consequence can inhibit aggressive behavior’, says psychologist Elizabeth Carll, PhD, co-chair of the Committee on Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media.”
(Source: “APA Calls for Reduction of Violence in Interactive Media used by Children and Adolescents,” American Psychological Association Press Release, August 17, 2005; )
Family Quote of the Week: Game Aggression
“[V]ideo games differ from more passive mediums, such as comic books, in one important way. ‘They are interactive, [Kimberly Thompson] said. ‘When you play a video game you get feedback, you’re rewarded.’ In fact, her investigation into a wide range of popular, teen-rated games found that ‘players were being rewarded for committing acts of violence. So basically, violence becomes just a part of how you move on in the game.’ Parents who are concerned that their child is spending too much time staring into a video game screen do have options, [Kevin] Kieffer said. ‘Parents need to go out of their way to involve youth in other activities,’ said Kieffer, who is also a counseling psychologist. Too often, he said, parents use gaming as a way of keeping kids occupied. ‘It’s easy to say “I’m going to plug you into your Gameboy or video game player — go have a good time for a couple of hours so I can do what I need to do.”‘ …’The real issue is to set up a relationship with your children, a relationship where you can fully discuss these issues,’ Kieffer said. ‘It all boils down to communication, which a lot of families lack these days.’ ‘We do know that when it comes to kids and games, learning happens,’ Thompson said. ‘So you really have to ask, just what is it they are learning?’”
(Source: E.J. Mundell, “Violent Video Games Spur Aggression in Kids,” HealthDay, August 19, 2005; )
Family Research Abstract of the Week: Vulnerable to Violence
Teens (especially boys) who have been exposed to violence-either as a victim or as a witness-are much more likely to commit acts of violence themselves than are peers not so exposed. Researchers investigating the way exposure to violence pushes young adolescents toward violent acts do not, however, see this pathological pattern equally prevalent in all social settings: this pattern of violence begetting violence typically shows up among teens denied the stabilizing influence of an intact parental marriage. In a study conducted for the National Institute of Justice, criminologists Stacey Nofziger and Don Kurtz recently parsed data collected in 1995 as part of the National Survey of Adolescents, looking particularly for circumstances linking youthful exposure to violence to subsequent violent juvenile crime. Much as they had expected, the researchers find that “exposure to violence has serious consequences for violent offending,” with “experiences of violence in the juveniles’ lives all serv[ing] as substantial risk factors for violent offending.” However, despite theoretical reasons for supposing that low family income and urban residence would foster adolescent violence and that high family income and rural residence would inhibit such violence, in their initial analysis of their data the researchers find that “neither family income nor where the juvenile lives are significant risk factors.” In contrast, their analysis reveals a strong influence of family structure: “Always having lived with both biological parents appears to be a protection against violent offending (O[dds] R[atio] .463) [ p < 0.001].” In a second analysis that takes into account both increasing levels of exposure to violence and differences in types of victimization, family income still fails to predict violent teen offenses, but place of residence does emerge as a predictor, with “juveniles living in small towns and rural communities … significantly less likely to engage in violent offenses” than urban peers. And the second analysis once again confirms the deterrent effect of “always having lived with both biological parents” (Odds Ratio of .578; p < 0.001). The researchers conjecture that parental marital status may reduce the likelihood of teens’ violent offending in a couple ways. First, an intact parental marriage “greatly influence[s] the economic stability of the family with two parents generally being able to provide greater economic resources.” Second, an intact parental marriage “increase[s] the family networks” in ways that “increas[e] the likelihood of spending time with family members.” Though both conjectures are plausible, readers may recall that neither of the researchers’ statistical models establishes a linkage between household income and teen offending and may therefore regard the second conjecture as more compelling than the first. Teens who spend leisure with aunts, uncles, and cousins are much less likely to pick up a switchblade than peers spending their spare time on the streets with strangers.
(Source: Stacey Nofziger and Don Kurtz, “Violent Lives: A Lifestyle Model Linking Exposure to Violence to Juvenile Violent Offending,” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 42 [2005]: 3-26)

Equipping parents to do battle to protect the integrity of their family

Newsletter #60 — The Core issue

Dear Friends,

As I’ve gone over this Bill of Sue Bradford’s to ban smacking and repeal
Section 59 and as I’ve gone over Section 59 again and again, it seems
clear that the real debate is no longer over smacking: it is over
parental authority.

Repeal of Section 59 will remove from law the section that is titled
“Domestic Discipline” and will remove any legal justification for
parents to use ANY force with their children for ANY reason.

If you cannot use force, you cannot back up your authority.

Every parent has some non-negotiable requirements of their children as
well as some non-negotiable prohibitions. Call it what you like, but at
the end of the day, this is the parent forcing his/her will upon the
child, regardless of what the child thinks or feels.

If you cannot use force with your children, it means you effectively no
longer have any authority over them. If police, IRD, city councils,
etc., could not use force to back up their demands on us, they could
only issue “suggestions” which we could obey or ignore…and we could
totally ignore them if they could not use force (penalties, sanctions,
etc.) So they would have no real authority because they could not back
it up with force.

This is what Bradford’s Bill will do: remove parental recourse to force
and thereby destroy all real parental authority over their own children.
This is far worse than just banning smacking.

In addition, this is Bradford forcing her religious world view regarding
pedagogy (the nature of children) onto the entire population and
removing from law the Christian pedagogy enshrined in Section 59.
Section 59 allows pacifist and new age and Christian parenting styles to
co-exist in society: Bradfords Bill will criminalise Christian
parenting, demonstrating how intolerant her world view is toward
Christian concepts of children and child-rearing.

Section 59 is already intolerant of violence, injury and abuse: it only
justifies force that is “by way of correction” and “reasonable in the
circumstances”. Bradford and co. have an extreme religious world view
that somehow equates reasonable corrective force used by parents on the
one hand with violence, injury and abuse abhorred by all on the other
hand. Repeal of Secion 59 will establish in our law code their extreme
world view against parents exercising their authority over their own

This Bill will effectively transfer most authority over children and all
use of force towards children from their parents to the state.

This Bill is the most dangerous and damaging and worst piece of proposed
legislation in NZ’s history. It must be stopped.

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

Newsletter # 63 – 67 – Sample Submissions

Dear Friends,

You will find a submission toolkit at

This is a brilliant help to making a submission.

Here are samples of very short submissions one could use to protest against the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill which seeks to repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act. This Bill is supposedly to stop child abuse (which no legislation can do), and incidentally to ban smacking….but it will effectively destroy parental authority.

Send 2 copies of your submission addressed to:

Clerk of the Committee
Justice and Electoral Committee
Select Committee Office
Parliament Buildings

to arrive by 28 February 2006. Further guidelines on submission writing at:

Please get onto this straight away!

Make sure you give your full name and contact details and personally sign the submissions.


Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

Sample Submission 1

To: Justice and Electoral Select Committee,

I am opposed to the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill for the following reason:

If Section 59 is repealed it will remove from parents their legal justification in using force with their children. Parents routinely require their children to do certain things which the latter do not want to do, and they prohibit their children from doing certain things which they do want to do. This is simply a parent’s duty and responsibility. If parents cannot back up these requirements and prohibitions with force, then the parental directives are reduced to mere suggestions that they hope their children will follow. Removing the legal use of force by parents from the parenting tool box will of necessity remove most of the parents’ authority over their own children in exactly the same way that removal of recourse to force by the Police, the courts, the IRD, city councils, etc., would reduce each of these authorities to making suggestions they could not enforce on anyone.

The bottom line is that the maintenance of peace and order in the home will be rendered impossible. Is this really what the government wishes to see happen – anarchy in the home?

Conclusion: Please leave the law just as it is in this regard.

Sample Submission 2

To: Justice and Electoral Select Committee,

Please reject the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill. My reason is as follows –

Most parents would still feel a moral obligation to enforce their prohibitions and requirements with their children for reasons of ethnicity, national and familial culture, tradition, religious convictions, philosophical commitments, common sense, etc. However, given the very broad legal definition of assault in Section 2 of the Crimes Act (1), repeal of Section 59 will put virtually all acts of force by parents toward their children into the category of assault, turning the vast majority of parents into criminals.

The police will be kept so busy dealing with complaints or charges against normal loving parents, that many real child abusers will end up getting away with their crimes. This law change will not benefit the children of this land at all. It will actually end up inadvertently favouring the real criminals.

In conclusion, I would submit to you that this law should be left as it is.

Sample Submission 3

To: Justice and Electoral Select Committee,

I would like to submit my objection to the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill for this reason:

The integrity and cohesion of families will become easy targets for subversives who only need to convince children they can complain to any state agent (teachers, social workers, police, etc.), “My parents are using illegal force on me!” if they don’t want to do what their parents say, and the authorities will have to investigate. This can be highly destructive and traumatic to families.

It would only take one disaffected youth under the influence of unwise counsel, and in a rash moment, to rip a family apart in this way.

Please do not recommend this Bill to Parliament.

Sample Submission 4

To: Justice and Electoral Select Committee,

I am opposed to the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill because:

Christian parents are obligated to conform their lives to the Bible. Many such parents believe the directives on child rearing in the Bible oblige them to use force in loving chastisement and firm discipline with their children. Acting out of these religious convictions would become illegal if Section 59 were repealed, and these parents would be forced into civil disobedience toward a lower authority (Acts of Parliament) in order to be obedient toward the highest authority (the God of the Bible).

Please do not force myself and all Christian parents into disobeying the government. You will make criminals of us.

Furthermore, and in line with the above reality, repeal of Section 59 with its prohibition on parental use of force with their own children would conflict with the NZ Bill of Rights Act, which guarantees the freedom of exercise of religious beliefs and practices in this country.
[ See New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, 1990, Section 15: “Manifestation of religion and belief – Every person has the right to manifest that person’s religion or belief in worship, observance, practice, or teaching, either individually or in community with others, and either in public or in private.” Section 20: “Rights of minorities – A person who belongs to an ethnic, religious, or linguistic minority in New Zealand shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of that minority, to enjoy the culture, to profess and practise the religion, or to use the language, of that minority.”]

Therefore, I would urge the committee to reject this Bill, and leave Section 59 right where it is.

Sample Submission 5

To: Justice and Electoral Select Committee,

I would hereby urge you to oppose the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill for the following reasons:

1. This Bill to repeal Section 59 is simply an attempt to replace the Biblical Christian world-view of child rearing enshrined in law with a New Age/Secular Humanist world-view of child rearing. Section 59 reflects the Biblical Christian concept of children as being corrupted by original sin that must be disciplined, and as possessing hearts full of foolishness that must be driven out with the rod of correction. The government’s responsibility is to allow parents to do these unpleasant tasks, as long as they do them responsibly using force that is “reasonable in the circumstances”. The New Age/Secular Humanist concept is that children are basically good or basically neutral and so need little, if any, discipline, just the freedom to be themselves. The government is seen as having the primacy over parents in determining what is best for children, as if the children belong to the state and not to the parents.

2.Members of Parliament are bound to uphold the Biblical Christian world-view of child rearing, not just because the Bible in Romans 13 gives the government the legitimate power to punish evil doers and reward those who do good (wherein it is obvious that both evil and good are defined by the Bible rather than secular humanist definitions), but also because

a.MPs take office only upon making the following Oath of Allegiance: “I, ……….., swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.”
b.Allegiance to the Queen involves the oaths she made at her Coronation, answering as she did in the affirmative questions such as: “Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law?”
c.The prayer opening every session of the NZ Parliament says, “Almighty God, humbly acknowledging our need for Your guidance in all things and laying aside all personal and private interest, we beseech Thee to grant that we may conduct the affairs of this House and of our country to the glory of Thy Holy name, the maintainence of true religion and justice, the honour of the Queen and the public welfare, peace and tranquility of New Zealand, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

For the government to maintain its integrity it must reject this Bill, and uphold Section 59 as that which protects parents in the faithful exercise of their God-given right and responsibility.

Sample Submission 6

To: Justice and Electoral Select Committee,

I am against the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill for these reasons:

Pro-active parenting will be effectively criminalized with the repeal of Section 59 and given the wide definition of assault.
[Section 2 of the Crimes Act 1961: “Assault means the act of intentionally applying or attempting to apply force to the person of another, directly or indirectly, or threatening by any act or gesture to apply such force to the person of another, if the person making the threat has, or causes the other to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose.” Please note that physical contact is not needed to commit assault.]

Parents naturally bear a teacher-student, trainer-trainee, mentor-disciple, greater-lesser relationship to their children. The bill fails to recognise this basic self-evident reality, and, because it does, a very vital question the committee needs to grapple with is this:

How can parents ensure the following common daily requirements for their child without the use of some force should he/she refuse to co-operate?
a. Being clothed properly for the weather or clothed at all.
b. Eating a balanced diet.
c. Getting adequate rest.
d. Wearing a seat belt in the car and a helmet while cycling.
e. Just getting into the car
f. Accompanying the parent lest the child be left at home alone.

Another vital question to answer is this:

How could parents prohibit the following without the use of force if the child were determined to do it?
a. Drinking, smoking, ingesting or injecting either legal or illegal substances adults can be seen to consume or that the child just wants to try.
b. Watching pornographic and Adult Only rated TV shows and videos.
c. Earning money by prostitution or drug dealing.
d. Wandering off anywhere with anyone at anytime of day or night without telling anyone at home.
e. Keeping company with people likely to be injurious to the child’s well-being.
f. Lying, cheating, stealing.
g. Vandalising family property.

If Section 59 is removed, parents will have no control over such things. Who then will ensure that they happen? Please do not support this Bill as a Committee, but insist that the Crimes Act not be amended.

Sample Submission 7

To: Justice and Electoral Select Committee,

I urge the Committee to oppose the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill because:

As it stands, Section 59 protects responsible parents in their legitimate use of force to correct and train their children, and it allows for the prosecution of parents who are shown to have used force that was neither reasonable in the circumstances nor for the purpose of correction. If Section 59 is repealed, parents will have no legal authority to use any force for any reason with their children. Given the very broad legal definition of assault, all parents will be constantly exposed to the charge of criminal assault under Section 194(a) of the Crimes Act {Crimes Act 1961, Section 194a: “Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years who assaults any child under the age of 14 years.”}. There is already a fair amount of stress involved with responsible parenting, but this eventuality would be the source of crippling stress to many a good parent, as it would present a very real threat to the security of the average New Zealand family.

Assurances by the Bill’s promoters that police will exercise “common sense” and not arrest parents every time they are seen to use obvious shows of force are not the least bit comforting as they assume the police will neglect to operate according to the rule and word of the law, thereby making the whole matter an extremely arbitrary affair.

Please do not put New Zealand’s majority of responsible parents into such a dangerous and difficult position. Reject this Bill.

Sample Submission 8

To: Justice and Electoral Select Committee,

The Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill is a bad idea. Its very title is nonsense. It says, “Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline”. No one has ever used Force or the concept of Force as a justification or reason why one would discipline a child. Perhaps the Bill’s author, Sue Bradford, meant to say, “Abolition of Force as a Method of Child Discipline.”

Even were that to have been the intention, without force there can be no such thing as “child discipline”, for the whole idea of discipline is that one is forced into a certain pattern of thinking and/or behaviour that one wouldn’t naturally adopt.

This nonsense right at the beginning of the Bill, plus the disastrous side effects it would cause in society as a whole, let alone in the family particularly, demonstrate that the Bill was conceived and written in haste and carelessly considered.

It should not, therefore, be allowed to proceed any further as a piece of legislation. To go further with it would be irresponsible.

Sample Submission 9

To: Justice and Electoral Select Committee,

Here following are two reasons why I believe the Committee should oppose the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill:

1. All parents need to use force in its various forms (obedience to verbal command, physical movement, smacking, intimidation, warning of negative consequences, appeal to family tradition or conscience or culture or religious commitment, withholding privileges, physically restraining, imposing restrictions, time-out, confinement to room, etc.), to bend the reluctant or disobedient child’s will to that of the parents as an essential and inescapable part of fulfilling their parenting responsibilities. Removal of Section 59 would effectively remove from parents their legal authority to parent effectively, authoritatively and pro-actively because they would no longer be legally authorised to use force (5).

Parents would be reduced to using such poor tools as pleading with the child, bribery, emotional manipulation (eg. blackmail), all of which send the wrong message to the child, ie. that he/she is actually in control, rather than the parents.

2. If parents did not ensure, by force when necessary, that their children were fed, clothed, washed and rested properly, but only relied on their children going along with parental suggestions in these areas, the parents could be charged with neglect under Section 152 of the Crimes Act 1961.
In other words, parents are expected by law to ensure such things happen, yet these can only be accomplished, in the case of little children, by the occasional use of force.
This Bill will, therefore, put responsible parents between a rock and a hard place, because it forces them either to break the one law or the other.

Please leave the law as it stands – it makes wonderful sense, harmonising with other laws and with the reality of everyday necessity.

Sample Submission 10

To: Justice and Electoral Select Committee,

I oppose the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill for the following reason:

The government would be over-stepping the bounds of its God-given authority were it to adopt this Bill –

The Bible clearly teaches that parents have been given the responsibility, and therefore, the right to bring up their own children, in the way that God wants it done.
Parents are responsible for educating their sons and daughters about life, and for training them in right character.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 states, “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

So that no-one thinks this requirement was just for ancient Israel, we will quote from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, to non-Jews, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise) . . . Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:1,2,4.

The Bible does not charge the civil government with this responsibility, for it is a family matter. If the government passes this Bill, it will be dictating to parents how they are to train their children, thereby arrogating to itself power and authority it does not rightly possess.

Therefore, please do not allow this Bill to proceed any further. Rather, allow the law to stand as it is, protecting the responsibility and right of faithful parents to use reasonable force in order to bring up their children according to their God-given mandate.

Sample Submission 11

To: Justice and Electoral Select Committee,

There are many reasons why one might oppose the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill, but one of the major reasons is this:

If the Bill were accepted, and Section 59 removed, the government would be guilty of gross injustice.

The government would be guilty of putting faithful, loving parents, who are seeking merely to obey God’s instructions concerning the raising of their children, into the same legal category as those wretched parents who abuse their children. It will make criminals of good parents.

On the other hand, it will protect those parents who neglect to apply proper means for the discipline and training of their children in good character and habits. It will justify permissive and indulgent parenting, which results in willful, anti-social attitudes and behaviour in children as they grow older – something both harmful to the child and to society.

God is not impressed with, and will judge severely those who have been put in positions of authority but who victimize the righteous and justify the wrong-doer.
This is what God thinks of such people:
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil . . .” (Isaiah 5:20)

“He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous,
both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.” (Proverbs 17:15)

Please do not allow a Bill to be adopted by Parliament that would ipso facto promote injustice, and would call down upon this government the displeasure of the God who has put it there for the protection of the innocent and the punishment of those who do evil.

Sample Submission 12


To: Justice and Electoral Select Committee,

We petition the Committee to oppose the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill, on the grounds that it is a foolish piece of legislation.

The Bible’s book of wisdom, Proverbs, teaches that reasonable force is required in order to drive the inborn foolishness from our children. In Proverbs 22:15 it says:

“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him.”

Proverbs furthermore teaches that parents are to train their children to think and act in a certain way – a good way.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

Training implies the use of force, for it forces children in a certain direction, to do things they do not necessarily want to do, but which will ultimately be good for them, eg. to show respect for age or authority. Without the use of reasonable force such training of children for the good is impossible.

This Bill goes directly contrary to the wisdom of God as found in the Bible, and particularly in Proverbs. It is, therefore, legislating for foolishness.

Please let the Committee demonstrate its wisdom in rejecting this Bill, and leaving things as they currently stand, allowing parents to train and discipline their children in all wisdom for their good.

Sample Submission 13


To: Justice and Electoral Select Committee,

I am strongly opposed to the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill for this crucial reason:

It constitutes the imposition of one worldview onto all the people of New Zealand, regardless of their religious convictions. The Bill reflects a view of children that suggests they are basically good-hearted, and only need to be educated in order for them to choose to do right and to reject the wrong. It also assumes that children belong to the state, and not to families, and parents in particular.

On both counts I am under religious conviction to the opposite view and practice. I am conscience-bound to view my children as being naturally born with a depraved heart, and as belonging to myself as their parent (they are my children, as opposed to being Sue Bradford’s children!). The Bible convicts me of these views. It is a religious/spiritual/faith thing for me, and indeed, for all Bible-believing Christians.
This is quite apart from the fact that the majority of New Zealand’s parents, Christian or not, do not agree with Ms Bradford’s view that reasonable force by way of correction is wrong or abuse, but rather view it as necessary and beneficial.

Were this Bill to be accepted and enforced, it would force me and many a Christian parent to break the law, for we must obey God rather than the government when put to the choice between the two.

Furthermore, if a parent were to be convicted of abuse and sentenced to a term in prison, merely because he was following his religious convictions in forcing his child to do something contrary to its will, the government would be chargeable with religious persecution. The same could be said if he were to have his children taken from him.
The civil authorities would be guilty of breaching his right to the freedom of exercise of his religion.

If this Bill passes into law, the government will undoubtedly cause and face widespread civil disobedience. This is an oppressive piece of legislation, based on bad principles, and therefore will trouble this nation.

I entreat that it be voted down and not proceeded with; but that Section 59, which in no way justifies true abuse, but guards the freedom of loving parents to bring up their children according to their religious convictions and worldview, be left untouched.

Sample Submission 14


To: Justice and Electoral Select Committee,

Family Integrity is opposed to this bill for the following reasons:

1. The government has no right to do this –
God has given to parents, not the state, the responsibility of training children in right behaviour and belief. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 states, “6″These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7″You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”
And in the new Testament, in Ephesians 6:1,2,4 the Bible says, “1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. _2HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), 4Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but ()bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
This bill will greatly hinder parents in the exercise of this God-given responsibility, and therefore represents an invasion by the state into the home.

2. The government would be unjust to do this –

This bill will make criminals of wise and loving parents who, following God’s instructions, are training their children to do and think rightly concerning God and their fellow man.

God makes clear in the Bible what He thinks of those officials in positions of authority who judge according to inverted standards.
In Proverbs 17:15 it says, “15He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.”
Also in Isaiah 5:20-21 this is echoed with the following words, “20Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil . . . 21Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight!”

3. The government would be unwise to do this –

As it stands, this bill makes any form of parental training/discipline impossible, as it renders the parent unable to require anything of the child which he/she does not want to do.
Yet, the Bible teaches that children need to have discipline/training as the means to drive out of their hearts their innate foolishness (the latter involving an inclination to rebel against all God-given authority). Proverbs 22:6,15 state:
6 Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.
The book of Proverbs presents us with true wisdom. It is, therefore, foolishness to ignore or contradict its teachings, in the present case, by outlawing the necessary use of justifiable force by parents with regard to their children.

4. The government would be imposing its worldview on all citizens, thereby impinging on their right to freedom of religion –
It should be clear from the above reasons that we believe this Bill constitutes a potential attack on our religious values and practices, and would require us to act contrary to the dictates of conscience before God.
Sue Bradford is seeking to foist her worldview on all of New Zealand, in spite of the fact that most parents do not see things the same way, and many of these parents consciously hold to and practice a worldview that is decidedly opposed to hers.
Were this Bill to be enacted as law, the government of New Zealand would be forcing Christian parents to break the law, for, when it comes down to a choice as to whether we will obey God or men, we must obey God. The apostles Peter and John, facing a similar choice over a different practice, said to the religious authorities of their day who were forbidding them from preaching the gospel in obedience to Jesus’ command,
“Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20)

Does the government really want to cause widespread civil disobedience for the sake of a bad piece of legislation?

We recommend that this Bill be voted down and not allowed to proceed. Instead, maintain Section 59 of the Crimes Act as it stands, for it is a brilliant piece of legislation. It protects responsible parents in their legitimate use of force to correct and train their children, and it allows proper authorities to pursue cases wherein the use of force is not reasonable in the circumstances nor used for the purpose of correction.

Newsletter #68 — Radio attack


Yesterday Radio NZ aired a rather biased talk show attacking the
institution of smacking and having a good go a Christians while they
were at it.

You can listen to it at:

Scroll down a bit and then click on “the Panel” (part 1 – 23min. & 26

They use all the classic propaganda tools:

1. The equate hitting with smacking, although the researcher did
acknowledge there is a difference, a nuance not picked up too well by
the others.
2. Christians and their world view were attacked and vilified. Canadian
researcher Dr Joan Durrant told me she agreed that this was a battle of
world views, and that one was going to have to prevail over the other.
From the way these were talking on this show, there will be no peaceful
3. They incongruously say smacking will never be eliminated, nor should
it be! Yet repeal of Section 59 will make it a case of criminal assault.

4. They talked only of physical punishment. Section 59 justifies
correction, not punishment.
5. They never once referred to Section 59 or its wording, “force by way
of correction as long as it is reasonable in the circumstances”, but
they were quick to condemn jury trials, implying that their 12 peers on
the jury could not tell the difference between “violent abuse” and
“reasonable force”, even though the jury had all the facts, all the
circumstances laid out in front of them. All these talk show people had
was poor memories of newspaper or radio accounts (one referred to a man
found guilty of using a horse whip: it was a woman acquitted of using a
riding crop).

Please ensure you are writing to your MP and writing a submission.
Plenty of help for submissions on this website.

Craig Smith

Newsletter #69 — Formal Complaint

Dear Friends,

I just posted this to Radio New Zealand as a formal complaint to the
talk show attacking the institution of smacking anf vilifying

Craig Smith

31 January 2006
Chief Executive
Radio New Zealand
PO Box 123

Formal Complaint

I wish to make a formal complaint about the Radio New Zealand Afternoons
with Paul Brennan programme aired Friday 27 January 2006 at 4:08pm. You
can listen to it at:
Scroll down a bit and then click on “the Panel” (part 1 – 23min. & 26

The progrramme was a grossly biased and hopelessly ill-informed talk
show attacking the institution of smacking and vilifying both Christian
doctrine and Christians in general. The host was Paul Brennan and the
guests were TV3’s Bomber Bradbury and poet Penny Ashton. Joining on the
phone was Otago researcher Dr Jane Millichamp.

This programme breached the broadcasting standards in the following

Principle 4: Balance was breached in that they presented only one side
and openly scoffed and ridiculed the point of view put forward in
material published by our organisation.

After reading Proverbs 22:15 from the Bible, Brennan said: “These people
are nuts.”

After reading a section from one of our publications, partly explaining
a point of traditional, historical, orthodox (not fringe in other words)
Christian doctrine, Ashton said: “This is disgusting: so children are
innately evil and we need to beat it out of them.” She emphasised the
word “beat” as if it were the only way to do it, as if that equated with
the methodology of smacking advocated in our publications. This is
manifestly untrue as anyone who would care to read our documents would
see immediately. (Copies are enclosed.)

A bit later on, Brennan asks, “What are these people on?” Bradbury
replies, “Party pills.”

These comments are offensively contemptuous of our Holy Scriptures and
of our doctrine.

Most of the rest of their comments were not only incredibly shallow and
ill-informed, they were clearly ignorant of a vast area of child
discipline known to caring parents over millennia of how to responsibly
use corporal correction in a loving manner to produce secure, mature,
self-confident citizens.

Their continual scoffing at our position (which is that of a large
number of New Zealanders, both Christians and nonChristians) would give
a listening audience the impression that no other position than theirs
was logically or morally tenable. Their particular anti-Christian world
view dominated and no one has been given equal air time to present the
other world view.

Principle 6: Accuracy was breached because of the many ill-informed
statements made and also in the way some were made, as if they were
practising their propaganda tools.

They equated smacking with hitting and beating. This is a deliberate
misrepresentation. The words clearly do not mean the same. A cricket
batter does not smack the ball, he hits it. A thug might beat a victim
but is never said to smack his victim. To her credit, the researcher who
joined the show, Dr Jane Millichamp, did acknowledge the difference, but
it was a difference not picked up by the others.

They talked only of physical punishment. Section 59, of which they
claimed to be speaking, justifies correction, not punishment. They never
once referred to the wording of Section 59: “force used by way of
correction as long as it is reasonable in the circumstances”. Yet they
were quick to condemn jury trials, which came to considered conclusions
that did not agree with their poorly-informed opinions. By doing this
they were implying that their 12 peers on the jury could not tell the
difference between “violent abuse” and “reasonable force”, even though
the jury had all the facts, all the circumstances laid out in front of
them. All these talk show people had was poor memories of newspaper or
radio accounts. One talk show guest referred to a man let off for using
a horse whip on his daughter: he was trying to recount the recent Timaru
case of a woman acquitted of using a riding crop on her son. Penny
Ashton made a big deal of a parent acquitted by jury trial of smacking a
child with a 30 centimetre by 2 centimetre “big wooden rod”…but this
is smaller than the average wooden spoon! Apart from the misleading and
inaccurate language used to describe both these cases, these people are
saying their assessments, based on incomplete media accounts, are more
accurate than the jury’s assessment, when the jury had all the facts.

Principle 7: Social Responsibility was breached very badly in that the
character of all Christians was seriously denigrated in a libellous way
during discussion of a social issue that has been in the forefront of
public discussion for quite some time, and is the subject of a Bill
currently before Parliament.

They say this about Christians:

Brennan: “They like whacking children.”
Bradbury: “They love it.”

These comments are clearly libellous to all Christians. Saying that
Christians as a group like or love whacking children is an outrageous

When are we going to hear an apology?

When are you going to give equal time to those who properly understand
the issues?

When are you going to extend to Bible believing Christians the air time
and credibility you extend to these talk show celebrities?

Yours faithfully,
Craig S. Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

Newsletter #70-74

Newsletter # 74 — The Smacking Smoke Screen

Media Release
For immediate Distribution

The Smacking Smoke-Screen

So now Child, Youth and Family Minister Ruth Dyson has joined Green MP Sue Bradford and the Prime Minister in denying what is obvious hoping to fool the public in order to advance their anti-family agenda. They all say smacking will not be banned if this Crimes Amendment Bill goes ahead and Section 59 of the Crimes Act is repealed.

They do this in the face of a letter I received from the Commissioner of Police, and then circulated widely, in which he says very plainly that smacking will become an act of criminal assault if Section 59 is repealed. Even Children’s Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro had to admit at a Forum of child advocacy groups she held in Wellington February 9th that repeal would criminalise parents. Both Bradford and Dr Kiro, by the way,
have adopted the UN’s extreme position that even the lightest of smacks constitutes violence and abuse by definition.

But all this about smacking is a smoke screen. The real objective of repealing Section 59 is to reduce parents to the status of government baby-sitters, for their legal ability to exercise definite authority over their children will be completely removed.

For more information or an interview, contact:
Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

Newsletter # 73 — Misinformation

Family Integrity media release: for immediate release

15 February 2006

Mis-Informing the public on smacking

Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday maintained that New Zealanders are well informed about the debate in our country over section 59 of the Crimes Act, which gives parents a defence of reasonable force used by way of correction, provided the force used is reasonable under the circumstances.

Yet one of her own ministers, Child, Youth and Family Minister Ruth Dyson, considers that children are legally disadvantaged in comparison to adults so far as the use of force is concerned. That would be true if children held the same status as autonomous, independent individuals as adults do. But children are highly dependent and far from autonomous. That is why they cannot drive, drink, vote, enter into contracts, etc. Dyson’s arguments are ridiculous.

Family Integrity National Director Craig Smith says that the public has been badly misinformed and misled by the anti-smacking lobby. The Crimes Amendment Bill to repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act will pull virtually all authority out from under all parents. The Bill criminalizes the use of “force”, not just physical discipline. Smacking will become an assault, as the Police Commissioner has confirmed. But so will “time out” since it requires forcing a child to sit still.

“You simply cannot discipline without using force,” says Mr Smith. “And if you cannot back up the requirements and the prohibitions you place on your children with some kind of force, then you have no authority. You are reduced to making suggestions which you hope will be followed.” Yet Green MP Sue Bradford has said that she does not intend to ban smacking. What Ms Bradford intends is irrelevant. She knows full well that her Bill will outlaw physical discipline and reduce parental authority toward their own children to the same level as total strangers, for so she says in the Bill’s explanatory note: “[Parents] will now be in the same position as everyone else so far as the use of
force against children is concerned.” Bradford goes on to illogically claim that the Police will not prosecute for light smacks with an open hand, for they will use common sense and
let such minor actions go, even though the Police themselves have said even light smacks will constitute acts of criminal assault, worth as much as two years in jail, if Section 59 is ever repealed.

“Since when has a law been made on the basis that it won’t be enforced?” Mr Smith asks.

“This whole issue is far too important to get it wrong. Even Dr Kiro the Children’s Commissioner conceded at the “Effective Discipline” Forum she and the Families Commission put on in Wellington last Thursday the 9th that repealing Section 59 would criminalize too many parents, that it could not be glossed over with rhetoric.”

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

Newsletter #72 — No suport for repeal

See Media Release – 17 February
Can be read HERE

Newsletter #71 — Talk Fest

Dear Friends,

The anti-smacking lobby (I personally think they may be more accurately
described as the anti-parent lobby) know for a fact that they are vastly
outnumbered. They know that they do not have public support. They know
that what they are promoting gets the average man or woman in the street
really angry.

That is why they say silly things like, “The Government needs to show
leadership in this issue,” meaning: forget that this is supposed to be a
democracy, do what we self-appointed experts say.

They have the ear of the media (who appear to be populated by the same
kind of people), but few have bothered to listen to the real experts in
this whole thing: the parents themselves.

We need to make ourselves heard. We should in fact hound the MPs and the
press day and night to let them know we are not impressed by this
extremist, minority group out to repeal Section 59. This is not hard to

1. Write a submission. I’ve talked alot about this already. See

2. Write to your MP. Write to a few others while you’re at it. Send the
same letter, just with a different salutation. Any of them may be
reached with the address: “………., MP, Parliament Buildings,
Wellington” and you do not need to put a stamp on the envelope. You can
also find their email and snail mail addresses and titles and what
electorate if any they’re from at:

3. Write to the members of the Justice and Electoral Select Committee.
They are all MPs and can be reached c/- Parliament Buildings,
Wellington. They are:
Russell Fairbrother
Christopher Finlayson (Deputy Chairperson)
Ann Hartley
Lynne Pillay (Chairperson)
Nandor Tanczos
Nicky Wagner
Dr Richard Worth.

4. Write to your local newspaper.

These are unusual times. Therefore they require unusual tactics. Please
write to one of these now and every couple of days. It only takes a few
minutes. You don’t need to say much…just express your opposition to
the Crimes Amendment Bill that wants to repeal Section 59. We want to
keep Section 59 in place, just as it is.

Craig Smith
National Director

Newsletter #70 — Wellington Forum

Dear Friends,

My adult daughter Genevieve and I were invited to attend a forum titled
“Effective discipline – what works best for children and families” that
was held in Wellington on Thursday 9 February 2006. It was put on by the
Families Commission and the Children’s Commissioner.

It was attended by at most 40 people. They were from the Families
Commission, Office of the Children’s Commissioner, Barnardos, Plunket,
Anglican Trust, Youth for Christ, Open Home Foundation, a Baptist
organisation, the NZ Law Society and many other child advocacy groups.
Oh, yes, and two of us were from Family Integrity.

Most there were clearly in favour of banning smacking and of repealing
Section 59. A few claimed to be unsure and certainly were quite
tentative in their comments. Two of us were very clear that Section 59
had to be retained and that the state should not try to extend its
jurisdiction over into the family’s jurisdiction as this Bill was
clearly doing.

The day opened with a brainstorming session in small groups. I will
mention ideas that came up again throughout the day, not all ideas that
came up: the state should provide free parent training courses; the
state should relieve the tremendous pressure many parents are under (the
pressure was not identified, but I think it meant financial pressure);
there is a concern that repeal will criminalise all parents; the media
needs to be educated to report in a more balanced way; what does
research say?

The opening address was by Dr Rajen Prasad, the Families Commissioner.
(The CEO of the Families Commission was also there, Mr Paul Curry who
lived in Palmerston North for quite a while and was a National Party
candidate there. He and I had a good talk about Palmerston North, which
is where I’ve lived now for 26 years.)

Dr Prasad said his purpose was to advocate for the interests of NZ
families, whatever the form of the “family” may take. He also outlined
five areas attached to this debate.

1. Research: he said the negative aspects of physical
punishment are convincing though of course not proven.
2. Parents do have a right to determine how to discipline
their own children.
3. What will be gained by status quo? What will be gained
by changing?
4. Repeal could well mean criminalisation of parents…how
can that be avoided?
5. It is easier to use force than learn new tricks.

He said that leadership by Government is needed to get the change…and
that the support for the change would follow. In other words, don’t
let’s worry about the fact that the vast majority of NZers do not favour
repeal: repeal anyway and watch support for it grow after the fact.
Several others made this same call for Government leadership.

Questions were called for. I asked that people be careful not to
conflate words denoting abuse and violence with the word smacking; no
distinction is generally made in these debates between violence and
reasonable force. Another questioned the reliability of research and
statistics when scientific “causality” could not be proven by such
statistics but only an association shown. Dr Prasad agreed that one
could not prove that smacking caused negative behaviours in a person
later on, but the association between smacking in early days and
negative behaviours in latter days was consistent and all seemed to
point in the same direction. (I must comment: other factors are also
consistently shown to be associated with negative behaviours in latter
days: a persons ethnicity, poverty, neighbourhoods, education, etc. In
addition, researchers rarely separate out judicial and controlled
smacking from out-of-control beating by enraged (out-of-control)

The next speaker was Dr Cindy Kiro, Commissioner for Children. She
described her job as to advocate for all children and to see that the
UNCROC agreement is applied in NZ law. Her vision to see children’s
rights recognised and supported.

She said that to comply with Article 19 of UNCROC requires repeal of
Section 59. (Art 19 talks of “violence, injury or abuse” while Section
59 talks of “reasonable force used by way of correction.” Dr Kiro and
others believe that Section 59 is by definition allowing for violence,
injury and abuse since any physical use of force to them is violence.
They have what I believe most people would call an extreme position.
They certainly see the whole thing in black and white terms, with no
middle ground at all. Every time she talked of “discipline” it was as if
violence and abuse was the norm. She said concern for criminalisation
was minimal and that arrest was unlikely. But she insisted that we must
send a clear message: do not hit kids. She also wants to employ
emotional literacy programmes in schools and in communities to develop
empathy for the child’s point of view.

At Question time I disagreed with her statement that no other piece of
law allows assault on children since Sections 39, 41, 42, 43, 46, 48,
52, 53, 55, 56, 58 & 60 of the Crimes Act all allow for assault against
children in certain circumstances, just as Section 59 allows for assault
under certain circumstances. She replied she would interpret those
sections of the law differently than I had.

Genevieve stood and congratulated Dr Kiro on her passion for protecting
children and for applying the provisions of UNCROC, one of which was to
provide legal protection for children before as well as after birth. So
when was she going to do something about the 18,500 brutal murders of
unborn children each year? She replied that she did not think she needed
to come prepared to give her position on abortion (which Genevieve had
not asked for) and then said her commitment to children was from birth

Next speaker was Frances Joychild of the NZ Law Commission. She said
Section 59 goes back 100s of years & was used to justify beatings of
wives, slaves, animals, etc., and now children are the only ones left
Said that s. 59 has:
1. produced inconsistent decisions. (I must comment: by
this they mean IT APPEARS inconsistent, as in, one case a dad in New
Plymouth smacked a child with an open hand, pleaded Section 59 and got
nailed. Another case a mum in Timaru smacks with a “horse whip” [it was
in fact a riding crop], and she gets acquitted. It sounds inconsistent.
That is because the two contexts, the “reasonable in the circumstances”
part of these two cases were poles apart. Consequently this is an
unfair, and in my opinion, a rather devious statement to make to cast
doubt on Section 59’s usefulness.)
2. created uncertainty as to where the line is. (I comment
again: you cannot have any certainty as to where the line is, since the
context, the circumstances change the entire nature of the case. This is
simply a devious variation of point number one. Let me give a
hypothetical example: you read in the paper that during an intense scene
of domestic violence, a boy is struck 5 times by his father with a
3-foot fibre glass rod, leaving bruising on his arms and back. The
father pleads Section 59 and is acquitted. It sounds like a clear case
of child abuse. Then you get a copy of the court transcript and read
what the jury had presented to them: the boy was 14 years old, stood six
foot two inches tall, 185 pounds and was the school champion in boxing
and club champion in karate. The father is 65 years old, five foot four
inches tall, and at 98 pounds is a life-long asthmatic with lingering
limitations from polio as a child. The father took to the son with the
rod after the boy smashed several pieces of furniture, punched his much
smaller 18-year-old brother in the stomach causing him to throwup, and
was in the act of hurling insults and verbal abuse at his mother, the
father’s wife, while still holding remnants of a broken chair. The
father said he suspected the boy was influenced by some drug which the
boy denied and no blood or breath test even hinted at, yet his behaviour
was so out of character. The boy seemed to come to his full senses once
the father began beating him, according to the father. The boy said he
simply got angry when his mum told him he was not allowed to go camping
with his boozy mates. The whole incident was over and settled as far as
the family was concerned. The son held no grudge against his father. The
incident came to CYF’s notice only when the father was reported by the
boozy mates who asked how the son got the bruises on his arm.)
3. shown to allow serious assault. (Comment: Section 2 of
the Crimes Act defines even gestures as assault. Parents commit assault,
technically, against their children on a constant, daily basis. Section
59 allows parents to carry out their parenting tasks without fear of
being charged with assault, until they use unreasonable force for some
other reason than “by way of correction.” Some of the anti-smacking
lobby say even the lightest tap on the wrist is unacceptable violence.
So when the anti-smacking lobby tells about parents wielding large 2 x
30 cm wooden rods, as was done on Radio NZ recently, we do get
worried, until we realise that 2 x 30 cm is smaller than the average
wooden spoon.)
4. conflicts with Domestic Violence Act.

Frances also revealed that the UN Committee on UNCROC says that a smack,
however light, is violence. She also reckons that repeal would then need
to be followed by a specific law banning physical punishment.

Beth Woods from UNICEF then asked: What do we do about those who BELIEVE
in physical discipline…no amount of programmes and education will
change them. Genevieve and I immediately thought of ourselves: we
believe in it. Was Beth Woods suggesting compulsory re-education camps
for those whose belief systems do not follow the party line?

We broke up into small groups again and grappled with some set
questions. After lunch each group simply reported back to the whole.
Here were some of the popular thoughts:

Introduce Compulsory Parenting classes in high schools. Someone bemoaned
the fact that much of what such a programme would teach would be
undermined by the parents at home. (I pointed out that much of what the
parents are teaching at home is being undermined by the schools.) Get
the media on board; have courses to teach how to emphasise in one’s
relations with others; consult with youth at every step; have the state
pay for all resources, support and courses; build strong communities and
strong personal relationships; teach children logical consequences and
give lots of positive reinforcement; we may need to be careful of simply
adopting a European model to solve our violence problem; repeal will
criminalise parents; repeal seems to some like such a simple solution to
violence, but maybe we’d have to re-define assault or give police new
guidelines for pressing charges.

During the summing up statements, it was interesting to see Dr Kiro
concede that repeal of Section 59 would cause “criminalisation of
parents to be an issue, it cannot be glossed over, it does need to be
dealt with.”

Dr Prasad was born in Fiji but has lived most of his life in New
Zealand. He is a very likable gentleman, easy to converse with and very
friendly, with a respect and sensitivity toward spiritual aspects of
life. It may be possible for some of us to convince him that we would
see our families severely harmed by repeal of Section 59 because we hold
to a high standard of personal self-discipline in word and deed and
attitude, one that children do not aspire to naturally. Force of many
kinds is required to impart this discipline, yet it will be illegal to
do if Section 59 is repealed. Likewise, those of us who believe that
smacks are necessary to drive foolish acts and attitudes of
rebelliousness from our children’s hearts when they manifest themselves
may be able to convince him that our families will be forbidden to
follow our spiritual convictions if Section 59 is repealed, doing great
damage to our consciences and harming our spiritual health.

Dr Kiro did not appear to be swayed by such arguments. She is totally
committed and will be committing her large staff and larger financial
resources to seeing Section 59 repealed and smacking banned as an act of
criminal assault. Because they know they do not have public support,
that the vast majority of New Zealanders are against such a ban, they
call for “leadership” by Government: i.e., ignore public opinion and do
as we experts say.

Other Christians there were not prepared to declare their position
clearly. It was painful to see, for we know something of what they felt:
wanting to preserve your objectivity and academic respectability while
awaiting the opportunity to present something of the Biblical Christian
position in regards to parenting responsibilities and the training of
children, hoping that one would not be called upon to actually address
smacking or how one could possibly justify “hitting” children. I tried
to maintain that smacking and hitting were two different activities, for
why do we have different words? People at my table flatly refused to
acknowledge any difference at all, although Dr Prasad had done so in
passing during his remarks. And the other Christians there were also
wary of being associated too closely with us radicals from Family

Genevieve and I had decided to speak without self-consciousness of the
Biblical reasons behind the use of the rod of correction. This turned
out to be the most liberating of experiences….no need to worry about
coming up with creative ways to couch Biblical terms and concepts in
secular language, no need to worry about causing offense, for everything
we had to say we already knew was totally offensive anyway. Because we
knew some would be totally unfamiliar with Biblical language, we also
knew we would need to go slowly and explain ourselves perhaps a bit more
thoroughly than normal to ensure our audiences stayed with us. And we
also knew from past experience that one does not wait for the
opportunity: one creates the opportunities. So we had stayed up late the
night before preparing wee discussion documents of our own, three of
them, to address the three broad questions we knew they would put to the
discussion groups during the forum.

So when asked “What are some effective ways to discipline?”, I had a
ready answer: “There are two aspects to discipline, positive and
negative. Positive is being the total role model, the tutor, the mentor.
In fact, it was investing lots of close personal time to actually DO
TOGETHER those things you want your child to learn to do.” This went
down really well and elicited some good discussion. Then on the negative
side of discipline I introduced smacking as a very effective way to
correct rebellion, not childishness, and drive it from a child’s heart
when it manifests itself in the child. Paul Curry himself asked me to
explain why I felt it necessary to smack. What an invitation! Starting
with the Fall of Adam & Eve I got to explain the doctrine of original
sin, of driving foolishness from the heart as per Proverbs 22:15,
cleansing from guilt and restoring the ruptured relationship with the
parents. This did not go down well at all. And the concept of guilt in
the child really annoyed some people.

What we can do from here that might be helpful:

1. Get our submissions in by 28 February.
2. Write to Dr Kiro, Children’s Commissioner, PO Box 5610,
Wellington, , and ask
why she has decided not to do anything about the certain deaths of
18,500 New Zealand children each year, even though the UN Convention on
the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) speaks about it in several places.
3. Write to both Dr Kiro and Dr Prasad, Families
Commissioner, PO Box 2839, Wellington,
, with some good ideas and
strategies on how to reduce violence in society. At one point I said
public schools were often forms of institutionalised child abuse for
children are forced to attend, and no one ever asks their opinion about
attendance (Dr Kiro always says we should ask the children, but of
course she doesn’t want to ask the unborn how they feel when the forceps
come to rip off their other arm). School children are forced to sit in
non-ergonomically designed chairs and desks, carry back packs generally
way too heavy for them, be bullied unmercifully as everyone at the forum
already admitted was a problem, be exposed to all kinds of drug taking
habits and be defiled by some kids on campus who regularly watch the
most vile and degrading pornographic videos know to man. I was surprised
at how much agreement I got on those points!


Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

Newsletter # 75-78 — Submission Deadlines

Newsletter # 75 — Two not Twenty copies

Dear Friends,

I wrote to the Secretary of the Justice and Electoral Select Committee
to ask if 20 copies of the submissions are needed, and what would happen
if people only sent in one copy? Here is her reply….we only need to
send TWO copies, not TWENTY!

21 February 2006

Dear Mr Smith

In it’s press release, the Justice and Electoral Committee only
requested two copies of submissions, the reason for only requesting two
submissions is because the Justice and Electoral Committee are taking
part in a e-Committee pilot over the next few months, so submissions
will be scanned and sent to members electronically. Once the
submissions are received they are ALL sent out to committee members to
read. Submissions are never ignored or discounted.

Julie Jordan

Julie Jordan
Parliamentary Officer (Committee Support)
Justice and Electoral Committee
Select Committee Office
Parliament Buildings

Phone (04) 471 9687

So get onto those submissions! They are due in by 28 Feb, end of this

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

Newsletter # 76 — Submission Deadlines

Submissions on Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child
Discipline) Amendment Bill
(Anti-smacking bill or anti-parent authority bill)
DEADLINE 5 p.m. 28 February 2006
Submissions on Sue Bradford’s Bill to Repeal S. 59 of the Crimes Act
1961 should be sent by e-mail to:
Ms Catherine Parkin
Justice and Electoral Committee
Parliament Buildings
(Only TWO copies are required, not TWENTY as previously stated)

or you can email your submission to:
C/- or
DEADLINE 5 p.m. 28 February 2006
Request an acknowledgment
If aubmissions are to be sent hardcopy, only two copies are required and
must reach committee secretary by deadline.

Newsletter # 77 — email not preferred

Ok, folks, the latest:

A friend had rung the Justice and Electoral Committee Secretary. She had
told him emailed submissions would be fine. So I sent an email around
you all to that effect.

My friend’s emailed submission bounced. When he rang the same secretary
to ask about it, she now says hard copies are required.

So, if you have sent an email copy of a submission, or if you plan to,
let them know that a hard copy is following. They need two (not twenty)
copies of each submission, each signed.

Email them by 5pm tomorrow 28 Feb., letting them know a hard copy is

Email addresses:

Snail Mail address:
Justice and Electoral Select Committee
Parliament Buildings

I’m sorry about this mess up. It is thoroughly frustrating and annoying.


Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

Newsletter # 78 — More on emails

A Family Integrity subscriber contacted Julie Jordan again just now and
got this reply:

As the Committee is only calling for two submissions, it is acceptable
to send your submission via eamil as a Word Document.

Julie Jordan

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

Newsletter # 79 — Reply from Radio NZ

Read reply from Radio NZ

Newsletter # 80 — Submissions as public domain

Dear Friends,

It has been very heartening that so many folks made the effort to write submissions on Bradford’s anti-smacking bill. Most will have received letters of acknowledgement by now. Some folks have expressed a bit of concern about the fact that the letter of acknowledgement also says the submissions will become part of the public domain and will be posted on the Justice and Electoral Committee Parliamentary website.

If this is of concern, Cath Anyan, Clerk of the Committee, has advised what to do. Send a single copy of your submission with your personal details removed. Also send a covering letter that does have your personal details saying you do not want your details displayed with your submission. They will then display only the submission that does not have your personal details on it. By personal details I mean name and contact details.


Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

Newsletter #82 — Unique ID numbers for all children

Greetings all,

Family Integrity’s mission statement includes opposition to unwarranted government intrusion into family life. Repeal of Section 59 is certainly that. And so is this issue.

A poll on this morning asks if all children should be issued with unique ID numbers so various state agencies could share information on them and track them, etc. Such provisions are in a bill awaiting its second reading. Home educators are specifically mentioned in this bill as also needing these ID numbers. (See TEACH Bulletin article attached for more details.)

Perhaps each of us could vote on this poll today at least and then consider writing to our MP…I mean, what good are these numbers apart from streamlining what the state already does, give them an excuse to do more snooping (to justify the expense and make use of the expensive new numbering system they just put in place….one has to be responsible with tax-payers’ money after all), and to further de-personalise all children to mere numbers. Besides, when the Familes Commission, the Childrens Commission and Social Development Minister Benson-Pope all think it’s a good deal, you know there is cause for concern.

Do pass this to other email groups if you like.


Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

Newsletter # 83 — Submission numbers

From: Craig Smith
Sent: Monday, 27 March 2006 09:57
To: Julie Jordan
Subject: numbers

Greetings Julie,

Family Integrity is particularly interested in the progress of the
Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification of Child Discipline)
Amendment Bill.

Are you able to please inform us of the number of submissions received?

Are you able to give a rough breakdown of how many were for the Bill and
how many against please?

Has the Select Committee settled on a schedule for hearing submissions
on this Bill?

Thanks so much for your help.


Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

From: Julie Jordan
Sent: Monday, March 27, 2006 9:57 AM
To: Craig Smith
Subject: RE: numbers

Dear Craig

The committee received 1712 submission with around 300 requesting to
appear before the committee to speak to their submission. As of yet we
have not done a breakdown of submissions, nor has the committee
indicated when they would like to start hearing evidence.


Julie Jordan
Parliamentary Officer (Committee Support)
Justice and Electoral Committee
Select Committee Office
Parliament Buildings

Phone (04) 471 9687

Newsletter #84 — Affording a worker

5 April 2006

Dear Friends of Family Integrity,

A Family Integrity supporter and home schooling dad of five children here in Palmerston North, Ed Rademaker, has been underemployed for over a year since facing redundancy in his previous position. Family Integrity has been in a position to offer Ed a few hours a week at $10 an hour over the past few months, and he has done a marvellous job helping us with strategising and writing submissions for people as we fought to oppose the Bradford anti-smacking Bill.

Family Integrity would like to take Ed on virtually full-time, and he is keen to continue in this ministry. Finance is, of course, the problem.

He is willing to start with Family Integrity, Lord willing, toward the end of April here at our offices at 33 Matamau St., Palmerston North (same place as the Home Education Foundation), where we have a workstation for him with high-speed computer/internet access networked with our other computers. Funds are on hand to see him through six weeks at 30 hours a week., $10 an hour. We have so far one person giving $100/month for Ed & Carolyn’s support. We need a minimum of $1290 a calendar month to make this work.

Could you please seek the Lord’s will as to whether He would have you give something to this ministry which will benefit Ed and his family as well as Family Integrity (and he will probably also help the Home Education Foundation from time to time)? If you are interested, email us to work out whether it be a once-off donation or monthly automatic payment, or whatever suits best. At present Family Integrity is not registered as a charitable trust. However, Ed’s first task will be to ensure that it is registered as such as soon as possible, making all donations to Family Integrity, including those marked for Ed’s support, tax deductible.

Yours for our Families’ Integrity,

Craig & Barbara Smith
National Directors
Home Education Foundation

Newsletter # 85 — Debate Sunday

Dear Friends,

I am to debate Ian Hassal, the first Children’s Commissioner, this Sunday 23 April, at the Auckland clubrooms of the Rationalists and Humanists Society. It will be the first time I’ve ever participated in a formal debate. Looking forward to it. If the opposition sticks to the logical parametres given below, they won’t have much to say!!

Rationalist House
64 Symonds Street
Auckland City

Start time is 7:00pm.

Rationalists & Humanists are fairly evenly divided on the ethics of smacking, so there will not be an audience bias either way.

—–Original Message—–
From: Elizabeth McKenzie []
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2006 10:22 PM
To: Craig Smith;
Subject: Re: Debate Sunday

Hi Craig & Ian,

The moot is: “That Section 59 of the Crimes Act be repealed.”

There will be a short introduction from the Chair.

The Speaker For the motion will go first.
The Speaker Against the motion will go second.

Each case presented will be 20 minutes long.

Debaters may ask questions of their opponents when they present their case.
These questions may be responded to in the rebuttal time.

The speaker for the motion may have a rebuttal time of 15 minutes.
The speaker against the motion may then have a rebuttal time of 15 minutes.

The audience will then be able to ask questions for 20 minutes.

The debate will then close, speakers will be thanked and refreshments
will be served.

There is a data profector, overhead projector, lecturn and whiteboard

Debaters should keep in mind that their cases will be evaluated based on
the weight of evidence.

The Rationalist audience is after solid information rather than
propaganda, so you may wish to avoid the following:

1. Arguing by repeating the argument over and over.

2. Arguing that your opponent is biased and should not be believed.

3. Arguing from authority (example: “Linus Pauling is a famous
scientist, so he must be right …” or “the Edmonds cookbook is the most
popular book in New Zealand, so it must be right …”)

4. Arguing from consensus or tradition (example: “more than 80% of
people believe that rape inside of marriage is acceptable…”)

5. Circular reasoning “The charges of sexual assault are absolutely
untrue, because the police would never do anything like that.”

6. Unfalsifiable claims: “No-one has ever proved that the Loch Ness
Monster does not exist”.

7. Arguing from esoteric knowledge: “you have to have a supernatural
experience to gain the knowledge that smacking will lead to the
destruction of the earth…”

8. Arguing from nature: “rape occurs in nature…its natural, so it must
be OK”

9. Dodgy statistics (be prepared to be asked who paid for the study and
how large it was)

10. Confusing correlation with causation: “80% of all heart attack
victims own a cell phone. Cell phones may cause heart attacks.”

11. Confusing association with causation: “Before I had the heart attack
I had a blood test. Blood tests may cause heart attacks. ”

12. Slippery slope and threatening dire conseqences: “smacking leads to
beating, beating leads to the breakdown of society…”

13. Choosing the extremes and omitting the middle ground: “either you
support genetic engineering or you are against genetic engineering”

You can still use these techniques, but be aware that if your opponent
does not pick up on them, the Rationalist audience won’t hesitate to
provide you with constructive criticism.

There is more info on debating at

I will write again on Friday to get your approval for the wording when I
introduce you.

Both of you are welcome to bring your family and friends along.

Elizabeth McKenzie (R & H Society)

mobile: 021 2121 599
home: (09) 533 4185

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