News Media Reports – 14 June 2004 – 09 October 2006

09 October 2006 – Family Integrity Press Release

/members/846699/uploaded/C_with_C_of_Police.pdf
Repeal of Section 59 will cause all parents, grandparents and caregivers
to become criminals by definition, whether they are ever charged or not,
should they use any force whatsoever to correct, train or discipline
children.

Both Police Commissioner Robinson and Police Commissioner Broad have
confirmed in writing [see attachment] that should Section 59 ever go,
parents would no longer be authorised to use reasonable force by way of
correction. Traditional parenting activity would join robbery and
speeding as criminal activity whether one is caught, charged or not.
Every parent, grandparent and caregiver in the land who used any force,
however light, or even the threat of force would automatically fall foul
of the definition of assault in Section 2 of the Crimes Act and be
constantly exposed to a charge of criminal assault under Section 194(a)
of the Crimes Act, worth as much as two years in jail.

Despite Bradford’s disingenuous protests that this is not her intention,
it is precisely what she outlines in the Bill’s Explanatory Note. She
even says common law precedent should not be called upon to justify
parental use of such force: it must always be regarded as outside the
protection of the law.

Bradford’s Bill has from the beginning stated her desire to reduce all
parental authority to near zero. It does nothing to reduce violence; it
will instead reduce overall discipline and that will increase violence
across the board. This Bill must be decisively dumped.

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

7 October 2006 – Smacking research vindicates parents

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0610/S00063.htm
Saturday, 7 October 2006, 1:56 pm

Press Release: Family First Lobby.

Smacking research vindicates parents

Family First applauds the research of the Dunedin multidisciplinary health and development study which has found that children who are smacked lightly with an open hand on the bottom, hand or leg do much the same in later life as those who are not smacked.
In fact, some had “similar or even slightly better outcomes” than those who were not smacked in terms of aggression, substance abuse, adult convictions and school achievement.
“This thorough, independent and solid research explodes the myth of the anti-smacking lobby that any smacking leads to a dysfunctional and violent youth in later life,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“We have always argued against Sue Bradford’s Bill to ban smacking because it penalises good parents doing a great job of bringing up their children with reasonable discipline and boundaries.”
“Like Sue Bradford, we want to reduce the level of child abuse in NZ which is abhorrent. But let’s target the real areas of family breakdown and dysfunction, substance abuse and poverty, rather than penalise good parents by banning smacking.”
“There is a huge difference between smacking and child abuse. This home-grown research has proved that once and for all, and backs up other international research which has been honest enough to analyse the effects of reasonable discipline as against child abuse,” says Mr McCoskrie.

07 October 2006 – Smacking children not so harmful – study

http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3821443a7144,00.html
Smacking children not so harmful – study

07 October 2006

Smacking children does not necessarily make them more likely to become aggressive and antisocial, new local research shows.
Research by the Dunedin multidisciplinary health and development study shows children who are smacked lightly with an open hand on the bottom, hand or leg do much the same in later life as those who are not smacked, The New Zealand Herald reported today.
The study has followed 1000 children born in Dunedin in 1972-73. Later this year the findings, based on interviews when the subjects were 32-year-olds, will be published.
The project appeared to be the world’s first long-term study to separate people who had merely been smacked with an open hand, lead author of the physical punishment part of the Dunedin study psychologist Jane Millichamp said.
“Study members in the ‘smacking only’ category of punishment appeared to be particularly high-functioning and achieving members of society,” she said.
In terms of aggression, substance abuse, adult convictions and school achievement, this group had “similar or even slightly better outcomes” than those who were not smacked.
Dr Millichamp said the problem with a lot of studies was that they lumped a range of physical punishments together. She said she had not found any evidence that an occasional mild smack with an open hand on the clothed behind or the leg or hand was harmful or instilled violence in children.
Dr Millichamp acknowledged this was not a popular thing to say.
The findings undermine Green MP Sue Bradford’s bill to repeal section 59 of the Crimes Act, which allows parents to use “reasonable force” to discipline children.
Dr Millichamp said she has made a written submission to Parliament suggesting that section 59 should be retained but amended to allow smacking with an open hand.
Earlier this week, National’s Wairarapa MP John Hayes made comments endorsing the use of physical discipline on unruly teenagers.
He told a newspaper teenagers running wild “need a thick ear”.
“Corporal punishment is the ideal remedy for youths running amok in public.”
Mr Hayes said he received this type of punishment as a boy, and it did not do him any harm.
He said he had surveyed his electorate about two months ago and about 68 per cent of respondents were not supportive of a proposed change to the Crimes Act, repealing the defence of reasonable force when smacking children.
But he denied being unsupportive of the anti-violence movement.
The section 59 repeal proposed by Green MP Sue Bradford was not supported by the majority in his community, Mr Hayes said.
Ms Bradford said she was shocked by Mr Hayes’ earlier comments.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate at all that an MP should be advocating the use of violence against young people as a means of controlling them,” she said.

October 7, 2006 – Smacking study hits at claims of harm

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10404809
National News

Smacking study hits at claims of harm

Saturday October 7, 2006
By Simon Collins

Groundbreaking New Zealand research has refuted thousands of international studies which claim that smacking children makes them more likely to become aggressive and antisocial.

Children who are smacked lightly with an open hand on the bottom, hand or leg do much the same in later life as those who are not smacked, found the Dunedin multidisciplinary health and development study, which has tracked 1000 children since they were born in the city in 1972-73.

The finding, based on interviews in the past two years when the children were 32-year-olds, will be published this year.

An earlier part of the study published in the NZ Medical Journal in January, found that 80 per cent of the sample had been physically punished at home during childhood.

Twenty-nine per cent of the whole sample had only ever been smacked. A further 45 per cent had been hit with an object such as a strap or wooden spoon, and 6 per cent had suffered “extreme physical punishment” that left cuts, lasting bruises or welts or involved out-of-control hitting, choking, being thrown or sexually violated.

Numerous overseas studies have shown that children who are physically punished are more likely to be aggressive and antisocial, have poor parent-child relationships and develop mental illnesses.

But the lead author of the physical punishment part of the Dunedin study, psychologist Jane Millichamp, said the project appeared to be the first long-term study in the world to separate out those who had merely been smacked with an open hand.

Preliminary analysis showed that those who were merely smacked had “similar or even slightly better outcomes” than those who were not smacked in terms of aggression, substance abuse, adult convictions and school achievement.

“Study members in the ‘smacking only’ category of punishment appeared to be particularly high-functioning and achieving members of society,” she said.

“I have looked at just about every study I can lay my hands on, and there are thousands, and I have not found any evidence that an occasional mild smack with an open hand on the clothed behind or the leg or hand is harmful or instils violence in kids,” she said.

“I know that is not a popular thing to say, but it is certainly the case.

“The more honest researchers have said, let’s be honest, we all wish we could say it’s all very clear and that no parent should ever lift a finger on a child – although I think that is totally unrealistic as a single parent myself – but the big problem is that a lot of the studies have lumped a whole lot of forms of physical punishment together.”

Dr Millichamp said the Dunedin study so far found no evidence of the “slippery slope” theory – that parents who started off smacking often progressed to abusive punishments.

“We couldn’t find any,” she said.

The findings undermine Green MP Sue Bradford’s bill to repeal section 59 of the Crimes Act, which allows parents to use “reasonable force” to discipline children.

Dr Millichamp said there was no doubt that abusive punishments had long-lasting negative consequences, but the research did not support banning mild smacks.

“It’s unethical to make out that there is a lot of evidence that mild smacking is harmful,” she said.

She and colleague Judy Martin have made a written submission to Parliament suggesting that section 59 should be retained but amended to allow smacking with an open hand, but not hitting with a closed fist or certain objects.

14 September 2006 – Bradford’s Amendments A Smokescreen

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0609/S00160.htm
Bradford’s Amendments A Smokescreen
Thursday, 14 September 2006, 2:52 pm
Press Release: Family Integrity
Press Release For Immediate Distribution
Talk of MP Sue Bradford considering amendments to her Bill to repeal Section 59 is just a smokescreen.
The only amendments Bradford will consider are Clayton amendments, ones to make it clear parents can still pull children from harm’s way or restrain them from doing damage to selves or others or property. But such amendments are totally unnecessary since they are already covered in Sections 41, 48, 52, 53, 55 & 56 of the Crimes Act.
Bradford says she will not budge from her intention, spelled out clearly in the Bill’s Explanatory Note, to make it an act of criminal assault to use reasonable force to correct, train or discipline children.
This is utterly irrational. It means if Section 59 is repealed, there will be a massive increase in the kinds of behaviours now considered unreasonable and against the law: namely, any use of reasonable force to train your own children to be good citizens. Parents will have less protection in law than prostitutes.
ENDS

27 August 2006 – Honest words from Police Child Abuse specialist

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0608/S00312.htm
Honest words from Police Child Abuse specialist

Sunday, 27 August 2006, 2:50 pm
Press Release: Family First Lobby.

MEDIA RELEASE
Honest words from Police Child Abuse specialist

Lower Hutt Child Abuse Unit head Detective Sergeant Tusha Penny says that solo mothers need to exercise extreme caution after a Wellington man was convicted on five counts of child abuse against his former girlfriend’s son.

She said on TV One News (Saturday 26 August) “Our message to women would be, be very vigilant about who you let in your life and particularly into your home and into the lives of your children.”

“This is honest and factual information from someone with first hand experience of seeing the risk factors associated with child abuse,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of the Family First Lobby, who was a youthworker in South Auckland for 15 years, and is Chair of a trust he founded for at-risk youth.

The CYFS report released at the end of last month highlighted statistics showing that children living in households with an adult unrelated to them were almost 50 times as likely to die of an inflicted injury as those living with two biological parents.

According to a study published in 2005 in the journal Pediatrics, researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of Missouri found that young children who live with their mothers’ boyfriends or other unrelated adults are 48 times more likely to die from child abuse than those living with two biological parents,

And Canadian Researchers found that Preschool children in stepfamilies are 40x more likely as children in intact families to suffer physical or sexual abuse. They said that stepfathers are far more likely to assault nonbiological children than their own natural children.

“This does not mean that all children in step families are at risk of abuse,” says Mr McCoskrie. “However, the safest environment for a child to be raised is with their 2 biological parents. The CYFS report identified family breakdown as a key contributor to child abuse.”

“Of course, this has nothing to do with s59 – blamed for allowing child abuse,” says Mr McCoskrie. “However, it does raise the question of what are we are doing as a country in terms of government policy and community resources to encourage commitment from parents to be there for their children.”

We must do more to encourage and strengthen marriage – the safest environment for a child to live.

ENDS

26 August 2006 – UNICEF tells lies

Press Release — UNICEF tells lies
26 August 2006 10:35 p.m.

UNICEF tells lies.

Lie No. 1: (The purpose of s59) is “Essentially, to exempt parents from
retribution for assaults upon their children if they meet a standard of
reasonableness.” What idiot would ever believe that the MPs who composed
the Crimes Act in 1961 had that in mind? Facts: Section 59 recognises
and acknowledges that parents have a duty and responsibility to correct
their children and that such correction and discipline can require a
reasonable use of force that should not be criminalised. Section 59 says
the use of force is justified as long as two limiting factors are in
place: the motivation must be “by way of correction” and the force used
must be “reasonable in the circumstances”.

Lie No. 2: “What is ‘reasonable force’? It is whatever a judge or jury
says it is.” This is really an implied lie: that “reasonable force” is
something else, but UNICEF failed to reveal what they believe it is.
Fact: In UNICEF’s ideology, reasonable force is no force at all. To
them, any use of force, however light, is by definition violent abuse.
(See UN Committee on the Rights of the Child General Comment No. 8, June
2006 at ). UNICEF wants to impose its
extremist ideas by stealth on to every judge, jury and parent in the
land from this day forward.

Lie No. 3: “Section 59 has very little to do with smacking and much to
do with providing legal shelter for people who assault children in
painful, dangerous and humiliating ways.” UNICEF again slurs the MPs of
1961 by accusing them of holding these repulsive motives. Fact: The MPs
of 1961 were wiser than UNICEF for they understood that without Section
59, parents would commit criminal assault, according to the definition
of assault in Section 2 of the Crimes Act, if they hug a child without
the child’s permission, take the child by the hand to make it go with
the parents, confine the child to its room for time out and countless
other everyday acts of parenting. Section 59 is all about parental
authority: repeal Section 59 and parents will lose legal recognition of
their authority to correct or train or discipline their own children.
The authority will pass to the state or to “professional” agents…such
as UNICEF. They want your children.

Lie No. 4: “This archaic law has been used in New Zealand to protect
adults who’ve beaten children with planks of wood and riding crops.”
Facts: the repeal lobby can only ever use three or four cases in all of
NZ legal history, none of which help their case at all unless they twist
or leave out the details. Neither child in these two cases was beaten:
they were smacked in a judicial and controlled manner. The plank of wood
was 30x2cm, the size of a standard school ruler. The riding crop was
applied with only two strokes, the child submitted voluntarily to the
smacking, it restored family relationships and the school community
could hardly believe the improvement in the boy’s behaviour. Section 59
is used as a defense less than two times per year in New Zealand, and
most of the time, rather than hiding abuse, the caregiver is found to be
guilty. Section 59 operates exactly as it should: nailing true abuse and
protecting normal parents from charges of criminal assault for
reasonable corrective action.

Lie No. 5: “The alarmist story that repeal of section 59 will
‘criminalise’ good parents has been shown by the sensible response of
the police to have been the worst kind of scare-mongering.” Fact: the
letter from Dr Jack of the Police Commissioner’s office of 11 August
2005 (described by current Police Commissioner Howard Broad as “accurate
and authoritative”) declared simply that if Section 59 is repealed,
“smacking of a child by way of corrective action would be an assault,”
and “parents would not be authorised to use reasonable force by way of
correction.” There you have it plain and simple: even Sue Bradford’s
“light smacks” are acts of assault and the use of reasonable force is
unauthorised, outside the law, legally unjustified. Just as driving over
100 kph is a criminal activity, whether you are charged or not, so using
any force, reasonable or not, will be a criminal activity. And being
engaged in a criminal activity means you can be charged at any moment.
Another letter from Joanna Bond, Legal Advisor to the Police
Commissioner dated 11 July 2006, the one UNICEF is referring to as “the
sensible response”, included extracts from the Police Manual of Best
Practice wherein the first line reads: “The state has a duty to
prosecute people who engage in criminal activity.” The letter assumes
throughout that parents using force have committed a criminal act of
assault and describes the way they will be investigated and the ways
they may or may not be prosecuted.

Lie No. 6: “There will be no increase in convictions of parents if
repeal goes ahead.” Fact: since the threshold for charging parents with
criminal assault drops to zero-tolerance, there will have to be a rather
large increase in investigations, prosecutions and convictions. Unless
the Police cease to enforce the law. Or unless the Police pass all such
matters over to CYFs who have the power to remove your children first
and ask questions later. Once CYFs gets involved, life as you knew it
comes to an end. And the real child abuse begins the moment any strange
social worker enters your home and takes your child away from you merely
because she believes “there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that a
child or young person is suffering, or is likely to suffer,
ill-treatment, neglect, deprivation, abuse, or harm” (Section 39,
Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1989).

UNICEF and others resort to fabricating untruths because they are
desperate to see Section 59 repealed. Why? Because it will destroy
parental authority and allow these “child advocacy” groups greater and
easier access to other people’s children. It will ensure that parents
are shoved into a back-seat position so that these groups gain more
prominence, more counselling contracts and more clients.

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity
PO Box 9064
Palmerston North
New Zealand
Ph: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
Family.Integrity@xtra.co.nz
www.FamilyIntegrity.org.nz

Our Home….Our Castle

(Family Integrity Press Release above is based on this UNICEF release
below.)

UNICEF NZ Issues S59 Challenge To City Councils
Friday, 25 August 2006, 3:41 pm
Press Release: UNICEF
MEDIA RELEASE
UNICEF NZ ISSUES CHALLENGE TO CITY COUNCILS
Yesterday (24.Aug. 2006) UNICEF New Zealand issued a challenge to every
Mayor in New Zealand:
Lead the way and do what is right for New Zealand’s parents and
children.
Support the repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act.
David Kenkel, the UNICEF Advocacy Manager for New Zealand, said:
‘We are delighted that some City Councils have already acted so strongly
to support the parents and children of New Zealand. We congratulate
Porirua Council and Waitakere Council on their farsighted community
leadership.
We have also just heard the fantastic news that New Zealand’s biggest
council, Auckland City, have added their support by voting last night to
support the repeal of Section 59. We have a great deal of respect for
this council’s solid commitment to the principles and practices of care
for children, in line with New Zealand’s obligations to the United
Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC).
It is wonderful to see Councils being so committed to the wellbeing of
their communities. We want to thank these Councils on behalf of New
Zealand’s children.
Now we are waiting to see what action will be taken by the other Mayors
and Councils of New Zealand’.
ENDS
(The Email message that was sent out to New Zealand’s Mayors and Council
CE’s follows as body of the Email)

SUBJECT LINE: UNICEF’ challenge to community leaders
This is an opportunity for local communities in New Zealand to lead the
way
As you may know Porirua city council has already voted in support of the
repeal of section 59 of the crimes act. Waitakere city council has
issued a statement asserting their support for repeal.
Auckland city council is about to vote on the same issue.

Section 59 of the crimes act states:
‘Every parent of a child and 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.’ (S59 Crimes
Act 1961)
What is the purpose of s59 of the Crimes Act 1961?
Essentially, to exempt parents from retribution for assaults upon their
children if they meet a standard of reasonableness.
What is ‘reasonable force’?
It is whatever a judge or jury says it is.

Section 59 has very little to with smacking and much to do with
providing legal shelter for people who assault children in painful,
dangerous and humiliating ways.
This archaic law has been used in New Zealand to protect adults who’ve
beaten children with planks of wood and riding crops.
International and New Zealand research on children and discipline show
that striking children does no good and can do much harm. Hitting
children is demonstrated to be the least effective form of discipline
and the vast majority of parents who are honest and brave enough to talk
about it admit that when they have hit their children it is more to do
with frustration, desperation and anger than anything reasonable.
New Zealand needs to be committed to its parents and recognise that
parenting is one of the hardest jobs of all. Being a good parent doesn’t
mean being perfect, but it should mean aiming to do what works rather
than justifying and excusing what doesn’t work. This law doesn’t help
New Zealand parents or New Zealand children. It sanctions what’s worst
rather than encouraging what’s best.
The alarmist story that repeal of section 59 will ‘criminalise’ good
parents has been shown by the sensible response of the police to have
been the worst kind of scare-mongering. There will be no increase in
convictions of parents if repeal goes ahead.
What will change is that we as a nation will do a better job of facing
up to what we need to do better.
We at UNICEF New Zealand ask you as community leaders to do what’s best
for New Zealand’s parents and children. Support repeal of Section 59 and
send a clear message to parliament to do the same.

25 August 2006 – Family Integrity Comments on Police Comments

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0608/S00288.htm

Family Integrity Comments on Police Comments
Friday, 25 August 2006, 9:48 am
Press Release: Family Integrity
EPOCH NZ said yesterday they are greatly reassured by the Police
Commissioner’s latest statement as to how the Police would respond to
parents using even minor physical punishment with their children should
Section 59 ever be repealed. The Police confirmed that even minor
physical punishment would be worthy of an investigation for assault. The
Police Commissioner wrote to Family Integrity last year to say not only
light physical punishment but any form of force by way of correction
would not be authorised by law.
EPOCH said the same in their own newsletter of July 2005: “If section 59
is repealed, parents could be charged with assault if using any force
for the purposes of correction.” Please note: a charge of criminal
assault can arise from the use of “any” force, not just “minor physical
punishment”.

So EPOCH have confirmed again a parent’s nightmare: that any form of
force by parents toward their children for correction, training or
discipline would be a criminal act of assault, not only worthy of a
police investigation with all its attendant stress and trauma on the
children, the marriage and the family, but possibly worth as much as two
years in jail according to Section 194(a) of the Crimes Act.

Time out or carrying an objecting child to bed or making a child eat
something specific or change out of certain clothing or holding a hand
to make the child go with you will all become criminal acts of assault.
This is certain and undeniable, given the definition of assault from
Section 2 of the Crimes Act. And after all, if a stranger could not use
even reasonable force to do any of these to your child, you will not be
allowed to use force to do any of these to your own child either,
precisely as Sue Bradford intends according to her Explanatory Note in
the Bill itself.

EPOCH are greatly reassured because the Police have confirmed they will
not go lightly on parents who would dare to discipline their own
children. Repeal of Section 59 will be disastrous for New Zealand
families.

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

4 August 2006 – Marc My Words: The NZ Family R.I.P.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0608/S00051.htm

Friday, 4 August 2006, 2:04 pm
Column: Marc Alexander
Marc My Words – 4 August 2006
Political comment
By
Marc Alexander
The NZ Family 1999-2006 R.I.P.

The last seven years have not been good for the Kiwi family. Despite huge budget surpluses, increasing employment opportunities and the creation of yet another bureaucracy supposedly aimed at helping families, the prognosis for our bedrock institution is far from rosy. The sad reality is that there has been an unprecedented attack on the family to the detriment of our shared future. Unfortunately the full consequences won’t be obvious until much later as the intergenerational impact is unfolds. It is no accident for example, that the rise in social indicators of crime and violence, welfare dependency, falls in educational outcomes, breakdown of community cohesiveness, increasing youth and senior citizen suicides coincided with policies back in the seventies which undermined the traditional modus operandi of families. While many of the policies were brought in for the best of reasons the same excuse cannot be said for the last seven years.

Much of the recent assault has been through a subterfuge calculated to undermine the status and value of marriage by affording every other form of relationship as of equal worth. Supporting such diversity without discernment however, is no more than an elevation of unequal and contrary alternatives without consideration of worthiness. What we have seen is the devaluing of the nature and purpose of family by a government that is inexorably supporting all relationships irrespective of their merits in sustaining our historical traditions and culture. It is one thing to give help to those who need a feasible way out of damaging relationships – particularly when children may be involved – but it is something else again to dock the economically viable family structure simply to subsidies less resilient relationships, presenting them as similarly valid. For a start, there will be no end for the need to further subsidise them, in part because their economic consequences will be hidden by a process that will, in itself, undermine the economic viability of the traditional family.

The real reason why the present Labour government loathes the institution of marriage is because it competes with it. Traditional families always were the primary socializing agency whereupon the lifelong welfare (in its truest meaning) of each individual relied. Family incorporated parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles and even close friends. Who didn’t have an unrelated but much loved family friend referred to as Auntie?

Family was the foundation of community. Prior to the advent of government contrived social security agencies, the family took care of itself. And those which couldn’t relied upon their community.

During times of particular hardships, some families benefited from non-government charitable organizations which acted from a sense of civic duty and social obligation. It is an indictment upon our present times that such an ethical responsibility to society has been all but forgotten under the so-called progressive welfarism of successive governments. It’s last dying gasps are still with us in the many wonderful community organizations still trying to do what governments cannot: give community its sense of spirit and cohesion. The trade-off however has been an unmitigated disaster: the rising tide of government intrusions into our lives has accompanied a corresponding decrease in our collective ethical considerations towards our social obligations.

Not long ago we had every incentive to look after our families. Our emotional as well as financial well-being depended on it. We cared well for our children and our parents knowing that in due course we ourselves would be cared by them. Abusing either implied consequences that directly affected us. So too we did our bit to help neighbors and our wider community seeing our obligations as a fair exchange for the benefits which outweighed them. Having good values meant reciprocity of compassion and kindness in discharging our civic duties. Quite simply you took care of those who in turn would take care of you. We had a direct vested interest in being good citizens.

Government stepped in and changed all that. In return for voter loyalty it no longer mattered how you treated your family or your community – you were looked after regardless. Gratitude for individual compassion slowly gave way to a sense of entitlement and with it, the ethical nature of responsibility ebbed. Parents no longer needed to do their best for children because no longer did their future depend on it. Neither did they have need of the cohesion of their community. Government soon entrenched itself into the very fabric of individual, family and community relations providing perverse incentives to look upon it as the main arbiter of how life would run its course. No longer were we dependant on our families and communities but now the government. Through its welfare agencies dependence eroded the strength of families and in so doing destroyed the culture of social responsibility just as it has the ethic of work for reward.

I suppose it’s a fair question to ask why this Labour government should shoulder much of the responsibility. After all, it came to the Treasury benches in 1999 inheriting much of the welfare policies cumulatively responsible for the processes outlined above. While much of the damage to our social foundation was well underway before 1999, the years since have seen an unprecedented onslaught embedding and extending policies that have redefined the nature of family and entombing its traditional purpose into oblivion.

We rid the notion of culpability in a marriage failure as though it doesn’t matter. It does. While we shouldn’t drag every personal failing into the light of public scrutiny, the conduct of individuals actually does have bearing on who is awarded custody of the children or how the material worth of the union is to be divided. How can it not? The alternative is to absolve responsibility for our own actions, and no interaction should ever escape that.

Families provide stability and to argue, as some have, that form and function can somehow be pried apart – that they can be mutually exclusive concepts – is to argue that kiwis can fly at least in principle. It is a nonsense worthy of the likes of the Labour frontbench academics. Not all mothers or fathers are born equal, and some shouldn’t be, but one thing is clear: no government can ever hope to replace their roles. Parenting should never be left up to the legislative discretion of a Labour Party elite that eschews having children themselves. Committees can never replace the flesh and blood realities of childrearing.

In the last seven years more families than ever before accept handouts from the government. Calling Working for Families a targeted tax break is disingenuous precisely because it does not relate to work effort but governments largesse to reward certain families above others. In at least one way it pays those families with the most future voters in that income bracket. It is a cynical deceit whereby a decreasing population is proportionately required to contribute to an increasing proportion of dependant Labour voters. Small wonder so many are flying across the Tasman.

The stratagem of denying the material consequences of marriage, and the obfuscation of its form by advancing unsustainable alternatives places the indulgent desires of reckless adults ahead of the contribution of family; an institution which has protected society against the worst excesses of governments. We now have one in four children born out of wedlock as a result. Can we really be surprised at the social costs? Kids with little appreciation of what a family is? The rising deficiencies in social integration, cohesiveness, and purposefulness? This Labour government has exceeded all its previous incarnations in subsidizing family breakdown (the abuses of the Independent Youth Benefit for example). Or what about Minister of Courts Rick Barker who announced a plan to spend $6 million on a new initiative called ‘How to Help Your Kids When You Separate’? It is all an admission of failure.

The family has always been a target of Labour socialists specifically because it promotes resilience, self-reliance and shuns the encroaching power of the state. The family has throughout history been a repository and incubator of individual freedom – and that is something the present government is ideologically opposed to. After all, how could any government compete in imparting its vision on those who have the strength and capability of forging their own?

And that’s what it’s really all about.

ENDS

2 August 2006 – Family First Release – CYFS Complaint Authority urgently needed

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0608/S00018.htm

CYFS Complaint Authority urgently needed
Wednesday, 2 August 2006, 2:00 pm
Press Release: Family First Lobby.
MEDIA RELEASE
2 AUGUST 2006
CYFS Complaint Authority urgently needed

Family First supports the call for an independent CYFS Complaint Authority.

“United Future’s Family Spokesperson Judy Turner is quite right when she says there is no avenue for people who feel they have been unfairly treated by the Children’s, Youth and Family Services,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First.

“Family First is being regularly contacted by families who claim to have been unfairly treated by CYFS’s social workers – yet they have no independent body to appeal to. Their only option is a costly court process where CYFS have an unlimited pool of resources to defend its actions, courtesy of the taxpayer.”

“This is grossly unfair when families are being ripped apart, often just based on the subjective judgment of a social worker.

There is also evidence that CYFS are not following their own procedures, and are not acting where they should!

Bob McCoskrie has a background of social work in South Auckland for 15 years and knows too well how difficult it is to get CYFS to intervene on the really urgent cases. Yet there is no real avenue for appeal in these cases either.

“There is a Health and Disability Commissioner, a Police Complaints Authority, even a Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal,”says Mr McCoskrie. “We desperately need an independent body to hear complaints about the highly sensitive nature of intervening in families.”

Contrary to Judy Turner’s suggestion, the Children’s Commissioner is not independent enough to fulfil this task.

Family First calls on all MP’s, the majority who will have received anecdotal evidence of claims of unfair treatment by CYFS, to support the urgent establishment of a CYFS Complaint Authority.

ENDS

28 July 2006 – S.P.C.S. Media Report – Swedish Parents Kill 258 of their children (1965-1999)

http://spcs.org.nz/content/view/113/1/

Society for the Promotion of Community Standards – Media Report 28/07/06

Sweden has been hailed by Green MP Sue Bradford as an enlightened country where anti-smacking legislation has had a significant impact on reducing the number of child homicides committed by parents. She wants to repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act, which provides a defence of “reasonable force” to parents, or those in the place of parents, charged with smacking their children for the purpose of corrective (domestic) discipline. She claims Sweden’s child homicide rate is one case every four years, as opposed to one every month in New Zealand (Close Up TV One 19 July). Her call for the repeal of Section 59 is based on lies, deceit and shoddy reasoning.

In Sweden 258 children under the age of 16 years were killed by their own parents between the years 1965 and 1999 – an average rate of about seven child homicides per year – over a 35 year time period when legislation had been in place for some time that banned smacking. These figures are based on a major published study carried out by researchers from the University of Stockholm and reported in a leading Swedish newspaper The Daily News (May 12, 2006). They did not include child homicides committed by persons unknown to the child victims or those where the relationship of killer and victim was unknown.

Figures released by Child Youth and Family yesterday revealed that for the five year period 1999-2003 just over one child under 15 years of age died on average in New Zealand every two months as a result of “maltreatment” – about half the rate Ms Bradford has claimed (“maltreatment” is defined as “all aspects of abuse and neglect”). These figures (annual rates ranging from 2-11), unlike the Swedish figures quoted by Mrs Harrold-Claesson, do include child homicides committed by non-parents, including total strangers. (If this stranger component, about 6% of the homicides committed over the five year period in NZ reported by CYF, is removed, the child homicide average annual rate (1999-2003) drops slightly).

The Swedish child homicide rates, seven on average per year (1965-1999), were recently highlighted by Swedish family lawyer Ruby Harrold- Claesson on TV One’s Close-Up (19 July). Ms Bradford, who was also interviewed on the same programme, rubbished Mrs Harrold-Classeon’s figures, stating: “Basically I don’t accept what Ruby is saying. Her credibility in Sweden is not high .. to be polite…” (This attack on Ruby’s character did nothing to help Ms Bradford’s cause).

Earlier in the interview Ms Bradford had admitted she was aware of one of the sources from which Mrs Harrold-Claessen drew her figures: The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention. And yet she later attacked her for disseminating misinformation. Ms Bradford provided no source for her own spurious figures: her erroneous claim that there is only one child homicide in Sweden every four years.

Ms Bradford wants to model our legislation on Swedish law and pave the way for additional laws that will enable legislators to ban smacking altogether as Sweden has done. She incorrectly claims her bill is similar to Swedish legislation passed in 1957, where legislators removed the legal defence of reasonable force for the purpose of corrective discipline. However, the Swedish law change did not affect the criminal law as Bradford’s bill does. It only affected the Parental Code (Civil Law).

Yesterday, when Mrs Harrold-Claessen provided evidence to the Justice and Electoral Committee examining Ms Bradford’s bill outlawing smacking, she provided documentation that showed that in the first three months of this year at least four children died in Sweden of child abuse at the hands of their parents. She also said that increased institutional violence against children is occurring throughout Sweden as a result of the 1979 Swedish law banning smacking, and provided some horrific examples.

The Swedish social service agencies – the equivalent of our Child, Youth and Family Services – are currently using their greatly increased powers to remove children from their parents when they follow up on unproven and often spurious allegations relating to the application of reasonable disciplinary measures by parents.

One case documented by Mrs Harrold-Claesson, involved a couple who have had all seven of their children removed from them by a Swedish state agency. They have yet to have them returned, despite the fact that the one parent, the father, who was charged with “gross disturbance of the peace” under anti-smacking legislation, was acquitted in November 2003. The mother was not accused of any misdemeanours.

The Society, along with all members of the S. 59 Coalition, is calling on MP’s to examine the facts and reject Ms Bradford’s bill. Banning smacking didn’t reduce child abuse in Sweden and it won’t reduce child homicides here. All it will do is criminalise parents for lightly smacking their children and undermine the authority parents should have with respect to their duty and responsibility to discipline their children.

APPENDIX

The Society has released an English translation of some important sections of the Daily News article which is in Swedish, and can be found at
http://www.dn.se/DNet/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=572&a=544328&previousRenderType=2
ENGLISH TRANSLATION

“Step-parents abuse children to death more often”

In 35 years 258 children in Sweden were killed by their parents. 23 of them were ill-treated to death. Step-children were more often killed by ill-treatment than children who were killed by their biological parents, shows a new study from The University of Stockholm.

The Daily News, May 12, 2006 [In Swedish]

http://www.dn.se/DNet/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=572&a=544328&previousRenderType=2

258 children under the age of 16 were killed by their parents between 1965 and 1999. 23 of the children (9%) were abused to death. Step-children are more often killed by abuse than children who are killed by their biological parents, according to new research from the University of Stockholm. More than half of the 258 children were killed in connection with a conflict between the parents e.g. divorce or custody battle. Most of these children died in connection with the extended suicide where the perpetrator took or tried to take his own life. The men who murdered their children also often took the life of their partner. On the other hand, no woman tried to kill their partner when she murdered the children, writes senior lecturer Hans Temrin and PhD student Johanna Nordlund at The University of Stockholm.

We have done research into the cases where children under the age of 16 were killed by their parents in Sweden between the years 1965-1999. In total, 258 children were killed in 200 cases during these 35 years, in average 7 children a year. More than half of the victims were under the age of 5 years old (59%, 151 children).

23 of the 258 victims, or 9 %, were killed by gross abuse.

We have 9 cases in total where the step-parents murdered their step-children. In total 3.5 % of the children were step-children, which not is a overrepresentation in relationship to the proportion of step-children in the population. Step-children are on the other hand more often killed by abuse than children killed by their biological parents. The step-parents who were perpetrators in our material, had often a criminal background, were addicts or earlier convicted for violent crimes.

More than half of the 158 victims were killed in connection with a conflict between the parents (e.g. divorce or custody battle) where the direct reason does not seem to be connected to the child.

None of these children were killed by abuse, like kicks or punches, instead most often by the perpetrator drowning or strangling the children.

Most of these children died in an extended suicide where both the partner and the children were killed at the same time.

In more than 65% of the cases the perpetrator tried to take or took his own life in connection to the crime. The perpetrator suffered from some kind of mental illness or was deeply depressed in two thirds of the cases.

This shows that of the children who were killed by their parents, only a small part of them were killed by lethal violence. [The prior sentence, though incoherent, is an accurate translation of the Swedish text.] Step-parents are still over-represented as perpetrators when children have been abused to death.

A study performed by Richard Gelles and ?ke Edfelt in 1986 compared Sweden and the USA in regard to violence against children. The study showed that Swedish parents in general use less violence than American parents. This difference was explained by the relatively new law against corporal punishment.

But when you compared the violence against children more specifically, there was no major difference between the countries.

27 July 2006 – CYF Report backs up Family First

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0607/S00328.htm
CYF Report backs up Family First

Friday, 28 July 2006, 9:44 am
Press Release: Family First Lobby.
MEDIA RELEASE
27 JULY 2006

CYF Report backs up what Family First has been saying

The CYF report released today “Children at Increased Risk of Death from Maltreatment and Strategies for Prevention” reinforces what Family First has been saying.

The report identified the factors which signaled greater risk for children including poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and family breakdown. This is consistent with the 2003 UNICEF report on maltreatment deaths.

Statistics also showed that children living in households with an adult unrelated to them were almost 50 times as likely to die of an inflicted injury as those living with two biological parents! (consistent with research from the University of Chicago and the University of Missouri-Columbia published in Nov 2005.)

“Family First has consistently highlighted these factors, especially the breakdown of the family unit,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First, “as being the real causes of our high rate of child abuse, rather than the superficial solution of targeting s59 of the Crimes Act.”

The NZ Council of Christian Social Services is quite correct when it says in its report that “there is a failure at the political and departmental level to understand or remain committed to an understanding of the fundamentals of how families and communities operate.”

“This is the reason that the recent “Every Child Counts” Conference has continued to remain irrelevant in the discussion on dealing with Child Abuse because of its obsession with smacking!” says Mr McCoskrie. “A recent Swedish government report stated “A weak family economy stands out as the background factor most closely associated with child abuse, sexual abuse, and bullying. The worse the family economy, the greater the risk of abuse.””

Family First repeats its call for better community investment in
1. providing relationship, marriage and parenting education and early intervention support so that families have optimal chances for success, reducing the stress on families and the unacceptable level of domestic violence
2. building an economy that is family-friendly – that doesn’t financially penalise a stay-home parent, that allows greater flexibility in workplace culture to cater for family needs, and provides tax breaks for families to offset declining housing affordability, and rising education, health and living costs.
3. adopting a zero tolerance to substance abuse including alcohol and all illicit drugs

ENDS

26 July 2006 – Every Child Counts miss the point

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0607/S00295.htm
Every Child Counts miss the point

Wednesday, 26 July 2006, 3:38 pm
Press Release: Family First Lobby.
26 July 2006

Every Child Counts Conference continues to totally miss the point

Yet another government funded talkfest has either failed to, or is unwilling to, identify the real causes behind the high rate of child abuse in NZ.

“The best the Every Child Counts conference being held in Wellington is able to offer is to continue to try to persuade NZ’ers that smacking is the big problem,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First, “and that child abuse rates will plummet when we treat parents who smack as child abusers. But according to every poll, over 80% of NZ’ers know that this is totally wrong.”

“And Kiwi parents are concerned that social workers will remove children from homes if parents smack them. There are already cases of that happening, even with s59 still in place! Parents have every right to be concerned with the actions of CYF, and even more so if s59 is repealed,” says Mr McCoskrie.

The questions we would put to the Every Child Counts conference are:

* why is it that 4 of the 5 countries with the lowest child abuse rate in the OECD have not banned smacking?

* why is it that Sweden, held up as a model country for being one of the first to ban smacking in 1979, has just set up a special commission to investigate the high number of cases where children die in violent circumstances in the hands of their parents?

* The UNICEF report into maltreatment (2003) identified substance abuse, family breakdown, poverty and stress as the key indicators for child abuse? Why is this information being ignored and good parenting practice being targeted?

* Do we want a situation like Sweden with twice as many children in foster care homes (per head of pop’n)?

In fact, in the Statement of Intent just released by the Ministry of Social Development, “when abuse, neglect or insecurity of care is reported to us, we assess and when necessary investigate the situation.. We involve Police, Health and Education agencies in investigations if necessary.” It is quite clear that CYF is in the ‘driving seat’.

“NZ parents are totally justified in opposing a bill that penalises good parents, refuses to acknowledge the real causes of child abuse, and opens families to even more intrusion by CYF and governmental agencies.”

ENDS

20 July 2006 – New Zealand Herald – Smack ban ‘breaking up families’

Ruby Harrold-Claesson

Smack ban ‘breaking up families’

Thursday July 20, 2006
By Simon Collins

A Swedish human rights campaigner says Sweden’s ban on smacking has broken up families and led to thousands of children being taken away from their parents every year.

Jamaican-born Ruby Harrold-Claesson, who chairs the Nordic Committee for Human Rights, says Sweden’s smacking ban has also produced “badly behaved” children and young people who have a reputation for “hooliganism” in Europe.

She has been brought to New Zealand by the Christian-based Family Integrity and other groups
opposing Green MP Sue Bradford’s bill to remove a legal defence allowing parents to use “reasonable force” to discipline their children.

Sweden had 35,950 children under 18 in state care in 1999, or almost one child in every 50 –
although some of these were cared for with their parents in special facilities.

The comparable figure in Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) care in New Zealand last year was just 5071, or only one child in 200.

Mrs Harrold-Claesson said “administrative violence” by the Swedish state was now worse than any
violence by parents in their homes.

“If any parent smacks a child, the parent faces prosecution and the child can be taken away from
them,” she said.

As a lawyer, she has represented many parents who have had their children taken because of what they felt was reasonable discipline.

In a 2003 case, seven children aged between 13 and 4 were taken from their parents in the town of Svalov when their father was charged with “gross disturbance of the peace” for grabbing some of his children by the arms or neck and taking them to their rooms.

The father was held in jail for a month but was then acquitted, and the mother was not accused of any misdemeanours. But the Swedish equivalent of CYFS has so far refused to return their children, and in January last year took their newborn eighth child into care too.

“Until today, that family is fighting to get their children back,” Mrs Harrold-Claesson said.

In another case, a mother slapped the faces of her two teenage daughters because they refused to
empty the dishwasher. She was fined and the girls were removed from her care.

Mrs Harrold-Claesson said foster care in Sweden had become a multibillion-dollar industry, with
foster parents paid both taxable and non-taxable payments. For children with special needs, payments ranged up to $1044 a day.

Children were often physically, sexually and emotionally abused in foster homes, but her complaints about foster parents were routinely ignored.

Mrs Harrold-Claesson herself has been banned from legal aid work in her city of Gothenburg since
1996 – a ban which she says is because she challenged Swedish laws at the European Commission for Human Rights.

A coalition of groups supporting Ms Bradford’s bill, including Barnardos, Plunket and the office of Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro, referred reporters to an article published two years ago about the ban. Barnardos chief executive Murray Edridge said Mrs Harrold-Claesson “is reported as acknowledging that she is not a member of the Swedish Law Society and that she is banned from practising in courts in Western Sweden.

“We understand that she is now distancing herself from Family Integrity, yet she herself is quoted in Sweden as saying: ‘Children are emotional creatures who listen well through their skin,”‘ Mr Edridge said in a written statement.

“So far as I am concerned, she has come to New Zealand now under very dubious circumstances.”

But Mrs Harrold-Claesson said she was still able to practise fee-paid legal work in Gothenburg and legal aid work outside that city. She has said she did not belong to the law society because she did not have the required income of at least 500,000 Swedish kroner ($108,000).

She said the quote about children “listening through their skin” came from a case where a
non-Swedish-speaking immigrant boy was taken from his mother, another mother tried to comfort him and was told: “Don’t bother, he won’t understand you anyway.”

“I said children are emotional creatures, they understand through their skin,” she said.

However, she supported parents’ right to smack and said she smacked her own three children.* Mrs
Harrold-Claesson speaks at public meetings in Lower Hutt on Saturday and in Porirua, Hamilton,
Manukau and Birkenhead next week.

20 July 2006 – Memo to anti-smacking lobby: please tell the truth

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0607/S00211.htm
Memo to anti-smacking lobby: please tell the truth

Thursday, 20 July 2006, 10:10 am
Press Release: Family First Lobby.
MEDIA RELEASE
19 JULY 2006

Memo to anti-smacking lobby – please tell the truth!

The opponents of s59 of the Crimes Act continue to misquote Swedish figures (as occurred on TVNZ ‘s Close Up tonight) and thereby mislead the public of NZ.

They state that only 1 child abuse happens on average every 4 years in Sweden since the smacking ban.

This is totally false. In the first 3 months of this year alone, there have been 4 child homicides!

1. Leo – 3 years old – killed by his mother February 2006.
http://www.thelocal.se/article.php?ID=3387&date=20060327

2. 3 year old Freddie, adopted by a Swedish couple in 2005. He did not behave in the way they had expected him to and when he peed on the floor, his adoptive mother made him lick it up. He died of ill-treatment and lack of care January 8, 2006
http://www.adoption.com/includes/frame.php?url=http://www.radio.cz/en/article/76401

3. “The flag outside Tungelsta school, south of Stockholm, was at half-staff this morning, a sombre tribute to the 12-year-old student who was stabbed to death over the weekend. Police were quick in detaining the girl’s 26-year-old stepfather. He is in custody for allegedly murdering the girl and raping her 13-year-old friend.”
http://www.thelocal.se/article.php?ID=3930&date=20060529

4. Bobby, 10, reported ‘disappeared’ in January 2006 while his mother and stepfather were visiting a shopping centre in Gothenburg. The Police searched far and wide. In February, the mother broke down and led the Police to the spot on a frozen lake where they had dumped the biy’s body after wrapping him in plastic bags
http://www.thelocal.se/article.php?ID=4022&date=20060609

In fact, after the ‘Bobby’ case, Sweden’s government was to set up a special commission to investigate cases where children die in violent circumstances. Morgan Johansson, the public health minister, said “Every year, eight to ten, sometimes as many as twelve children die in Sweden due to violence. This has been true for several years,” Johansson said. http://www.thelocal.se/article.php?ID=3734&date=20060505

End of story – please.

19 July 2006 – Swedish cases send warning to Kiwi families

Swedish cases send warning to Kiwi families

The following actual Swedish cases will serve as examples of what happens to good parents when smacking and parental discipline is banned, as proposed by Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking Bill currently before Parliament.

Ruby Harrold-Claesson, a Swedish lawyer, who is in NZ is able to comment on these cases in more detail.

Section 59 protects good parents doing a great job!

1 – Teacher Case I

(NR B 247/84, Judgement DB 294 (District Court); B 245/84 Judgement nr DB 2029, Court of Appeal)

This was the first case that received media attention world-wide, and dates from 1984.

The facts of the case are as follows: A boy had placed his little brother on the back of his bicycle several times that day and ridden off down the street. The father had warned him about the danger of taking his little brother on the bicycle and cycling through the Saturday morning traffic with him. He also warned that the spokes could injure the small boy’s foot. But the boy took no notice of his father. After a while, the boy returned home with his little brother who was crying because his foot had got caught in the spokes. The father confiscated the boy’s bicycle and locked it away. He then took the boy into the house and gave him three smacks on his bottom with some twigs.

The father in Gällivare, in the north of Sweden, a teacher, was prosecuted for, and found guilty of assault of his 12-year-old son, because he had smacked his son.

The Court of Appeals admitted that the father had all reason to be angry at his son because the boy had openly disregarded and disobeyed his parents’ orders NEVER to toe his little brother on his bicycle. However, the Court of Appeals maintained that, no matter what a child does, the law guarantees that he should never be smacked by his parents.

2 – The Hungarian Case

(Kristianstad District Court Case no. B 169/85 Verdict DB 247; District Administrative Court in Kristianstad Case no. Ö 291-84 & Ö 136-85)

A child had been fighting with the other children at school and had even bitten a teacher. Kristianstad District Court issued a suspended sentence against a Hungarian man for having smacked his seven-year-old son. The child was removed from their home and placed in social custody.

Psychiatric care was recommended both for the boy and the chastising father.

3 – The American Case

(Solna District Court B 340/85 verdict DB 372, District Administrative Court in Stockholm case no. Ö 2123-84)

Solna District Court sentenced an American residing in Sweden for maltreatment of his 15-year-old daughter and the girl was taken into social custody. The father had smacked her on her bottom with the palm of his hand one morning when she had locked herself in the bathroom and prevented the other members of the family from getting ready to leave home for their daily routines.

The girl was raped while at the institution. Her parents reported the matter to the police, but the matter was not investigated.

4 – The Yavari case

The Yavari case took place in 1988 and was for several weeks recurring front-page news in the evening newspaper Göteborgs Tidningen (GT) and the Christian newspaper DAGEN “The Day”.

A simple question from the little four-year-old Yavari girl to her day-carer gave rise to a nightmare experience for the Yavari family. The little girl asked her day-carer if her son would get a smacking because he had done something pretty nasty. The day-carer, employed by the community, came to the conclusion that the Yavari children must have been accustomed to being beaten i.e. “maltreated in their home”. She therefore made a report to her employer, and the employer in her turn made a formal report to the social authorities in Götene. All three children in the Yavari family were immediately taken into social custody and taken to hospital for examination. A series of doctor’s certificates stated that the children showed no signs of bruises or beating.

The chairman of the social authorities refused to drop the case so the Yavaris’ took their children and fled to England.

5 – The Sandviken Case

(Stockholm District Court Verdict 2/12 1988; Svea Court of Appeals T 7/89)

On April 28, 1983, the president of the social district council decided to take a five-year-old child into public care, alleging that the father had ill-treated the boy. The boy had blisters and scars on his body, which looked like cigarette burns.

The boy was placed in hospital for examination. The blisters appeared even there! The father was accused of sneaking into the hospital and inflicting wounds on his son.

But the child had a skin disease, Atopia. The father suffered from the same disease, too. However, no one listened to the explanations given by the parents.

The social workers forced the parents to divorce, if the mother wanted to get her child back. They divorced. After many medical examinations a specialist confirmed that the boy had a skin disease. The strain and stress of the custody and divorce cases induced a nervous breakdown in the father.

The father then sued the Swedish State, the Commune and the Health Board for the suffering he had been inflicted. The Courts granted him substantial damages but he had lost his health and family life forever.

6 – Teacher case II

(B 2637/92 Gothenburg District Court)

In September 1992 a teacher was convicted and fined for having maltreated his 12 year-old son. The parents – both intellectuals – had made certain rules as regards the tidying of the children’s rooms and watching the Tele. The children were not allowed to watch TV all evening, and their TV-time was restricted to 2 hours per evening including playing computer games. It was a controversy about watching the Tele that triggered off the happenings on April 9.

The father told his son to turn off the Tele and empty the garbage. The boy refused to comply, so his father turned off the Tele, removed the boy bodily from the sofa, put the garbage bag in his hand and shoved him towards the door. The boy cried and the following day he went to the police and reported being beaten and kicked – that he had been maltreated by his father.

The boy informed his father that he had reported him to the police, and the father explained what the consequences could be. The boy rushed off to the police station to withdraw his statement but instead, that resulted in the father also being charged for “interfering in due process”. Because of the psychic press on the family, the father did not appeal the case.

7 – The Refugee Mother Case

(B 4477/92 Gothenburg District Court)

On December 10, 1992 a 23 year old sole-parent and refugee, mother of two girls aged seven and six years, was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment for having smacked her younger daughter. The young woman came as a refugee from Eritrea and her children came to Sweden in May 1992. She was not informed about the existence of the anti-smacking law.

The younger daughter was very stubborn and kept on picking fights with her older sister, who was having an attack of asthma. The mother intervened and, at the end of her tether, when the little girl would not stop fighting, she smacked her. The child bore marks on her body the following day when she was taken to the childcare centre to be vaccinated. The children, who knew no Swedish, were immediately taken into social custody and placed in an orphanage.

The mother was held in arrest for seven days. She was released on bail because she had refused to eat. However she was forbidden to make contact with her children for another six weeks. The children thought that the police had taken their mother and executed her, just like the Ethiopian police did with people during the war.

The case was appealed to The Court of Appeals for Western Sweden, where her sentence was mitigated – the verdict was: 6 months imprisonment.

8 – The Pre-school teacher case

(B 5050/92 Gothenburg District Court)

This is a case about a young Finnish mother who is accused of maltreating her 12 year old daughter who always kept on stealing and running away from home. The mother and daughter have been living in Sweden for 6 years and the child was emotionally disturbed because of alleged sexual abuse from her father (the parents divorced before mother and daughter moved to Sweden).

Once when the girl had run away from home she was taken care of by the police and the social authorities in Falköping. The girl then said that she was afraid to return home because her mother would be angry with her for having run off once again, that her mother would perhaps smack her.

The policeman then advised the girl of her rights according to the law, and that her mother was not allowed to even lay a finger on her – only talk to her. She was also encouraged to go to the police and report her mother if ever she should lay hands on her.

A few weeks later, the girl ran off once again and when she finally returned home late that night she was very provocative. Her mother became angry and slapped her face. The girl went to the police the next morning and filed charges against her mother.

The mother was found guilty of maltreatment and issued a suspended sentence on March 23, 1993.

9 – The Bosnian Refugee Case

(Landscrona District Court; Case no. B 163/96)

On June 12 1996, Landscrona District Court sentenced a Bosnian refugee mother to a suspended sentence and a heavy fine, for having hit her 15 year old daughter with a belt on the evening of October 9, 1995.

The mother had asked her daughter to go to the washroom in the basement of the apartment building they inhabited, to collect the family’s laundry. A neighbour took the laundry basket up to the family and told the parents that there was no one in the washroom. The girl returned home a few hours later. She had gone to see a friend.

Her mother became angry with her because she had not done what she was told to do. After a short exchange the mother grabbed a belt hanging in the hall and hit the girl.

The social authorities removed the girl from the custody of her parents and placed her in a foster home. The address where the girl was placed was held secret from her parents. According to the information in the social investigation, the parents said that the girl could move back home to them, but that she would have to follow the rules set down by them and that they were going to smack her anytime she broke any rules.

At the interrogation the father asked the police what they as parents should do when their 15 year old was disobedient and misbehaving. The police advised the parents to consult the social workers!

10 – The parents in Stockholm

(Southern Roslags District Court; B 2549-98)

On December 10, 1998, the Southern Roslags District Court sentenced a mother and adopted father to two months imprisonment each for having smacked their six year old daughter between January 1, 1997 and November 27 1997. The parents were also sentenced to pay a fine and to pay damages to their daughter.

The parents disputed the charges but both admitted to smacking the little girl. The child was always given three warnings before she was smacked. They informed the Court that the reason why they used a shoe-horn instead of their hand, is because the hand represents love, not punishment.

Southern Roslags District Court wrote in its verdict, the following:

” The ill-treatment of V has taken place in her home during a long period of time and it has been planned and systematic. Even if the injuries have been relatively slight, the deeds must be judged as assault and battery, due to the conditions we have stated above. Assault and battery is a crime of the sort that is punished by prison. To this must be added the fact that the assault was perpetrated on a child by her mother and step-father for almost one whole year.

The reasoning of the Court concerning the damages awarded to the child is as follows:

“Because of the outcome of the case (the parents) will have pay damages to (the child). The assault that she has been exposed to has, upon an objective evaluation, caused her a serious violation of her personal integrity. The fact that (she) is so young that it makes it difficult to make a closer evaluation of her subjective experiences of what she has experienced, does not exclude her right to be rewarded damages for the violation.”

The social authorities investigated whether or not the child should be taken into care, but despite the conviction, the District administrative court decided that she should remain in her parents care!

11 – The Sunne Cases I & II Aggravated Harassment – Disturbance of Peace (2002)

Sunne District Court Case no. B 306-02

On October 16, 2002, Sunne District Court sentenced a father to suspended sentence and a fine for aggravated disturbance of the peace of his two daughters born in1989 and 1993.

The father admitted that he has slapped the children with an open hand on the backside, taken hold of their arms and ears and shouted and sworn at them. He emphasized that this has only occurred rarely

The Prosecutor pleaded that the father should not be prosecuted for specific acts, but instead be sentenced for gross violation of personal integrity.

The Court decision said “The father is guilty of violation of integrity and various types of assault. The particular acts themselves were of a less serious nature. However, this is a question of crime committed by a father against his children, who were living in his care and who were dependent upon him. Furthermore, the crimes have been committed on a number of occasions and over a long period of time. This leads the Court to the conclusion that each and every one of the deeds constitutes a part of a repeated violation of the children’s integrity. Such a long and continuous form of cruelty to children as the father has subjected (XX and XX) (his daughters) to, is generally considered to lead to a seriously damaged self-image. The father must have been aware of this.”

12 – The Father of seven in Skåne “Gross Harassment” (2003)

Lunds District Court, Case no. B 4084-03, Verdict November 27, 2003

On October 16, 2003, the social council in the southern Sweden municipality Svalöv decided to take seven brothers and sisters into public care. Their father had been accused and prosecuted for “gross disturbance of the peace” of his children. He was arrested and confined pending trial.

The mother was not accused of any misdemeanours, yet five of the children were immediately placed in foster care.

The father was completely acquitted in the Criminal court. However, the social council proceeded in the care case and on December 18, 2003, three weeks after his acquittal, the Administrative County court ruled in favour of the social council and against the children and their parents.

On June 30, 2004 the parents applied to the social council to have the care order lifted. The mother, who was then pregnant with child no. eight has had to keep out of the way of the social workers for fear that they would take the baby at birth and she has had to avoid meeting her other children. The baby was born in September 2004. In order to protect her newborn the mother moved to a neighbouring municipality, yet on January 19, 2005 the social council that decided to take the couple’s seven children into care decided to take the newborn baby into care.

The parents are still (2006) fighting court battles to reunite with their children.

13 – The American father in Borås 2003

A father, an American married to a Swede, is suing his employers and a colleague for seditious libel. The incident took place August 2003 when his daughter – and only child – was 6 yrs old. The colleague had spoken to the little girl, who was visiting her dad at his work-place, and asked her if her Daddy smacked her. The colleague then contacted BRIS (Children’s Rights in the Society) and after that she discussed the matter with the employer. The following week the Personnel Manager made a formal complaint to the social services that my client abused his daughter.

The social services made an investigation, but they found nothing to report to the police and no reason to take the child into care.

The father has sued his employer and colleague for seditious libel, and is currently on appeal.

END

For more information contact the Family First Lobby:

Bob McCoskrie JP
National Director

19 July 2006 – Press Release: Family Integrity – Commission Comments on Smacking Booklet

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0607/S00189.htm

Commission Comments on Smacking Booklet
Wednesday, 19 July 2006, 12:33 pm
Press Release: Family Integrity
Press Release
For Immediate Distribution

It is a sign of how detached from reality too many government bureaucrats and others have become to put traditional common sense smacking on the front page as if it were controversial.

But then, it is controversial the way Children’s Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro misrepresents the booklet produced by Family Integrity’s National Director Craig Smith.

The Dominion Post quotes the Commissioner as saying, “The idea that children are sinful and that they need to be beaten in order to be moral beings is fundamentally wrong.”

The quote contains one fact, two falsehoods and one opinion.

The booklet is up front. It states that it is based on the Christian Bible, and that the Bible says all people, including children, are sinners. The Commissioner implies this is wrong. She is of course entitled to her opinion. But her opinion differs from what the Bible says.

Children, being human, are by definition moral beings already. They don’t “become” such by some process, as the Commissioner implies. And the booklet never advocates beating in any way. The Commissioner knows this but has adopted a radical and extreme interpretation of smacking that is being published by the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child which defines any smacking “however light” as abuse and violence.

It is surprising the Commissioner also called “completely off the wall” Family Integrity’s suggestion that a discipline session might last 10 to 15 minutes. The brochure describes this time as being occupied mainly with discussion of the offense, ascertaining that it actually took place, calling witnesses if needed, opportunity to plead extenuating circumstances, cuddles, prayer and further teaching and instruction in relation to the offense. Family Integrity is concerned that discipline not only imparts wisdom and knowledge but also serves to enhance the bonding between parents and children.

The booklet is merely a Biblical apologetic of the ancient institution of corporal correction. It is so mainstream and traditional that polls in New Zealand over the years consistently show 80% support for retaining smacking as a parenting tool. The brochure may be viewed on Family Integrity’s website, www.familyintegrity.org.nz.

ENDS

28 June 2006 – Call for Kiro’s Sacking

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0606/S00274.htm

Call for Kiro’s Sacking
Wednesday, 28 June 2006, 9:41 am
Press Release: Family Integrity
28 June 2006
Call for Kiro’s Sacking

Family Integrity calls on the Prime Minister and the Minister of Social Development David Benson-Pope to sack Children’s Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro for continual abdication of duty.

“Dr Kiro’s response to the violent deaths of the Kahui twins by calling for a ban on smacking is completely detached from reality,” says Family Integrity’s National Director Craig Smith. “She appears consistently incapable of seeing her duty as spelled out in the Children’s Commissioner Act 2003.”

The Act requires the Commissioner to have regard to three things: 1) the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC); 2) the views of children; and 3) the diversity of New Zealand children.

UNCROC says in its preamble that “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.” Yet the Commissioner has chosen to ignore this directive and does nothing to stop the yearly 17,000 intentional killings of these children before their birth. Instead she is obsessed with banning smacking. What kind of twisted thinking considers a few smacked bottoms as more worthy of legislative action than the constant blood stained reality of thousands of dismembered babies’ bodies?

Neither does the Commissioner regard the views of the unborn child while its parents and doctors and nurses are planning its death. Dr Kiro does not seek any professional advice on what these children’s views might be nor seek to appoint advocates for these children. She has, however, publicly declared that she ignores them.

These 17,000 aborted babies represent a very large diversity of children that the Children’s Commissioner Act requires Dr Kiro to regard and that UNCROC Article 2 says she cannot ignore: “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….birth or other status.” The child’s pre-birth status is not to be used to discriminate against the child.

“Sadly, Dr Kiro appears both unable and unwilling to even consider the most helpless and innocent members of our society as persons worthy of her attention,” said Mr Smith. “New Zealand’s children deserve better than that. Dr Kiro deserves the sack.”

ENDS

Commissioner looking for action on child abuse
Tuesday, 27 June 2006, 5:44 pm
Press Release: Commissioner For Children
27 June 2006
Children’s Commissioner looking for action on child abuse

Children’s Commissioner, Dr Cindy Kiro, has called for action to be taken to help prevent child abuse and neglect.

“The tragic deaths of Chris and Cru Kahui have highlighted New Zealand’s shocking child abuse record.”

“I support the set-up of a cross political party working party on family violence that has been proposed by Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia. The Family Violence Taskforce, which has had input from the judiciary, the NGO sector, Commissioners and others, is due to report back with recommendations in July. Parliament has the opportunity to show leadership and work together to make children safer,” she said.

“Making babies and children safer will require a platform of changes including legislation, policy and practice. We need to do more and to be bold and innovative to address these underlying problems of violence.”

“We need legislative change. Section 59 of the Crimes Act (1961) that allows a defense of ‘reasonable force’ to disciplining children must be repealed. Repeal is a fundamental and necessary step to ensure that children in New Zealand grow up in safe and secure environments. Although most incidents of physical punishment do not lead to child abuse, research has shown that most incidents of child abuse arise from physical punishment.”

“I am calling for the creation of a plan for every child so that no one falls through the gaps. These plans would mean that educational, health and safety information would be shared and assessed in a consistent way. A key benefit of the integrated framework is that all professionals will be required in their assessments to take account of the child’s life in the context of the families and communities in which they live. A consistent finding of investigations of child homicides by my Office is the need for interagency cooperation and communication to ensure the safety of children and young people engaged with multiple agencies.”

“We also need more support for our front-line services – particularly agencies from the non-government sector to support parents and families to care for their babies and children. These organizations must have adequate human and financial resources so that they can provide quality frontline services and programmes.”

“It’s time to stop the blaming and ask ourselves how these children escaped the safety net that was available to their parents. In future we need to put in place a plan for each child from the day that they are born so that children don’t fall through the gaps again.”

ENDS

28 June 2006 – Family First calls for resignation of Commissioner

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0606/S00271.htm

Family First calls for resignation of Commissioner
Wednesday, 28 June 2006, 9:21 am
Press Release: Family First Lobby.
27 June 2006
Family First calls for resignation of Children’s Commissioner

The Family First Lobby is calling for the Children’s Commissioner to resign, as a result of her comments regarding child abuse and the Kahui murders. (Press Release dated 27 June 2006 Commissioner for Children)

“Politicians, community leaders, and the public (through talkback radio and letters to the newspapers) have been united in identifying the contributing causes to the tragic deaths of Chris and Cru Kahui,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of the Family First Lobby.

“They have included domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse, the stress on parents with new-borns, the role of welfare, transient family living, the need for tougher punishments for convicted child abusers, and what appears from the evidence presented so far, a high level of neglect. The complicity of the extended family is also a major concern.”

“These are all the factors which have been identified by UNICEF in their recent report (2004) which focused on the key reasons for child abuse in OECD countries,” says Mr McCoskrie. “They identified poverty and stress – along with drug and alcohol abuse – as the factors most closely and consistently associated with child abuse and neglect.”

“Yet the first solution the Children’s Commissioner can offer is to demand that smacking be banned!”

“This is insulting and demeaning to the vast majority of parents who are able to physically discipline their children without ‘beating’ them to a horrific death!” says Bob McCoskrie. “To equate parents who discipline their children with a smack, with the horrific murders of the Kahui twins is both inappropriate and unbelievable.”

“It shows that the Children’s Commissioner is totally out of touch with the reality of family life in NZ.”

The only redeeming factor in the Commissioner’s press release is her endorsement of Family First’s call for better funding and support for non-government community organizations who are at the “coal face”.

The Family First Lobby calls on the government to tackle the real issues of our high rates of child and domestic abuse listed above, without being distracted by the Commissioner’s faulty conclusions.

ENDS

Commissioner looking for action on child abuse
Tuesday, 27 June 2006, 5:44 pm
Press Release: Commissioner For Children
27 June 2006
Children’s Commissioner looking for action on child abuse

Children’s Commissioner, Dr Cindy Kiro, has called for action to be taken to help prevent child abuse and neglect.

“The tragic deaths of Chris and Cru Kahui have highlighted New Zealand’s shocking child abuse record.”

“I support the set-up of a cross political party working party on family violence that has been proposed by Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia. The Family Violence Taskforce, which has had input from the judiciary, the NGO sector, Commissioners and others, is due to report back with recommendations in July. Parliament has the opportunity to show leadership and work together to make children safer,” she said.

“Making babies and children safer will require a platform of changes including legislation, policy and practice. We need to do more and to be bold and innovative to address these underlying problems of violence.”

“We need legislative change. Section 59 of the Crimes Act (1961) that allows a defense of ‘reasonable force’ to disciplining children must be repealed. Repeal is a fundamental and necessary step to ensure that children in New Zealand grow up in safe and secure environments. Although most incidents of physical punishment do not lead to child abuse, research has shown that most incidents of child abuse arise from physical punishment.”

“I am calling for the creation of a plan for every child so that no one falls through the gaps. These plans would mean that educational, health and safety information would be shared and assessed in a consistent way. A key benefit of the integrated framework is that all professionals will be required in their assessments to take account of the child’s life in the context of the families and communities in which they live. A consistent finding of investigations of child homicides by my Office is the need for interagency cooperation and communication to ensure the safety of children and young people engaged with multiple agencies.”

“We also need more support for our front-line services – particularly agencies from the non-government sector to support parents and families to care for their babies and children. These organizations must have adequate human and financial resources so that they can provide quality frontline services and programmes.”

“It’s time to stop the blaming and ask ourselves how these children escaped the safety net that was available to their parents. In future we need to put in place a plan for each child from the day that they are born so that children don’t fall through the gaps again.”

ENDS

22 June 2006 – Response to Peter Hughes by Mother at centre of Timaru “Horse Whip” case

Peter Hughes has made some completely scurrilous and defamatory comments in his response to Garth George’s article (NZ Herald 22 June 2006).

(See also http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10388342 )

CYF Claim:
The woman in question had several convictions, including violence, which were considered relevant.
Response:
Mr Hughes attempts to place a slur on my integrity by mentioning convictions. My historical convictions were never considered a factor when I had the care of three different children who were CYF clients. Neither were my convictions a barrier to me being asked to supervise access by CYF of fourth child.

My convictions were for actions against my ex-husband in response to extreme and horrific domestic abuse where my children and I were at risk. I was convicted but received a suspended sentence. My ex husband went to prison for treating myself and my children in the way described by my eldest son. We were granted Full Protection Orders against my ex husband.

My convictions had no relevance to the way I parented my children.

The department only made a big deal out of these historical convictions AFTER they had taken my son into care, and they certainly were not a factor in their initial investigations.

CYF Claim:
The woman’s eldest son told Radio Live: “I’ve been kicked, I’ve been punched, I’ve been thrown to the floor. At times I felt like a punching bag being attacked in rages.”
Response:
This is how my ex husband treated us. My eldest son blames me for my ex husbands actions. This is not the way I ever treated my children.

CYF Claim:
Her son was taken into care after we were given photographs of welts and bruises on his legs, and she admitted hitting him regularly with a riding crop.
Response:
No photos of welts or bruises were presented in court, no evidence was given of such, and I have NEVER put welts or bruises on my son’s legs. Neither have I EVER said I disciplined him regularly with a riding crop and neither have I disciplined him regularly with a riding crop. My son also strongly denies I have ever put marks of this nature on his legs and denies he was regularly disciplined with a riding crop.

If there had been evidence of injuries, then surely it would have been presented by the police when I went to court. No such evidence was presented.

CYF Claim:
The boy had been taken into protective care before, after being admitted to hospital at the age of three months with multiple leg fractures.
Response:
Mr Hughes talks of my sons early childhood medical condition as a reason for CYF present actions. My son had a transient form of brittle bone disease which affected him in the first 18 months of his life, which affected the collagen structure in his bones. With brittle bone disease, fractures occur with NORMAL handling of a child. When this was discovered to be the cause of his injuries he was returned to my care.

It is of note that until this disease was discovered as the cause of my son’s injuries, CYF held my boyfriend at that time accountable – not myself. CYF action at the time was standard procedure in a case as such. It was very hard on the whole family at the time. No parent has control over a medical condition of this nature.

This case was closed by CYF at the time and withdrawn without prejudice. For Mr Hughes to site this as a reason to hold my son now and even try and relate it to the present situation is untenable. There is no correlation here at all. CYF were clearly happy for my son to be in my care for the next 11 years.

CYF Claim:
The police decided to press charges of assault (and not, as Mr. George claims, under pressure from us…)
Response:
The family court made a decision based on the gross inaccuracies and lies in the social workers affidavit. The social worker admitted to lying in his affidavit under cross examination. This case was taken to the police by CYF, who made regular contact with the police over the next few months to see “where things were at”. If this was not pressure then what is? Mr Hughes clearly concedes that the boy had NOT been hurt when they removed him. Why then was he removed?
.
Why, when the court has ruled that the discipline administered was reasonable, do the department continue to hold my son? A family court judge is strongly guided by CYF recommendations, the burden of proof standard for the criminal court does not apply in the family court, so children can be, and are, taken on the social workers say so alone.

CYF Claim:
CYF social workers did not put the boy on the drug Risperdal; he was prescribed it while in the care of a family member, after a request by his school.
Response:
The boy was placed on Risperdal whilst in CYF custody. Although the caregiver was my mother, she was under instruction to administer the drug. It was part of the CYF Care and Protection plan submitted to the Family Court when they took custody of my son.

The boy had NEVER needed medication for the twelve years he was in his mothers care. Whilst he had some behavioural difficulties he had never been stood down or suspended from school, as he was when in CYF care. This boy was appropriately disciplined by me, (agreed by the Jury) and his behaviour improved for the better. The boy was placed on Risperdal whilst in CYF care and was subsequently suspended from school. Which scenario shows what is truly best for my son?

My son has been prohibited from being with his family who love him. CYF deem him to be safe at home in the holidays but not at other times. The damage CYF have done to my son psychologically and medically far outweigh the discipline he received.

I stepped up as a parent and took responsibility for correcting bad behaviour exhibited by my son in concern for his future wellbeing. My punishment for my responsible behaviour was to have the state remove him. CYF can and will do this to many more families. They have NO ongoing reason, other than political ones, to hold my son to ransom.

The court has ruled this WAS NOT ABUSE. Therefore CYF are acting ABOVE the law. I have given the family court an undertaking not to discipline my son with a riding crop or cane, so the departments “concerns” are moot.

Summary
This whole article only shows how far the department will go to twist the truth to legally kidnap a child. Who loses out at the end of the day? The biggest loss is to my son. My son was neither abused nor neglected, and CYF would do well to focus on families where this has occurred, rather than tearing apart one where it has not, at the expense of the child.

Ms Kiro clearly does not speak to many New Zealanders as polls consistently show that over 80 percent of us believe we should be able to reasonably discipline our children. Ms Kiro and others who support her do not constitute a majority at all.

What is this country coming to when departments like CYF and the Children’s Commissioner can over ride a court decision, and declare abuse has happened when the court has ruled it has not?

(Name not included due to permanent name suppression granted by the court)

Issued by:
Bob McCoskrie
NATIONAL DIRECTOR – FAMILY FIRST LOBBY
tel. 09 269 5315 | mob. 027 55 555 42 | fax. 09 269 5316
email. bob@familyfirst.org.nz | web. www.familyfirst.org.nz
post. P.O. Box 276-133, Manukau City, New Zealand

15 June 2006 – Destiny Churches Set to Oppose Anti-Smacking Bill

Press Statement for Immediate Release

Bishop Brian Tamaki

Destiny Churches New Zealand

15 June 2006

Destiny Churches Set to Oppose Anti-Smacking Bill

Bishop Brian Tamaki, the Senior Minister of Destiny Churches New Zealand, says the proposed anti-smacking law progressing through Parliament is a political diversion that fails to acknowledge the root issues of child abuse.

“The exceptionally high rates of child abuse and social dysfunction in our communities is brought about by a widespread departure from traditional family values. All this Bill will do is further undermine those values, which as a consequence, will compound and further exasperate the problem – no amount of legislation will address the root causes of social dysfunction,” he says.

Repealing the Section 59 (Crimes Act) defence of ‘reasonable force’ will also place parents in grave danger of being criminalized, in that law enforcement would be obliged to act on allegations of assault in the absence of the Section 59 provision, which in effect, would put the entire family and genuine loving, law-abiding parents at the mercy of the State. Moreover, the State will be inclined to separate child from parent until the judicial process has run its course, which based on the current judicial system, could take years. To contend that Section 59 provides a defence for genuine crimes of child abuse is utterly ridiculous.

“I realize that the Labour led Government has no regard whatsoever for traditional family values, but such an affront to our Christian founding faith and this blatant intrusion on parental rights and responsibilities will not go unchallenged. In fact, if this Bill becomes law, Destiny Churches will not abide by it. There is a higher law to be honoured here that was not drafted by the State,” he added.

To that end, Tamaki says Destiny Churches will closely monitor the Bill’s progress and has not ruled out a return to Parliament Grounds en mass to formally register its opposition to the Bill.

Media Enquiries:

Janine Cardno

(027) 479-9191

Richie Lewis | General Manager | Destiny Churches New Zealand|a|18 Allright Place Mt Wellington | PO Box 51761 Pakuranga |Auckland | New Zealand |p| +64 9 570 7150|f| +64 9 570 7149 |m| +64 0275 398 730 |e| richard@destinychurch.org.nz |w| www.destinychurch.org.nz |Ephesians 6:10, Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might

15 June 2006 – Greens Left v Right on S. 59 Debate (SPCS)

(on “Scoop” Independent News website – http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0606/S00145.htm )

Greens Left v Right on S. 59 Debate
Thursday, 15 June 2006, 9:34 am
Press Release: Society For Promotion Of Community Standards Inc.

14 June 2006
Greens Left v Right on S. 59 Debate

In a speech given at the installing of new Green Party co-leader, Jeanette Fitzsimons tried to seize the high moral ground for the “left” when she stated: “The Greens have always identified with the oppressed and the disadvantaged [including] children beaten by their parents under the protection of s59 [of the Crimes Act 1961] … That would seem to position us on the left. ” The Society finds such rhetoric self-serving and based on error. It is quite wrong to suggest that those on the so-called “right” (as defined by the Greens) have not consistently identified with, and sought to assist, all the victims she identifies.

The “right” v “left” divide – so-called as defined by the Greens – is based on nothing more than rhetoric.

Many opponents of the repeal of s. 59 just do not believe that the bill, as currently drafted, will make one iota of difference to child abuse figures. In fact they have the hard evidence from Scandanavian countries that it will do much damage. That is why the S 59 Coalition that includes groups such as Family Integrity, the Society for Promotion of Community Standards Inc, Sensible Sentencing Trust, Family First Lobby, NZ Centre for Political Debate, PANIC, and others, are sponsoring and supporting the visit to NZ of Swedish lawyer Mrs Harrold-Claesson, so she can give MPs and the public the true facts on the disastrous situation in Sweden following the state abolition of all corporal punishment of children and other introduction of laws severely handicapping parents in their role as disciplinarians.

Green MP Sue Bradford has identified with a tiny number of causes involving the oppressed and disadvantaged. No one wants to detract from any person, like her, or group, that genuinely seeks to assist such people. But let’s do away with these unhelpful self-serving labels of “right” and “left”. Consider the following….

Do the Greens side with the tens of thousands of defenseless and helpless unborn children aborted every year? No they don’t. They strongly support abortion and a woman’s so-called right to have an abortion and receive state funding for it. Why then do they label anyone who opposes abortion and seeks to safeguard the rights of the oppressed unborn, “rightwing”? The Greens appear not to consider the unborn baby to be a true human worthy of rights and made in the image of God. Unborn foetuses are nothing more to them than unfortunate messy tissue blobs that can be conveniently discarded.

Do the Greens side with the oppressed Christians massacred by Islamist fanatics in the name of Allah and speak out about this issue of gross injustice? No they don’y. Why then do they label Christians who do, “right wing”?

Do the Greens side with the tens of thousands of women and childen sold or forced into prostitution, or lured into it by dishonest entrepeneurs who exploit women? Such oppressed persons might have good cause to answer “no”, when they learn than the Greens strongly supported the effective legalisation of prostitution and do not consider prostitution to be a moral issue. Why did they the Greens for example approve of the decriminalisation of prostution in NZ when they knew that world-wide, most prostitution is part of the most evil and corrupt exploitation industry on the planet – a form of slavery, psychological and physical abuse of women? Why do they label those who opposed decriminalisation “rightwing”?

Why do the Greens wax eloquent on issues relating battery hens and sows in confined pens, when they are willing to condone the butchering of babies in the womb by doctors who are funded in their crimes by the state?

So much for the rhetoric involving the “rightwing” v “left wing” divide over the repeal of s. 59. When about 83% of the general public who were polled, opposed the repeal, supporters of the bill must have thought it was a “right-wing” conspiracy that engineered the result. However, the polll was organised by one of the bill’s strongest supporters. The polls have consistently showed that about 80% of the public do not support the the repeal of s. 59.

ENDS

14 June 2006 – Smacking ban comments ‘chilling for parents’ (Judith Collins MP)

Wednesday, 14 June 2006, 3:36 pm
Press Release: New Zealand National Party

Judith Collins MP
National Party Families Spokeswoman
14 June 2006
Smacking ban comments ‘chilling for parents’
National Party Families spokesman Judith Collins says the comments by a lawyer with first-hand experience of Sweden’s smacking ban “are a chilling warning to Kiwi parents”.
Swedish family lawyer Ruby Harrold Claesson says in her country a law to ban smacking has resulted in hundreds of prosecutions against parents.
Ruby Harrold Claesson said on Radio New Zealand today: ‘Parents are afraid of their children. They do not dare do anything because … the children can report them at any time and if they are reported, then that breaks up the families because the children are invariably taken into care and put in foster homes.’
“The police in New Zealand have already confirmed that if Section 59 is repealed then smacking, or even restraining a child, would technically be against the law,” says Mrs Collins.
“It’s naiive for Helen Clark and the anti-smacking brigade to argue that parents who lightly smack their children have nothing to worry about. It’s naiive for them to say the police won’t be expected to make judgment calls on parents who use a light smack to discipline their children.
“No one condones violent assaults on children, but repealing Section 59 is not the way to stop them. Those who break the law now are unlikely to stop just because Section 59 is gone,” says Mrs Collins.

Friday 9 June 2006 – NZ Herald – Christians vow to break smacking law

Friday June 9, 2006
By Simon Collins

Conservative Christian groups say they will be forced to break the law if Parliament stops allowing the reasonable use of force to discipline children.

A string of churches, Christian schools and individual Christians told a parliamentary committee in Mangere yesterday that Green MP Sue Bradford’s “anti-smacking” bill flouted their biblical beliefs and would “open the way for religious persecution and intolerance”.

Pastor Peter Boyd of Manurewa’s Covenant Presbyterian Church, part of a breakaway group that split from the Presbyterian Church in opposition to homosexuality, said Christians believed the Bible was the authority and they were bound to follow it.

“Christians in general are law-abiding people. They pay taxes even though they might not agree with what their taxes are spent on,” he said.

“But when you have a case where the law of the Bible and the law of the land conflict, they are forced to obey the law of the Bible.

“In this case too sharp a line is being drawn. Christians in particular, and others too, will be forced to disobey the state to do what is right according to their conviction.”

Of 55 submitters heard yesterday, 22 supported the bill. Kim Gosden of the Waitakere Abuse and Trauma Counselling Service said that almost all parents who came to counselling about violence had experienced violence in their own childhoods.

“They may have intentions that they do not want to parent the way they were parented, but they do. They do end up using weapons or something. They do end up hurting,” she said.

She tabled an anonymous statement by a client who had wept as she told the story of how she and her five siblings were slapped and strapped by both their parents. She and three of her siblings had chosen not to hit their own children because “we all feared our mother in particular and did not want our kids to feel about us as we felt about our parents”.

“I do not believe our parents would have changed their behaviour and attitudes voluntarily, but any legislative intervention would have at least alerted them to the values that were prevailing in society,” the client said.

An Epsom teacher, Peter Luiten, said his father used to punish him by hitting him on the side of his head, once giving him injuries that put him in bed for three days.

When Mr Luiten himself started teaching, he hit his students in the same way until one boy’s parents complained. He then stopped hitting his pupils.

He kept on hitting his two daughters until his marriage broke up. He married again and hit his two step-sons.

“It was only a court order that finally stopped me,” he said.

“I never believed that what I was doing was right in the first place. I knew it was wrong. I just did it anyway.

“What stopped me was being forced to face up to what I had done.”

But a Drury father of five, Joe Sonneveld, said he had never smacked his children in anger, but always in love.

An airline pilot and member of the Covenant Church, Paul Burton, said the law allowed him to exercise reasonable force to keep order in his aircraft, and he felt he should have the same right as a parent in his home.

“I care for the life of my child. If I believe the best course of action for my child as he or she grows is to use reasonable force to break that behaviour, I will use that force,” he said.

The principal of Carey College in Panmure, Michael Drake, said Christians were entitled to believe in the Bible and should not be criticised by Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro, who had recently published “a booklet telling parents what Christianity is”.

“What we are hearing is that certain Christians should not hold to their beliefs, marginalising people because of their beliefs,” he said. “We argue that no agency of state should engage in telling people what their faith should be.”

Former Radio Rhema breakfast host Bob McCroskie, who now runs a lobby group called Family First, said only six parents in the last 12 years had been acquitted on assault charges by claiming the protection of section 59.

One of these was a Timaru mother who was said by the media to have whipped her 12-year-old son with a horse whip.

Mr McCroskie flew the mother to Auckland and had the “whip” on hand to show MPs if they had asked to see it. He said it was actually “a riding crop, which is slightly larger than a wooden spoon”.

National MP Chester Borrows said he planned to move an amendment that would keep section 59 but with changes, such as defining “reasonable force” or allowing judges to interpret the meaning of the term, leaving juries to rule only on the facts of whether force used in a particular case came within that meaning.

Proposed law

* Green MP Sue Bradford’s bill would repeal section 59 of the Crimes Act.

* The law now says parents are “justified in using force by way of correction towards a child if that force is reasonable in the circumstances”.

*Last month, Ms Bradford proposed rewording the commentary accompanying the bill to make it clear it did not seek to outlaw light smacking.

June 2006 – Ruby Harrold-Claesson Visit to NZ

MEDIA RELEASE – for Coalition Section 59
JUNE 2006

Ruby Harrold-Claesson – Lawyer
Mrs. Ruby Harrold-Claesson, Lawyer, was born in Kingston, Jamaica. They have two daughters, Simone and Lorica and one son, Leif. Ruby lives in Gothenburg, Sweden. She started her academic career by studying Law and Political Science in France. In Sweden she has done post-graduate studies in Legal History, after which she took a Swedish law degree.

Ruby Harrold-Claesson runs a private law firm in Gothenburg. She works with family law, e.g. guardianship cases and cases dealing with parental rights, criminal cases etc. Ruby Harrold-Claesson has referred several cases of breaches of Human Rights to the European Commission for Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Ruby defends families in Sweden who are being prosecuted and who are having their children taken from them under the Swedish no-smacking legislation. Ruby says the destruction of families in Sweden is horrendous.

“It has ruined families and ruined children. The children in Sweden are incredibly badly behaved. They have no discipline at home and no discipline in schools. I have seen a child kick his father repeatedly and all that man could say was ‘you shouldn’t do that’. I’ve dealt with cases where parents are so frightened of imposing any form of discipline that they have given up all responsibility; they say ‘I can’t stop my child running around at night, so if something happens to them it’s not my fault’. As far as I’m concerned parents are adults, and adults decide what is a reasonable level of discipline. By taking away their ability to do that, you breed a new generation of wild, ill-disciplined Vikings – and that is what we have here. We in the Nordic Committee of Human Rights are completely against child abuse. We say this law is unnecessary because there has always been a law to punish child abuse – assault and battery. This law saying a parent should not smack their child goes beyond all rhyme and reason.”

She has founded and chairs the Nordic Committee for Human Rights, www.nkmr.org (click the Union Jack for English site), composed of lawyers from Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark who are also concerned about the level of social damage such legislation is causing in their respective countries.
Read her article http://www.nkmr.org/english/smacking_and_the_law_a_european_perspective.htm

She is coming to NZ to testify before the NZ Select Committee. Ruby is being brought out by Coalition Section 59, a group of over 150 concerned Community and Lobby groups and families, including Family Integrity, Society for Promotion of Community Standards, Family First Lobby, Sensible Sentencing Trust, NZ Centre for Political Debate, PANIC, and Focus on the Family NZ.

Ruby will be in New Zealand from Wednesday 19th July until Monday 1st August and will be available for media interviews.

For more information contact the Family First Lobby:
Bob McCoskrie, National Director
Tel. 09 269 5315 | Mob. 027 55 555 42

8 June 2006 – Ban on smacking would erode parental authority says opponent

Posted at 5:21pm on 8 Jun 2006

An opponent of a proposed ban on smacking says such a move would erode parental authority.
A Select Committee is sitting in South Auckland to hear submissions on the repeal of Section 59, which allows the use of reasonable force by parents when disciplining their children.
Steven Dromgool, a professional counsellor who works with families, says countries which have criminalised all forms of physical punishment against children have seen a sharp rise in youth crime.
Mr Dromgool says parents need to be able to establish boundaries for children and smacking is one way of doing this.
He says if the police had to prosecute parents for the use of reasonable force, more children would be removed from homes unnecessarily, causing even greater harm to the child.

Mental Health Foundation view
However, the Mental Health Foundation believes a ban on smacking will help end extreme acts of violence against children.
Spokesperson, Tracey Sparksman, says Section 59 actually allows for extreme acts of violence to be used against children.
Ms Sparksman says it has been used as a defence in cases where children have been hit with lengths of wood or have been chained up to discourage wayward behaviour.
She says even if the bill is voted down, the debate generated around an issue that often gets swept under the carpet has already had a positive effect.

Copyright © 2006 Radio New Zealand

MEDIA RELEASE
8 JUNE 2006

Family First highlights key problems with Bradford anti-smacking Bill

Family First has made a submission before the Justice and Electoral Committee in Auckland today on the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill – the repeal of s59. Family First highlighted a number of myths being perpetuated by the supporters of the repeal.

1. The police (and CYF) won’t investigate parents for light smacks and removal to “time-out”.

The Police have already indicated that they will need to investigate any complaint, which will immediately place a family under enormous pressure. Child Youth and Family have a zero tolerance to smacking, and already actively pursue prosecution – irrespective of s59. QC’s Stuart Grieve and Grant Illingworth have indicated that any form of touching, including Time Out and even the threat of touching, could become assault under this Bill.

“That is an unacceptable burden on parents.” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of the Family First Lobby. “According to the Chair of the Nordic Committee for Human Rights, many parents in Sweden (which banned smacking in 1979) are afraid of their children and dare not correct them for fear of bring reported to the Police, indicted and fined or sent to prison.”

2. Repealing s59 will stop child abusers

It is drug abuse, alcohol abuse, poverty, and the breakdown of marriages and families that leads to abuse. Coral Burrow’s murder was related to the drug ‘P’, alcohol was a major issue with the murder of Delcelia Witika, and in the cases of James Whakaruru, Mereana Edwards, Saliel Aplin and Olympia Jensen, Pirimai Simmond, and Lillybing, the common factor was not smacking – it was the absence of the natural father.

UNICEF, in a 2004 report, identified poverty and stress – along with drug and alcohol abuse – as the factors most closely and consistently associated with child abuse and neglect. It is also interesting to note that of the 5 countries with the lowest child abuse rate in the report, 4 allow smacking.

1. s59 is protecting child abusers

On average, 1.4 cases per year use the defence of s59 in New Zealand. Of the 18 cases from 1990 to 2002, only 6 were found not guilty using s59 as a defence – that is 6 successful defences under s59 in 12 years!

Child abusers cannot hide behind s59.

ENDS

SUBMISSION TO JUSTICE AND ELECTORAL COMMITTEE – (Handout pamphlet)
Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill
8 JUNE 2006
Let’s protect good parents doing a great job!
Myth 1: The police (and CYF) won’t investigate parents for light smacks and removal
to “time-out”
Truth:
1. Police Response from Dr A Jack, NM – Legal Services, Office of the Commissioner. 11 August 2005.
2. CYF Policy is Zero tolerance to smacking and already actively pursue prosecution.
· Timaru parents, CYF removed child despite being found not guilty of any type of abuse
· despite school admitting that behaviour of child had improved dramatically after the discipline.
· CYF then put the child on drugs (Risperdal and Ritalin) to modify his behaviour! He was subsequently expelled because of a deterioration in his behaviour!
· Eathornes, physical discipline (4 whacks on the hand with a wooden spoon) for vandalism by the boy, costing over $5,000 to repair. Prosecuted. No longer caregivers
3. Stuart Grieve QC Investigate Magazine June 2006 “Q. What is a parent forcibly manhandles a 7 year old to another room to enforce time out. Could that be a prima facie assault? A. Unquestionably. …Even threat of touching can be assault. Q. Do you have a fear that it could be used… as a reason to get CYF involved in the family? A. …This will simply give them more ammunition.”
4. Grant Illingworth QC Investigate Magazine June 2006 “…almost every form of physical contact with your children becomes an assault as a matter of the criminal law.”
5. Parents could become criminals if they use any force on their child whether it be time out, physical restraint, correction by way of physical discipline, even the threat of physical discipline. That is an unacceptable burden on parents.

Myth 2: We don’t want to ban smacking
Truth:
Green Party MP Sue Bradford “I accept that at this time it’s too soon in this country to criminalise parents who lightly smack their children, therefore I’m simply wanting to repeal existing (legislation)….. we have a long way to go.” TVNZ’s “Eye to Eye” programme

Myth 3: The Smacking ban in Sweden has been good for families

Truth:
• The Swedish law has resulted in hundreds of normal parents being harassed by the police and social authorities, prosecuted, sentenced and criminalised, because they have smacked their children for bad behaviour.
• 1979 law has led to unwarranted interference in private and family life, and has caused serious damage to the relationship between parents and their children
• Parents belonging to ethnic minorities and parents with strong religious convictions, in particular, have been victimised under the 1979 law.
• The social authorities and the courts enforce the law, irrespective of what the child has done.
• When the authorities intervene in the life of a well-functioning family, its life is destroyed. Forced separation
• The law has given rise to cases where children have accused their own parents of ill-treatment
Many Swedish parents are therefore afraid of their children and dare not correct them for fear of being reported to the police, indicted and fined or sent to prison.

Myth 4: Repealing s59 will stop child abusers

“Although most incidents of physical punishment do not lead to child abuse, research has shown that most incidents of child abuse arise from physical punishment” Commissioner for Children 25 May 2006
Truth:
1. Although most incidents of driving a vehicle do not lead to a road fatality, research has shown that most incidents of road fatalities arise from driving a vehicle!!!
2. Otago University Children’s Issues Centre 2004 report “Occasional physical punishment occurs in many families and may not have long-term negative effects as long as it is used in a climate of warmth and love, where the predominant mode of relating to children is positive.”
3. Drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and the breakdown of marriages and families lead to abuse.
Coral Burrows – P / Saliel Aplin and Olympia Jensen murdered by stepfather / Delcelia Witika – alcohol
James Whakaruru / Mereana Edwards / Pirimai Simmond / Lillybing – absence of natural father
Getting rid of s59 won’t stop this.
4. Let’s deal with the real causes of child abuse, without penalizing good parents doing a great job.

Myth 5: s59 is protecting child abusers

Truth:
1. On average, 1.4 cases per year use the defence of s59.
2. Of the 18 cases from 1990 to 2002, only 6 were found not guilty. “Parental Corporal Punishment of Children in NZ” – UNCROC 28 August 2003
3. 6 in 12 years!!!!!!!!!!
4. 4 x 2 was actually a school ruler (30 x 2) similar to a wooden spoon.
5. The supporters of repeal have changed the term riding crop to a horse whip. Horse whip conjures up visions of a long stock type whip, where in fact a riding crop is a small item, about 18 inches long and is designed to give a short sharp sting with no seen physical effects. Even though the evidence showed to the contrary, the media have claimed this was a beating” Mother charged under s59 Horse Whip case

2 June 2006 – Hassalled: a brief fisk (David Crampton’s reply to Ian Hassall)

David Crampton’s Blog
Friday, June 02, 2006
Hassalled: a brief fisk

Ian Hassall may be highly qualified, he may be a researcher but he is a bit of a … for writing his article in the Herald today. He compares child discipline with Tana Umaga’s handbag incident in a Christchurch bar. He notes that both are assaults, but neither will be prosecuted by the police, because they issue discretion.

He’s wrong. Police could not possibly issue discretion against Tana Umaga because no assault charge was laid. Perhaps if a charge was laid they may well have. Police would not prosecute the parent and gain a conviction because child discipline is not illegal.

Hassall says the Umaga incident undermines my argument that it is illogical to have a law if the police will be expected to exercise discretion in prosecuting it.

I never said that. I said to pass law which would ban parental phyical discipline on the grounds that it is abuse is illogical. The intent of our assault laws was that police should prosecute. The intention of the repeal of section 59 of the Crimes Act is that police should not prosecute in most cases.

Thousands of assaults take place on rugby fields, in bars and elsewhere, Hassall says. He claims they are not prosecuted because the police exercise their discretion. Surely he knows that police have to be aware of an assault to exercise discretion.

Hassall says it is a matter of record that most injuries to children to the point of homicide began as an intention to inflict punishment that was considered by the perpetrator to be legitimate – until it escalated into something else.

So can he name just one case. Just one? Lillybing, perhaps – her first word was “….”, she was beaten to a pulp. Her parents weren’t even parenting her. Perhaps Hassall says she was
” disciplined to death”. But he wouldn’t – because he doesn’t use the word discipline in his article.

Hassall maintains child punishment happens when parents are angry. If they are angry, it’s not correction, it is abuse. Abuse is already illegal.Taking out anger and using discipline for correction are quite different.

Hassall asks “Is the fact that in each case (child discipline and Umaga’s handbag incident) the assailant may have been angry or drunk a good excuse? This, from a senior researcher at the AUT!!

No its not, Mr Hassall. People don’t discipline their children with reasonable force in the circumstances – for the purposes of correction when they are both angry and/or drunk. Furthermore, nobody has even used the defence of reasonable force after angrily hitting their child when drunk – and even if they did, it would be unsuccessful

Finally, Hassall says a programme to inform people of the true implications of the repeal of section 59 is needed once it has been discarded.

Perhaps it is needed now – to inform people like Ian Hassall.

2 June 2006 – Ian Hassall Confused Over Child Safety

Press Release
For Immediate Publication
2 June 2006

(The following is in response to Ian Hassall’s piece of 2 June here:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/search/story.cfm?storyid=000369E0-78D8-147E-9D
9E83027AF10310 )

It is regrettable that Ian Hassall can misrepresent the truth so freely.

Comparing a bar-room brawl between two males to a mother corporally
correcting her child is totally illogical and malicious. Mothers have a
multitude of responsibilities toward their children, including those
that require physical force to correct their children should they lie,
cheat, steal, speak libel, commit wanton destruction of property or
rebelliously disobey. Mothers further use legitimate force to restrict a
child’s viewing, reading, associations, bedtimes and diet. Bar-room
patrons have no parallel responsibilities like these toward one another.

Repeal of Section 59 will criminalise mothers in these acts of parenting
mentioned above, for using physical force to correct or train or
discipline will become acts of criminal assault. This Bill is an attack
on parental authority.

Dr Hassall’s hypothetical scenario of a parent being justified by
Section 59 for hitting a child in anger and while drunk is just that:
hypothetical, a figment of his active imagination. Come on, Dr Hassall:
name one single case in New Zealand legal history where a court
justified an angry, drunk parent’s abuse of a child under Section 59.

Most of the people who use Section 59 as a defense are found guilty of
assault, putting the lie to Dr Hassall’s malicious claim that Section 59
is a licence to assault. Come on, Dr Hassall: give us the details of one
single case in New Zealand legal history where a judge or a jury made up
of 12 people, your peers, were so thick and incompetent that they
acquitted someone who used force that was neither reasonable in the
circumstances nor used by way of correction.

Unlike Dr Hassall, Section 59 recognises that parents need to use force
in their parenting, and it actually prevents abuse by limiting the force
parents can use with their children. Parental use of force with children
must pass two tests: first that it be used for correction; and second
that it be reasonable in the circumstances.

Section 59 is a brilliant piece of legislation. It need no amendment at
all. Repeal of Section 59 does nothing at all to address violence and
abuse against children. Repeal of Section 59 is nothing more than a
direct attack upon parenting and parental authority.

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

26 & 30May 06 – We want the right to smack/ Dave Crampton: Logic of smacking ban flawed

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/search/story.cfm?storyid=0004DEC5-819B-147A-B95683027AF1010F
DAVE CRAMPTON: LOGIC OF SMACKING BAN FLAWED
Tuesday May 30, 2006
Green MP Sue Bradford’s private member’s bill aiming to repeal section 59 of the Crimes Act is being considered by a select committee after submissions closed in February. Our laws allow parents to physically discipline their children with reasonable force for corrective purposes. In past years, parents have been acquitted for smacking with implements such as riding crops and pieces of wood because juries deemed the force was reasonable in the circumstances. This disgusts child advocates who consider all smacking is child abuse, whatever the circumstances. However they never mention these circumstances. In one case, a boy swung a baseball bat at his stepfather’s head, while verbally threatening him with a permanent head injury. Fortunately he was able to block the blow and disarm the boy. The boy’s mother disciplined him with a riding crop and was subsequently acquitted using section 59 as a defence. Child advocates never inquire why the prosecution has not appealed any of the successful section 59 defences. Neither do they reveal that most people who use the defence are subsequently convicted of assault, a good proportion appeal, and their convictions remain. The law is serving its purpose. Bradford wants to stop child abuse under the pretence such abuse could result from smacking. However the bill states its purpose is “to stop force under the pretence of domestic discipline”. Let’s stop the pretence. The bill promotes a legal ban on parental smacking, leading to the possibility of a criminal record for assault even for a light smack. Police have formally confirmed this. But it is not Bradford’s intention to ban smacking; furthermore she has said that police are unlikely to charge parents for light smacking. That’s not the point. She has been advocating a law she is happy for parents to break, provided they don’t get convicted. What Bradford intends is irrelevant. What is more important is what the law says. Since when has a law been made on the basis that it is not enforced? Currently, the bill is unworkable which is why Bradford is talking up an amendment to clarify that it is not her intention to ban smacking. There are two options for amendments – in the bill itself or in the explanatory note or commentary, the latter being her preferred option. Any amendment in the explanatory note is for explanation only. If section 59 were to be repealed, only the repeal of that section, not the explanatory note, would have legal effect. But it makes no sense to repeal section 59 to eradicate unlawful child abuse, as it does not even extend to child abuse. The National Party wants to outlaw child abuse while allowing parents to have the option of physically disciplining their children. To do this it maintains, “reasonable force” has to be defined. This may be difficult to draft, and would not give sufficient clarity to an already arbitrary law. A more helpful option would be to amend the law to clearly define the threshold for criminal conviction while preventing the possibility of unnecessary intrusion of the state with regards to parental discipline. Courts could convict if no reasonable, instructed jury could find that an accused was reasonably justified in using force. Alternatively, an amendment could state that prosecutions in parental discipline cases must prove criminal intent to secure conviction. This would mean that parents would continue to have the option of lawfully disciplining their children, while abusers would be convicted. Bradford wants to get rid of abuse, but maintains she does not intend to ban smacking. Therefore all smacking cannot be abuse. To pass law which would remove this privilege from parents on the grounds that it is abuse is fallacious and illogical. * Dave Crampton is a writer, researcher and part-time politics student from Wellington.

BAY OF PLENTY TIMES
TOP STORY: WE WANT THE RIGHT TO SMACK, SAY PARENTS

26.05.2006

By Yvette Wakelin
More than eight out of 10 people living in the Western Bay believe parents should have the right to smack their children.

That’s the finding of a Bay of Plenty Times Insight poll after 83 per cent of locals said they wanted the freedom to use the hand as a form of discipline.

The results come as several child advocacy groups acknowledged during a public hearing yesterday that steps should be taken to protect parents if Green MP Sue Bradford’s “anti-smacking” bill was successful.

For the past few years Ms Bradford has been working to push through her controversial member’s bill, which she hopes will repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act.

That section lets adults use reasonable force as a defence against child assault but is not available as a defence regarding adults hitting adults.

The bill passed its first reading in Parliament last year with Labour’s support. National opposed it.

The Key Research poll shows most Bay parents want to retain the right to smack their child to deal with their misbehaviour.

Of the 300 people surveyed, 250 disagreed with Ms Bradford’s bill and thought parents should be allowed to resort to smacking.

Of the respondents, 85.5 per cent of males voted in favour of the right to smack – females were slightly behind at 81.8 per cent.

But it was the older generation who felt the strongest about smacking, with 89 per cent of people over the age of 55 believing parents were entitled to make their own decisions about punishment. Some 45.8 per cent of people aged 15-24 years were against it.

Many parents approached by the Bay of Plenty Times outside a Tauranga school yesterday said parents should have the right to choose their own form of discipline. However, not one of the dozens spoken to wanted their views published for fear of being ostracised or labelled as “child abusers”.

One woman said she believed there was nothing wrong with a “light tap on the bum” to bring her kids into line – as long as it was used sparingly.

She said she was smacked as a child and believed she had turned out all right.

Another, who was collecting her two young boys from school, said a “good whack” worked wonders.

She turned to the hand only as a last resort and “never” used excessive force.

Despite opposition from parents, the New Zealand branch of End Physical Punishment of Children is giving Ms Bradford’s bill the thumbs up.

Spokeswoman Beth Wood said the group, made up of organisations including Unicef, Save the Children and Plunket, were backing the bill.

There is little likelihood of parents being prosecuted if they lightly smack their children after a law change, she said.

“Parents want the best for their children and more and more parents are choosing not to smack. Repeal of Section 59 is an opportunity for New Zealand families to put more effort into learning ways of disciplining their children that do not involve hitting.”

Tauranga Relationship Services clinical leader Les Simmonds said his organisation was totally against smacking.

“There are more effective ways to shape children’s behaviour.”

However, Mr Simmonds said he was not surprised by the number of Bay people that felt they should be able to smack their children.

“A vast majority of people, when they think about smacking, are thinking about whacking their child across the hand for something like … sticking their finger in an electrical socket.”

New Zealand Nanny Support Service general manager Stacey Dunn was alarmed at the number of people who believed they had the right to discipline through smacking.

“I think 83.3 per cent is scarily high. I really didn’t think there would be that many.”

She said the interpretation of smacking needed to be clearly defined. “If they don’t do this, people will interpret what they want from it.”

* This research was conducted for the Bay of Plenty Times by Key Research as part of their regular Insight survey. Insight is the syndicated survey of the Western Bay of Plenty District residents for local companies and organisations. For more information, contact simon@keyresearch.co.nz or on 07 575 6900.

30 May 2006 – Report On First Day Of Committee Hearings Pts 1 & 2

Press Release — for immediate use Part 1
30 May 2006

Family Integrity representatives attended the first sitting of the
Justice and Electoral Select Committee last Thursday to consider
submissions on MP Sue Bradford’s Bill to repeal Section 59.

It was a showcase of the “heavies” lined up in favour of repeal: Save
the Children, EPOCH, Familes Commission, UNICEF, Parent.org, Barnardos,
Relationship Services, CCS, IHC and the Commissioner for Children. Each
of these was totally in favour of repeal, and each was also absolutely
opposed to any amendment or attempt to define what constitutes
“reasonable force”. It was almost as if they were reading from the same
script as each one mentioned the following:

1. Smacking is spanking is hitting is beating is violence
is abuse.
2. This is not an anti-smacking Bill, it was an
anti-violence Bill.
3. The repeal of Section 59 will not criminalise parents,
and that is not our intention. We are sure the police will not prosecute
light smacks.
4. Any attempt to define what constitutes “reasonable
force” only validates the use of violence.

All of these arguments are inconsistent and illogical.

First, conflating the terms smacking, hitting, beating, violence and
abuse as though they all mean the same is an old muddle-the-language
propaganda ploy. We have the different words because they mean different
things. The batsman never spanks the ball, he hits it.

Second, even though the Parliamentary Committee Chair, Lynne Pillay
herself, was keen to establish that this was not an anti-smacking Bill
(Families Commissioner Dr Prasad obliged and called it an anti-violence
Bill), all the presenters spoke out clearly against smacking in any
form. The IHC folks said “smacking” was often a euphemism for a real
beating. UNICEF’s Beth Wood said Section 59 means you can be excused if
you beat your child. Jeff Sanders of Relationship Services said that
Section 59 affirmed violence against children is acceptable. That means
they assume Section 59’s wording (“Every parent…is justified in using
force by way of correction towards the child, if the force used is
reasonable in the circumstances”) allows for beatings and other violence
against children. Does this wording allow for such violence? No, these
zealots are stretching things a fair bit. And the actual use of Section
59 in real court cases, a rare event at about 1.4 cases per year, most
of those being found guilty of abuse, shows that it most definitely does
not justify child violence.

So how do they come to such a ridiculous conclusion that “reasonable
force” does equate with violence? Because they are religiously committed
to the ideology of the United Nations Committee for the Rights of the
Child, the group that monitors how well each country is conforming to
the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC). This Committee,
according to Frances Joychild of the NZ Law Commission, has said that a
smack, no matter how light, constitutes violence and abuse by
definition. Now this UN Committee is made up of people from, among other
places, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Thailand, Egypt and Burkina Faso: not
exactly showcases of children’s rights when they practise things such as
intense suppression of religious minorities, beheading and stoning and
cutting off of hands for various crimes, no political parties, no
voting, child torture, child floggings, child death sentences, child
slavery, child prostitution. Why should New Zealand listen to such
no-hopers?

Third, the obvious can no longer be ignored: repealing Section 59 will
criminalise even the pacifist’s favourite method of discipline, “time
out”. They all know it, especially since it is precisely the intention
Bradford had in mind when she wrote the Bill, for she says so in the
Bill’s Explanatory Note: “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.”

What they intend is irrelevant, anyway, and they know that too: what
counts is what wording in finally enacted.

What mystified Family Integrity observers was how every single presenter
declared with such certainty that the Police would not prosecute parents
who used force to correct their children when the whole object of the
Bill is to remove any legal justification for doing just that. Select
Committee Member Anne Tolley commented to the Children’s Commissioner
Cindy Kiro that it was going to be quite a challenge to pass a law that
wasn’t expected to be enforced. Kiro agreed. In addition, nobody offered
to contact the Police Commissioner to get his opinion on it. That is
because Dr Andrew Jack, PhD, the legal expert of the Police
Commissioner’s Office wrote Family Integrity a letter on 11 August 2005
saying quite clearly, “If Section 59 was repealed in its entirety,
parents would not be authorised to use reasonable force by way of
correction….smacking of a child by way of corrective action would be
an assault.” So if Section 59 is repealed, what discretion can Police
use when all smacks are assaults and there is no longer any legal
justification for reasonable smacks or light smacks (such as what
Section 59 currently provides for parents)? They can use the same
discretion they use now. So since Section 59 ain’t broke, why are these
child advocacy groups so keen to fix it, especially when the parents of
the children consitently poll at 80% in favour of leaving it as it is?

Fourth, every single one of these presenters was adamant that the
Committee must not make any attempt to define “reasonable force”, as it
only calibrates degrees of violence against children. Now think about
this for a moment: they are not talking about calibrating or defining
“unreasonable force”: that is already ruled out of bounds. They are
opposed to calibrating “reasonable force” for that is the same as
calibrating violence. “Reasonable force” is the same as violence is what
they are saying. And they don’t want to calibrate it. But in the next
breath they calibrate violence into a category known as “light smacks”
which is so acceptable they do not intend for the police to prosecute
it. And yet the IHC folks said force against children was very seldom
reasonable. The Save the Children presenter said no force was ever
reasonable.

The anti-smacking lobby is now trying to be on both sides of the
argument at the same time. This is either hypocrisy or muddle-headedness
of the first order. “Light smacks” apparently qualify as “reasonable
force” for the anti-smacking lobby does not want to criminalise it or
see the police prosecute it. But they do not want to define “reasonable
force”, for that is calibrating violence. They are keen to justify
“light smacks” as “reasonable force”, calibrate it into a category which
should not be criminalized or prosecuted when the whole objective of
this Bill is to get rid of any legal justification for using “reasonable
force”!

The picture that is emerging appears to show that Bradford, Kiro and co.
do not want PARENTS to have the LEGAL justification, the LEGAL
authority, to freely use reasonable force with their children. They
appear to favour a system of selective application of the law wherein
specific people, families and people groups can be targeted. We were
told at the hearing that Police will use discretion based on guidelines
they develop from time to time. Cindy Kiro in fact volunteered to help
Police develop these guidelines which, one would presume, will further
calibrate force beyond the vague term “light smacks”….even though she
strongly disagrees with such calibration as it only validates the use of
violence.

These so called child advocates do more flipping and flopping than a
fish out of water.

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

Press Release for immedate use – Part 2
30 May 2006

Family Integrity has noted further common strands among the first 10
groups to present oral submissions on the Bill to repeal Section 59
before the Justice and Electoral Select Committee last Thursday.

5. The existence of Section 59 says violence is acceptable.

6. The Select Committee had before it a golden opportunity
to exercise real moral courage and leadership by repealing Section 59.
7. Parents cannot be expected to know what is best, as they
are operating in the absence of any formal training while we experts
have the benefit of modern day theory and practice.
8. Research only shows negative results of physical
punishment.

Such arguments are illogical and presumptuous.

Fifth, Section 59, they say, is to blame for most of this country’s woes
in the area of child abuse. Its existence has created a culture of
violence toward children. If only this legal justification for parents
to use “reasonable force” were repealed, it would send a clear message
to society that child violence will not be tolerated. Again, they equate
“reasonable force” with violence.

As evidence of the claim that the mere existence of Section 59 breeds
violence in this country, reference has been constantly made to the
cases where courts allegedly justified parents who, it was said by the
pro-repeal lobby, committed acts of violence and abuse upon their
children. The one case specifically mentioned during this Committee
hearing was the lady in Timaru, the one Children’s Commissioner Cindy
Kiro has on many occasions in the past referred to as the “horse whip
lady”. At this hearing, Kiro expressed her disappointment that the jury
in Timaru acquitted her, justified the force she used on her child,
which, in Kiro’s view, was clearly abusive.

Now just consider what’s going on here. Dr Kiro, not having been at the
Timaru court, and already having shown her tendency to irresponsible
exaggeration (the “horse whip” turned out to be an 18 inch riding crop,
and the “bamboo cane” she has mentioned in the past turned out to be a
bamboo garden stake, smaller around than your pinkey), insists that her
opinion is superior to and should be regarded by her hearers as more
accurate than the unanimous decision of 12 of her peers who had all the
details of the case laid out before them in excruciating detail. As a
matter of record, the Timaru lady’s son voluntarily submitted to the
discipline; the school was so impressed with his immensely improved
behaviour that they commended his mum for it; the lady made no
statements in her own defense, neither did she or her lawyer call any
witnesses. They let the prosecution have free rein to do all they could
to prove her guilty, and in so doing they convinced the jury she was
justified and innocent. And the prosecution did not appeal the jury’s
decision. Yet Kiro’s paternalism and arrogance toward this parent and
toward the jury system is still so great, that she still cannot stop
herself from publicly denigrating them both.

The other case the anti-smacking lobby continually refers to is the
“wooden plank” incident in Hawkes Bay. First of all, we must note that
they rarely ever refer to any but these two. That’s because cases of
suspected child abuse where Section 59 is brought up are very rare,
about 1.4 a year, according to YouthLaw soliciter John Hancock of Action
for Children and Youth Aotearoa, part of the anti-smacking lobby. And in
the majority of these cases, the defendant is found guilty. That means
that Section 59 is working very well: parents who are tried using a
Section 59 defence and who are justified are less than one a year and
closer to one every two years.

Well, it turns out the “wooden plank” has also been referred to as a “2 by
4”. It was in fact a 30cm x 2cm stick, the same size as a wooden spoon.
The boy had lied to his dad about stealing $40 from a visitor to the
house, submitted willingly to the smacking and testified in Court that
the injuries to his back had been sustained by serious abrasions caused
by an accident that occurred several days earlier while roller-skating.
Now most surprising in this case is that Section 59 was not used as a
defense. So the anti-smacking lobby shouldn’t even be using this as an
example.

In addition to this type of dishonesty, the anti-smacking group somehow
manage to bring up the names of children visciously and brutally
murdered – Lillibing, James Whakaruru, Delcelia Witika, Tangaroa Matiu,
Coral Burrows, Saliel Aplin, Olympia Jetson and Mereana Edmonds, whose
killers are behind bars – and talk as though there is some kind of link
between these monsters’ actions and the “reasonable force” wording of
Section 59. But there is no link at all. Section 59 was never brought up
in any of these cases. And yet the Barnardos group said at this hearing,
“How many more James Whakarurus and Lillybings do we need to sacrifice
for the sake of Section 59?” What on earth are they talking about?
Please, where is the logic in that?

Sixth, the Select Committee was encouraged to ignore the nay-sayers they
would hear from in subsequent submissions (Dr Kiro was especially
articulate in emphasising this) and to seize this opportunity to show
real moral courage and leadership. That is, ignore overwhelming public
opinion in favour of retaining Section 59 and repeal it anyway.

Seventh, several presenters affirmed that parents do not have the
benefit of “modern child rearing theory and practice”. The implication
is that the 80% of New Zealanders who disagree with outlawing reasonable
force are in the dark really, and fairly ignorant. And so these lobby
groups want to use the force of law to bring us ignorant parents into
line with their own peculiar biases and prejudices.

And these folks are biased; they have agendas, make no mistake about
that. John Bowis of Save the Children said, “No force is reasonable.”
This is hardly a majority opinion. Maree Russell of EPOCH said smacking
is morally wrong, that children have a right to the physical integrity
of their bodies, as do adults. Of course, she didn’t bother to qualify
that statement to allow for parents wiping children’s bottoms or to
allow for state agents in the form of teachers, police and truancy
officers to require children to attend schooling institutions several
hours a day, five days a week for nine months a year for ten years and
to sit where they are told in non-ergonomically designed chairs and to
wear uniforms, whether they like it or not, just as adult prisoners have
severe limitations on the physical integrity of their bodies as to where
they can go and what they can do. Dr Prasad of the Families Commission
said Parliament cannot wait for majority opinion to favour non-smacking
disciplinary measures, but must take the lead and “give the strongest
signal possible about violence”, presumably by repealing Section 59. If
they repeal it but then don’t prosecute, as they all affirmed was the
intention, how will that send any message at all about violence?

The CCS crowd was really confusing: they straight-up admitted that even
though their client parents insisted that they needed a larger parenting
tool-kit, one that included various types of force, to deal with their
disabled children, CCS as an organisation disagreed with these very
parents they claimed to be serving and wanted full repeal with no
definition of “reasonable force.”

The clincher was the comment made by UNICEF CEO Dennis McKinley: “All
the opposition to repeal of Section 59 is coming from parents, and since
they are the ones likely to be prosecuted, it is understandable.”
Perhaps Dennis was being more honest than most: his words were that
parents are the ones “likely” to be prosecuted. It was clear that none
of these groups perceived parents as the resident experts on child
training and discipline, as the ones most highly motivated and
possessing the greatest degree of commitment toward their own children’s
best interests, as the ones who know their own children most intimately
by virtue of spending the most time with the children. These child
advocacy groups made it clear that they know what’s best for other
people’s children. The picture they painted is an adversarial one of
parents against children with their various child advocacy groups as the
good guys coming to rescue the children from their brutish, uninformed
and selfish parents.

Eighth, most of them made reference to research showing only negative
effects of violence toward children. All researchers, and nearly every
parent, would agree on this. What was left unmentioned is the research
on the effects of mild corporal discipline, “light smacks”, research
that took care to exclude clear and obvious cases of criminal abuse
against children in its statistics. Such studies by people such as Dr
Diana Baumrind of University of California at Berkley, Dr Robert
Larzelere of the Univerisity of Nebraska and Dr Rex Ahdar of the
University of Otago have shown positive effects of corporal correction.
They uncovered the personal and methodological biases employed by
researchers such as Dr Murray Strauss of the University of New
Hampshire, Dr Joan Durrant of the University of Manitoba and Dr Anne
Smith of the University of Otago. (Dr Larzelere states that he and Dr
Durrant used the same set of Swedish data to arrive at opposite
conclusions.) They highlighted the impossibility of isolating episodes
of corporal correction from all other life experiences in a person in
order to show a causal link between such episodes and negative social
behaviours. (All researchers will admit this when pressed, but the
pro-repeal researchers often fail to bring this up in their discussion
documents and also use wording such as, “research has shown
conclusively…”, “we know from research that…”, etc.) And Dr Ahdar
has demonstrated how illogical and arrogant is the paternalism
consistently employed by the anti-smacking lobby’s arguments.

On top of the commentary contained in the clinical and academic
research, there is the social and legal commentary of a unique group
known as the Nordic Committee for Human Rights (NCHR). This is a
collection of lawyers from the various Scandinavian countries who have
seen the destruction of families caused by both prosecution of parents
who practise corporal discipline (now defined in these countries as
assault) and by social welfare agents removing the children from the
homes where parents are accused of practising corporal discipline
(accused of assault). This NCHR is dedicated to rectifying this
anti-smacking legislation because it is so damaging to their societies.
See www.nkmr.org .

Family Integrity hopes the Justice and Electoral Select Committee will
pay attention to such people who have been down this proposed road and
are now sadly occupied with picking up the many pieces.

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

25 May 2006 – Bradford’s Intentions Are Irrelevant

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0605/S00260.htm

Bradford’s Intentions are Irrelevant
Thursday, 25 May 2006, 9:49 am Press Release: Family Integrity
Press Release
For Immediate Publication
Bradford’s Intentions are Irrelevant
Family Integrity published material months ago claiming that repeal of Section 59 would not only make smacking a crime but would also criminalise the pro-repeal group’s favourite alternative to smacking, “time out”. Since then many strands have come together confirming our predictions.
A letter from the Police Commissioner’s Office August 11, 2005, confirmed that any smacking at all would become an assault if Section 59 was repealed and that “parents would not be authorized to use reasonable force by way of correction,” totally undermining their authority and criminalizing virtually any act of hands-on parenting.
Children’s Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro opened a forum on effective child discipline in Wellington on February 9, 2006, with comments dismissive of the claim that repeal of Section 59 would criminalise parents. She closed the forum that same day saying that the criminalisation of parents was an issue that could not be glossed over but had to be dealt with.
Investigate Magazine just published an article in the June 2006 issue in which Queen’s Counsels Stuart Grieve, Grant Illingworth and Nick Davidson all confirm that repeal of Section 59 would define any smacking as assault and would criminalise even the enforcement of “time out”.
Sue Bradford now disingenuously claims it was never her intention to make a light smack a crime, although her Explanatory Note in the Bill makes it clear that was always her intention.
In an effort to sound big-hearted about it, Bradford now says she’ll probably re-word the Explanatory Note of the Bill to make clear her intentions. So what? She may “intend” that pigs should fly, but who cares? Her intentions in the Explanatory Note are totally spurious and irrelevant when it comes to the wording of Acts of Parliament. As the Institute of Policy Studies has said:
“Legislative intention” is synonymous with “whimsical nonsense.” What matters is what Parliaments “enacts”, not what anyone “intends” to see happen.1
Public opinion is against Bradford’s Bill: academic research as well as popular polls consistently show 80% of New Zealanders do not want Section 59 repealed.
Police opinion shows Bradford’s Bill will criminalise parents as well as reduce their authority.
Top QCs’ opinions agree that Bradford’s Bill will also criminalise even “time out”, meaning even most supporters of this Bill will find it coming back to bite them if it ever passes.
It is high time Sue Bradford quits wasting Parliamentary time and resources on a dead duck of a Bill and do the honourable thing: withdraw it and dump it.
Note:
1.
Quote:
The critical element remains “what Parliament has enacted” rather than what Parliament (or anybody else) intended to achieve. (It has been suggested that “legislative intention” is synonymous with “whimsical nonsense”.)
End of Quote.
(From the Institute of Policy Studies Newsletter, August 1997, No. 51, p. 8, “Regulatory Management: Achieving Intended Results with Minimum Compliance Costs”.)
ENDS

24 May 2006 – Bill Under Fire – Truth is Catching Up

Family Integrity #87 – Bill under fire – 24 May 2006

It has been very gratifying to see wide press and radio coverage of
Bradford’s admission that her Bill to repeal Section 59 of the Crimes
Act would probably criminalise too many parents. Claiming she does not
want to criminalise a light smack, quite an illogical claim given her
consistent stance that any smack is unacceptable violence, that one
cannot define reasonable force as it only calibrates legally allowed
violence, that whatever is considered an assault against an adult should
be considered an assault against a child. She is now in favour of
somehow amending the Bill to make it clear that a light smack would not
be criminalised.

This seems to have started from two articles in the June issue of
Investigate Magazine where several QC lawyers expressed their opinion
that repeal of Section 59 would make even “time out” an assault, just as
we have been saying all along.

Here is the Family Integrity Press Release on the issue. We need to
watch where this new attitude of Bradford’s will lead. Her Bill should
be dumped and the whole issue dropped. There simply is no reason to
modify this Bill. Violence and abuse toward children are already
illegal. Educate, enforce and go for the real sources of violent
influences in this society such as TV, video games, abortion on demand,
rampant school bullying, etc.

Craig Smith

PRESS RELEASE – 24 MAY 2006
For Immediate Publication

Truth is Catching Up

It appears Sue Bradford has admitted that her Bill to amend the Crimes
Act to ban smacking is flawed and itself needs ‘amendment’.

Since August last year when the Office of the Police Commissioner
confirmed that repeal of Section 59 would make any smacking into a
criminal assault, Bradford has claimed this has not been her intent. Yet
her Explanatory Note in the Bill itself clearly confirms that it has
always been her intent. She has also illogically claimed again and again
that the Police will not enforce the law should her Bill pass and
Section 59 be repealed.

The latest issue of Investigate Magazine has comments from several top
New Zealand QCs confirming precisely what Family Integrity has been
saying for months: that if Section 59 is repealed and parents are
prohibited from using any force with their children, be it reasonable or
unreasonable, even the most-often-mentioned alternative to corporal
discipline, “time out”, will almost certainly be classed as a criminal
assault as well!

Commonsense would dictate that Ms Bradford’s Bill be withdrawn. The
dawning truth of its implications has shown it to be completely
unworkable.

But it gets worse. Ms Bradford is starting to talk about amending the
Bill, presumably to tighten up the definition of what constitutes
“reasonable” force. She has until now consistently rubbished such ideas
as they work against her objectives of criminalising any parental use of
force at all with their own children. Family Integrity also opposes the
idea of defining “reasonable” force, but for a much different reason: it
is simply impossible to do.

Looking only at the Crimes Act, Sections 39, 42, 48, 52, 53, 56 and 60
all allow for “reasonable” force in scenarios such as riots and self
defense and maintaining order and discipline on board a ship or
aircraft. Sections 41, 45, 46 and 55 allow for the use of force, without
the limiting word “reasonable”, in cases such as suicide or defense of
your home. The word “reasonable” has no meaning in law, and cannot be
defined in law, without a context, without the judge or jury knowing all
the relevant circumstances. And this is precisely what Section 59 calls
for: if a parent is to be justified in using force with his or her
child, the force must conform to two limitations: it must be used by way
of correction, and it must be reasonable “in the circumstances”. In the
life of any family there are an infinite variety of circumstances that
play out over time. To try to define them all as either “reasonable” or
“unreasonable” would require an entire library full of descriptions. The
very idea is daft. Just like Bradford’s original Bill to repeal Section
59 in the first place.

As Family Integrity has been saying all along, Section 59 of the Crimes
Act is a brilliant piece of legislation that should not be tampered
with.

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

23 May 2006 – Bradford’s blatant dishonesty in anti-smacking bill agenda

The Society for Promotion of Community Standards Inc.
P.O. Box 13-683 Johnsonville

http://www.spcs.org.nz

Press Release 23/05/06
Bradford’s blatant dishonesty in anti-smacking bill agenda
Green MP Sue Bradford has just made a major U-turn in her position with regard to her flawed private members bill that seeks the complete removal of the “reasonable force” defence from the Crimes Act 1960 (s. 59). After numerous public denials by her and her supporters, that the repeal of s. 59 would ‘criminalise’ ALL parents who use force such as smacking (i.e. potentially open them ALL up to a charge of criminal assault); she now admits that the repeal would in fact do just that: ‘criminalise’ them ALL. She has known since last year that the Police have conceded in a letter to Family Integrity that this would be the EFFECT of removing s. 59, even though the intent of the bill’s proponents may not have been to produce this effect. In this case an unstated intention of the present bill (not to criminalise smacking) is irrelevant. It is the EFFECT of the law that informs the Courts not an unstated intention!

Bradford now goes much further and concedes, as her critics have been pointing out, that repeal of s. 59 opens up ALL parents who use ANY force against their children in disciplinary action such as carrying kids to their rooms for time-out, or for ANY other reason (other than to remove them from imminent danger where force is justified); to charges of assault being laid against them by the police.

The Society is calling on Ms Bradford to concede that she has been quite dishonest in her responses to her critics and has demonstrated a level of incompetence that sullies the legislative process and many of her competent parliamentary colleagues. The Society is asking for her to come clean and apologise publicly for this debacle.

As recently as Sunday 21 May she was claiming that she would not compromise on her efforts to get s. 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 repealed and resolutely maintained that all smacking constitutes the ‘thin-edge of the wedge’ and the ‘slippery slope’ towards criminal offending by parents, called “child abuse”. This is the position of CYFS (Child, Youth and Family Services), one of her main supporters. (We all know what they’re like when we saw Ms Lorraine Williams, their National Operations Manager, savage Don and Anne Eathorne for having committed ‘child abuse’ on the recent TV One Sunday programme, because they smacked their foster boy in a disciplinary action).

Following the recent publication by Investigate Magazine of an interview done with her on the subject of her bill, it was suggested by critics that she actually does not want any parent who smacks their child to be criminalised. However, she rubbished this suggestion that she had softened her approach. Newstalk ZB (21/05), having noted her critic’s comments, reported that “the MP says there is no change in her position. She [Bradford] says any suggestion [by her critics] she has softened her stance is nonsense.”

Her hard-line view opposing all smacking by parents and her determination to have it criminalised by the removal of the “reasonable force” defence from the law – was disclosed to the nation last year at a time when her blatant dishonesty over her real agenda was being attacked by the Society for Promotion of Community Standards in a series of media release.

As the Society pointed out ….

“When asked by TV One’s “Eye to Eye” host former MP Willie Jackson, “Do you accept [the use of] mild physical discipline [on children]?” Green Party MP Sue Bradford did not answer the question. However, she did make it clear that her long-term legislative goal was to criminalise smacking. “I accept that at this time it’s too soon in this country to criminalise parents who lightly smack their children, therefore I’m simply wanting to repeal existing [legislation]”. This evasive yet very revealing reply led Jackson to restate the question: “But do you think it’s OK to smack your kids?” Bradford replied. “Personally no, but I’d like to see the day when we no longer use that [light smacking] but I think we have a long way to go. We have a lot of education to do”. [Eye to Eye: Episode 23 First Broadcast TV One Saturday 09/07/05l; Rebroadcast TV One Tuesday 12/07/05].

Ms Bradford has been responsible for producing a bill that is patently absurd and driven by confused and dishonest motives. If its proponents really do believe that the smacking of a kid in a measured way for disciplinary purposes by parents does constitute actual “child abuse”, then why have they not seen fit to produce a bill that includes a clear intention to have the police deal with all such smacking as criminal offences? The same point could be made with regard to the use of “force” in establishing ‘time out’. The reason Bradford and co. have not done so, is because this bill is actually a classic piece of liberal engineering. Its real intent is not stated. And when it is altered, if this is allowed, it will be dishonest by not truly reflecting the real position of its proponents!

Now, just days before the select committee is to hear from some of the 1,750 submitters and in a state of frenzied panic, Bradford wants to be given the chance to appease her critics by rewriting the bill. She wants to add an “intention” into the explanatory note: one clarifying that the bill’s aim is not to criminalise smacking etc. Frankly, she has lost all credibility. She should not be allowed to waste tax-payers money in a futile effort to salvage a lost cause.

The Dominion Post (23/05) reports that “she would not countenance moves to legally define permissible hitting.” Here she creates a classic conundrum for herself because of her flawed presuppositions concerning what constitutes violence and child abuse. Her position is the classic one of a circular argument. By defining ALL forms of force against children as violence and abuse, and accepting no justification for its use as valid; she obviously has to recoil with horror from any attempt to define in law – “permissible hitting.” To allow for “permissible hitting” in law, would undercut her dogma – opposition to ALL forms of “force” used against children (with the exception of force allowed in cases where children need to be removed from imminent danger).

And notice how she deliberately and dishonestly conflates the term “hitting” with “mild smacking”. By using the blanket term “hitting” she lumps all loving and measured disciplinary force into the category of “violence”. Her puerile excuse for doing so is her fallacious argument that because all such actions against an adult are unacceptable under the law – they constitute assault legally – then the same should be true with respect children. Sadly she deliberately ignores the clear distinction IN KIND between the relationship of two adults and that between an adult and his or her child, as well as the domestic setting in which society accepts force as justified in disciplinary matters involving children.

The Society’s submission to the select committee on the Bill is available on its website under “Submissions to Select Committees” See: www.spcs.org.nz

17 Feb 2006 – 19 April 2006

News Media Reports

Media Release
For immediate distribution

Anti-smacking lobby has no public support.

Two representatives from Family Integrity attended the “Effective Discipline” Forum in Wellington 9 February 2006, put on by the Families and Children’s Commissioners. They found that the two Commissioners knew very well they did not have public support for the repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act. Two large polls (shown below) demonstrate how true this is. A TV1 website poll, which has been active since 28 July 2005, today shows 93% in favour of parents being allowed to use reasonable force to discipline their children. A Stuff.co.nz web poll conducted 16 February 2006 shows 5322 participants (83.8%) answering “No” to the question, “Should smacking children be outlawed in NZ?”

A third poll appeared in this morning’s Wellington Dominion Post. Presented by former Children’s Commissioner Ian Hassall to a conference in Wellington on child abuse, the phone survey of 800 parents revealed that 82% believe it is ok to smack.

For a more robust, scientifically conducted survey, the best is the one commissioned by the Ministry of Justice in 2001 and carried out by the National Research Bureau. (See: http://www.justice.govt.nz/pubs/reports/2001/children/ex-summary.html). It states as its objective, “The survey was conducted by the Ministry of Justice to ascertain public attitudes towards the physical discipline of children. This information is to inform ongoing policy work on section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961.”
The survey further states: “The results showed that 80% of the public agreed that a person parenting a child should be allowed by law to smack the child with an open hand if they are naughty.”

“These polls show that smacking or using reasonable force to discipline one’s child is overwhelmingly supported by the New Zealand public,” says Family Integrity National Director Craig Smith. “Remember, these polls reflect what parents think, those parents at the coalface rather than ivory tower academics. And when you explain to these people that repealing Section 59 will criminalise not only every parent who smacks a child, regardless of how lightly, but also every parent who tries to correct or train or discipline a child using force of any kind, including “time out”, they get really angry at the deceit behind this proposed legislation.”

Yet neither the Families Commissioner Dr Rajen Prasad nor the Children’s Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro expressed any desire at the Forum to pay attention to our democratic tradition of majority rule. Instead they call upon the Government “to show leadership” in this area. That means, “Ignore what the voters say and do as we United Nations-inspired, un-elected, politically-appointed academics say is best.”

These people and all those who are pushing for repeal of Section 59 are happy to overturn in a moment of time parenting methodologies that have been successfully used and proven over thousands of years across many cultures. The only glimmer of hope at the Forum was the grudging acknowledgement by the two Commissioners that repeal would in fact criminalise parents from one end of New Zealand to the other. “It cannot be glossed over,” Dr Kiro told the Forum delegates.

Most of us can easily see how foolish it would be for a government, without any serious public debate or solid research into the social consequences of such a move, to criminalise practices that are as deeply held to and believed in as any other you will find. Such cultural, religious, philosophical and familial insensitivity would spell disaster for any sense of social cohesion and trust and security the government may be trying to foster.

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

17 Feb 06
From: http://www.tvnz.co.nz/view/page/

Poll apparently still active
Originally posted 28 July 2005, OneNews, “Anti-smacking bill passes first hurdle”

“Should parents be allowed to use reasonable force to discipline their children?”
Yes 93%
No 7%

16 Feb 2006
From: http://www.stuff.co.nz – STUFF OPINION POLL RESULTS

“Should smacking children be outlawed in NZ?”
YES (800 votes, 12.6%)
NO (5322 votes, 83.8%)
NOT SURE (228 votes, 3.6%)

21 Feb 2006 – Most Kiwis against Anti-Smacking Legislation

Reports show Parents support ‘reasonable force’ rather than being criminalised for smacking children
By Diane Cordemans
NZ Epoch Times

Craig Smith, from Family Integrity, who recently attended a forum named “Effective Discipline”, organised by the Families and Children Commissioners to promote the anti-smacking bill, says that he has received advice from the Commissioner of Police that smacking will become an act of criminal assault if Section 59 is repealed.

However, advocates for the anti-smacking bill that has been sponsored by Green M.P. Sue Bradford, say that smacking will not be banned if Section 59 of the Crimes Act is repealed.

However, Dr Cindy Kiro admitted at the Forum that the repeal would criminalise parents who smacked their children. Both Bradford and Dr Kiro have adopted the UN’s extreme position that even the lightest of smacks constitutes violence and abuse by definition.

A TV1 website poll, which has been active since 28 July 2005, today shows 93% in favour of parents being allowed to use reasonable force to discipline their children.

A web poll on Stuff.co.nz conducted on 16 February 2006 shows 5322 participants (83.8%) answering “No” to the question, “Should smacking children be outlawed in NZ?”

A third poll appeared in the Wellington Dominion Post this month. Presented by former Children’s Commissioner Ian Hassall to a conference in Wellington on child abuse, the phone survey of 800 parents revealed that 82% believe it is ok to smack.

The Ministry of Justice commissioned a survey in 2001 carried out by the National Research Bureau. It states its objective as “… to ascertain public attitudes towards the physical discipline of children. This information is to inform ongoing policy work on section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961.”

The survey further states: “The results showed that 80% of the public agreed that a person parenting a child should be allowed by law to smack the child with an open hand if they are naughty.”

“These polls show that smacking or using reasonable force to discipline one’s child is overwhelmingly supported by the New Zealand public,” says Family Integrity National Director Craig Smith.

“Remember, these polls reflect what parents think, those parents at the coalface rather than ivory tower academics. Repealing Section 59 will criminalise not only every parent who smacks a child, regardless of how lightly, but also every parent who tries to correct or train or discipline a child using force of any kind, including “time out”.

Craig Smith believes that Dr Rajen Prasad and Dr Cindy Kiro are disregarding the feelings of the vast majority of New Zealanders.

The repeal of Section 59 will certainly change the way parenting has been carried out for centuries, eliminating practices and methods that generations of families have used, and changing forever the status of the family unit. Submissions on Ms Bradford’s Bill close on February 28 2006.

10 April 2006 – CYF should not be above the law

Monday, 10 April 2006, 9:51 am Press Release: Family First Lobby.
email.bob@familyfirst.org.nz | www.familyfirst.org.nz
MEDIA RELEASE
9 APRIL 2006
CYF should not be above the law
Child Youth and Family should not be allowed to penalise parents / caregivers and children by separating them from each other just because the parents / caregivers don’t follow a politically correct policy of not physically disciplining children enforced by CYF.
“CYF is guilty,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of the Family First Lobby, “Guilty of punishing fantastic caregivers and parents who simply enforce strong boundaries as any good parent should. The case of the Eathornes on TV1’s Sunday programme (9 April 2006) and the treatment of the parents in the infamous Timaru ‘riding crop case’ are perfect examples of a government department who think they are above the law of New Zealand.”
In the case of the Timaru parents, CYF removed a son from his mum and dad despite the parents being found not guilty of any type of abuse when disciplining, and despite the school admitting that the behaviour of the child had improved dramatically after the discipline.
CYF then put the child on drugs (Risperdal and Ritalin) to modify his behaviour! He was subsequently expelled because of a deterioration in his behaviour. CYF seem to believe that drugs are better than discipline!
In the case of the Eathornes, physical discipline (4 whacks on the hand with a wooden spoon) for vandalism by the boy, costing over $5,000 to repair, has resulted in the Eathornes considered inappropriate as caregivers for CYF. CYF were willing to rely on the testimony of an at-risk child rather than a couple who have provided a fantastic service for the State looking after these types of kids for many years.
“I would rather have the Eathornes looking after my kids than any CYF Social Worker,” says Bob McCoskrie. “The Eathornes seem to be effective parents who love their kids and because they love their kids, know that there are certain types of discipline appropriate to certain misdemeanours.”
CYF ideology does not understand the huge difference between smacking and child abuse. They illustrate a bully boy government department who will break up families who uphold the law.

19 April 2006 – Ban smacking. but it’s okay to bully – Children’s Commissioner

MEDIA RELEASE – for immediate release
19 APRIL 2006

Ban smacking… but it’ s okay to bully – Children’ s Commissioner

The Children’s Commissioner is demanding smacking by good parents to be banned, but is guilty herself of the worst kind of bullying and intimidation.

At a recent conference held in Auckland for social workers to give feedback on s59, they were asked to indicate whether they supported the repeal of s59 (Green MP Sue Bradford’s private members’ bill which is effectively a ban on smacking) or not.

Out of approximately 60 attendees, only 3 brave souls suggested that a ban would be unnecessary and that an amendment would be more effective. Nobody else dared to say otherwise, no matter what their personal view! It was quite evident that to survive this meeting, you had to support a ban on smacking. Even to be unsure was frowned upon!

The three social workers who were willing to challenge the intimidation were dragged to the front of this gathering and told to stand by the stage in full view of their peers. Two of the workers were told by their colleagues that their jobs were at risk because of their views! (which explains why many organizations are too scared to speak out the truth on the problem with banning smacking for fear of losing their funding or jobs.)

One of the participants said it was humiliating and intimidating.

A Commission employee was then sent to these three renegades and told them they were “people who condone violence towards children.” This action was clearly to intimidate and bully them. Even the Commissioner herself targeted the members of this group to question why they did not think the same way as her!

This was quite simply straight out bullying of the worst kind – the bully being a government employee!

The Children’s Commissioner wants to ban smacking yet deems it okay to display shameful “schoolyard bullying”.

Perhaps we should deal with adult bullying first, before we think about punishing good parents for disciplining their children.

For more information contact the Family First Lobby:

Bob McCoskrie, National Director

Tel. 09 269 5315 | Mob. 027 55 555 42
email. bob@familyfirst.org.nz
www.familyfirst.org.nz
P.O. Box 276-133
Manukau City
Auckland
New Zealand

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

17 Feb 2006 – Massive Opposition to Repeal of Section 59

Friday, 17 February 2006, 12:06 pm
Press Release: Society For Promotion Of Community Standards Inc.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0602/S00117.htm
Massive Opposition to Repeal of Section 59

Should Smacking Children Be Outlawed in New Zealand? A Stuff Opinion Poll Result carried out on 16 February reveals that an overwhelming number of those who responded to the on-line poll opposed any moves to ban smacking (5,322 respondents; 83.8%). Only 800 (12.6%) responded in the affirmative and 3.6% (228) were “unsure”.

This result cannot be claimed to be statistically accurate but the result supports findings obtained from other studies that have sampled public opinion using more rigorous methods. For example, a recent study reported on in today’s Dominion Post shows that 82% of parents say it is okay to smack children.

“Results from a telephone survey of 800 parents presented at yesterday’s conference on child abuse in Wellington by former children’s commissioner Ian Hassell showed 82 per cent believed it was okay to smack. The results are a sting for advocates of repealing Section 59 of the Crimes Act, which gives parents the right to use “reasonable” force when disciplining their child.”

Of those who support smacking, Dr Hassell reported that 60 per cent of parents did not support repeal of section 59.

A long running TV One opinion poll on the same subject reveals massive support for parents retaining the right in law to use “reasonable force to discipline their children”. The poll has been running continuously since 28 July 2005, the day Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking private member’s bill passed its first hurdle and was referred to the Justice and Electoral Committee. The figures show that 93% of respondents support the rights of parents to use reasonable force such as smacking. Only 7% are opposed.

The Society president, Mike Pretrus, says: “The Society has consistently opposed all moves by the ‘anti-smacking brigade’ to repeal section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961. It has sought to expose the clear agenda of this group to strip all parents of their only protection and justification in law (s. 59) to the proper use of “reasonable force” such as smacking, as one of many options they can legitimately use in the corrective and loving discipline of children. It repudiates the flawed and erroneous reasoning advanced by many supporters of the repeal”. These include:

(1) ALL forms of smacking constitute “violence” against children.

(2) Such “violence” must be treated in law in ALL cases in the same way as “common assault” against an adult by an adult, because a child has the same rights to protection from “violence” and “assault” as an adult.

(3) The parent-child relationship is equivalent, and must be treated in law as equivalent, to any adult-adult relationship when it comes to laying a conviction for “assault” against one member of either pair. For example, a “benign” smack administered to a child by its parent or the person in the place of the parent, for the purpose of corrective discipline, should be treated in law in the same way as any common assault by an adult on any other adult, is to be treated.

(4) Parents must be treated in law as having no more rights when it comes to administering corrective discipline to their own children, than paid caregivers (such as after school supervisors) who are often not even known personally by the parents, let alone their children.

The Society’s reasons for the rejection of these spurious assumptions are dealt with in articles available on its website www.spcs.org.nz

16 February Media Release – The Smacking Smoke-Screen

16 February 2006

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

15 February 2006 Press Release – Mis-Informing the public on smacking

This Press Release made it on scoop, read it HERE

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.”

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

This Press Release made it on scoop, read it HERE

15 February 2006 – media FW: Helen Clark on Smacking

Clark wrong on smacking ban claim
Wednesday, 15 February 2006, 11:40 am
Press Release: New Zealand National Party
Judith Collins MP
National Party Families Spokeswoman

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0602/S00190.htm

15 February 2006
Clark wrong on smacking ban claim

National Party Families spokeswoman Judith Collins says Helen Clark is flying in the face of legal opinion with her claim today that repeal of Section 59 does not amount to a ‘smacking ban’.

“Helen Clark’s mistakenly claimed today that repeal of the reasonable force defence has been ‘crudely and wrongly represented in the media’ as a ban on smacking.

“She is wrong.

“The Office of the Police Commissioner has confirmed that smacking would be illegal if Section 59 is repealed.”

A letter from the legal services department of the Office of the Police Commissioner says: ‘If section 59 was repealed in its entirety parents would not be authorised to use reasonable force by way of correction…smacking of a child by way of corrective action would be an assault.’

“Yet again Helen Clark finds herself at odds with the police.

“National favours an amendment to better define reasonable force rather than a complete repeal which, as the police have confirmed, would make criminals out of many honest parents.

“If Helen Clark was serious about looking after children and families, she would have prodded Steve Maharey into action over the long forgotten Agenda for Children.

“The document (released in June 2002) included clauses that said the ‘whole child’ approach will be founded in part on the ‘Treaty of Waitangi’. And by the middle of last year it had all but fallen off Labour’s agenda.

“CYF also remains a sore point for the Government. Despite the millions of taxpayer dollars channeled into the Department, it continues to lurch from one botch-up to the next.

“New Zealand kids need real action, not more rhetoric,” says Ms Collins.

ENDS

_________

Clark: Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
Wednesday, 15 February 2006, 10:53 am
Speech: New Zealand Government

Wednesday 15 February 2006

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0602/S00188.htm

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister

Address at
10th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect

QUOTE FROM HELEN CLARK

The New Zealanders present are well informed about the debate in our country over Section 59 of the Crimes Act, which provides a defence of reasonable force for assault of a child.

Suffice it to say, some of the case law precedents set are less than edifying, and have contributed to calls for the legal defence to be removed.

This ends up being crudely and wrongly represented in the media as calls for a ban on smacking, which it is not.

Parliament will be debating this measure again shortly. It is not clear at this time where the balance of opinion will lie. My personal hope is that more can be done to protect children through change to the law.

31 Jan 2006 Press Release

On Friday 27 January at 4:08pm Radio NZ aired 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.

You can listen to it at:

http://www.radionz.co.nz/nr/programmes/afternoons/20060127

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

They say this about Christians:

Brennan: “They like whacking children.”
Bradbury: “They love it.”
After reading Proverbs 22:15 from the Bible:
Brennan: “These people are nuts.”
Ashton: “This is disgusting: so children are innately evil and we need
to beat it out of them.”
A bit later on, Brennan asks, “What are these people on?” Bradbury
replies, “Party pills.”

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

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.

When are we going to hear an apology?

When is Radio New Zealand (or any other media) going to give equal time
to those who properly understand the issues?

When are the media going to extend to Bible believing Christians the air
time, print space and credibility that is routinely extended to people
such as these talk show celebrities who sadly knew so little about the
issue they appear to be unqualified and incapable of making any
responsible or authoritative statements on the topic?

Craig Smith

18 Jan 06 – The Repeal of Parental Authority

Every parent, every New Zealander needs to vigorously oppose the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill. This Bill is currently before the Justice and Electoral Select Committee. They have called for Public Submissions to be received by 28 February 2006.

Why is this so important? The Bill’s author, Sue Bradford, promotes this Bill as a measure to stop violence against children. There are already laws against this. So what makes this Bill different? It will outlaw any form of discipline that requires force. It is not a Bill against violence: it is a Bill against parental use of force when they discipline their children. Yes, this Bill will make smacking a criminal assault. But it is far worse than that. It will criminalise any use of force. If you cannot use force, you cannot back up your authority. This Bill will effectively transfer most authority over children from their parents to the state. It will also transfer all legitimate use of force towards children from their parents to the state. This Bill will destroy all real parental authority over their own children. Responsible, hands-on parenting will become a criminal activity. Parenting will be driven underground and have less legal status and protection than prostitution.

Needless to say, if our parental authority is removed, our home discipline and training endeavours will be extremely compromised. And because of the compulsory attendance laws, school teachers will have more authority to use force with our children in their classrooms than we will in our own homes.

This article outlines most but not all of the issues involved. There is a lot more supporting material at www.FamilyIntegrity.org.nz.

The Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill is mostly composed of an Explanatory Note and then simply repeals Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961.

This article will first look at Section 59, then at the Bill, then at what might be called the “Unintended Consequences” of the Bill.

Finally it will refute the several arguments put up in favour of passing this Bill and make some recommendations to the Select Committee.

I. 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. Parents need protection from a charge of assault because of the exceedingly broad definition of assault in 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. Note that physical contact is not needed to commit assault: a gesture interpreted in a certain way will do. If Section 59 is repealed, and a child interpreted a mum putting her finger to her lips as if saying, “If you don’t be quiet, I’m going to come over there and put my hand over your mouth,” then the mum has committed assault against the child.
F. 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 commands and requirements with physical guidance, restraint, manoeuvrings, manipulations, warnings, pinches, taps or smacks as required.
G. 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 of the Crimes Act.
H. Section 59 as worded will flex with the understandings and attitudes prevalent in the society of the day, as represented by the jury.

II. Bradford’s Bill: “Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment 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 Bill’s 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 meant to say, “Abolition of Force as a Method of Child Discipline.” This nonsense right at the beginning of the Bill plus the disastrous side effects it would cause (see Section III following) demonstrate that the Bill was conceived and written in haste and carelessly considered.
B. The first sentence is misleading, for this Bill will criminalize all force, not just that associated with violence and harm.
C. Violence and abuse against children are already illegal. Repeal of S. 59 is therefore unnecessary.
D. 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 not only reduces parental authority with their own children to near zero (see Section I.D-I.F above), it also ignores the unique relationship of responsibility for training and discipline parents are expected to have with their children, an expectation that is not laid on the “everyone else” mentioned in this Note.
E. 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 or culture or religious commitment, withholding privileges, physically restraining, imposing restrictions, time-out, confinement to room, etc.), 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.
F. The Note goes out of its way to warn parents that using force could constitute child assault under Section 194(a): “Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years who assaults any child under the age of 14 years.” 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.
G. 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.
H. 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. Section 59 allows many types of parenting styles and philosophies and methodologies to co-exist. It does not allow for violence, injury or abuse. How so? It says any force used by a parent toward a child must be 1) by way of correction and 2) reasonable in the circumstances. So why do Bradford and co. say S. 59 does allow for violence, injury and abuse? It is because of the particular, minority religious worldview they hold. Virtually any act whereby a parent: 1) exercises his/her authority over his/her child against the child’s will or without asking the child’s permission, or 2) imposes his/her will upon a child against the child’s will or without asking the child’s permission, is to them an act of violence to the child’s will, injury to the child’s sense of self-determination and abuse of the child’s emotional self-esteem.
I. S. 59 is titled, “Domestic Discipline”. Bradford wants to remove discipline/use-of-force from law because her minority philosophy draws a close connection between discipline/use-of-force and violence/injury/abuse.
J. Bradford’s Bill seeks to criminalise parenting styles, philosophies and methodologies that do not agree with hers. This is highly intolerant and an unethical use of Parliamentary power. It is also unacceptable if we are to call ourselves a pluralistic, diversity-celebrating, inclusive society.
K. This Bill will ban smacking, and as such is clearly out of touch with the majority view. 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 www.justice.govt.nz/pubs/reports/2001/children/ex-summary.html.)

III. Effects of Repeal
Here are some of the “unintended consequences” of passing this Bill.

A. Section 59 of the Crimes Act is titled, “Domestic Discipline”. Repeal of S. 59 would remove “Domestic Discipline” from the law. All parents would be legally disallowed, dis-empowered, unauthorised from employing discipline with their children as it of necessity involves the use of force. The whole thrust of Section 59 assumes just this point, that discipline of children requires parents to use force. It is an inescapable, integral part of a parent’s responsibilities in raising children: to discipline, and to use force, to ensure children follow a certain line of behaviour or refrain from a certain line of behaviour. This Bill repealing S. 59 would remove from parents their legal authority to discipline their own children.
B. If parents cannot back up these requirements and prohibitions with force, then their parental directives to their children are reduced to mere suggestions that they hope their children will follow. Prohibiting parents from using force will of necessity remove most of the parents’ authority over their own children. This happens in exactly the same way that prohibiting the use of 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. Parents must have the legal authority to use force, as force is necessary to discipline children, for society could not function where the children entirely ignored their parents.
C. Letter from Craig Smith, National Director of Family Integrity, Palmerston North, 26 July 2005, to Commissioner of Police, Rob Robinson, Wellington: “Dear Mr Robinson, Should Section 59 of the Crimes Act be repealed, what assurances can you give to the parents of New Zealand that they will not be charged with assault under Section 194(a) of the Crimes Act if they subsequently were to smack their child(ren) on the clothed buttocks with an open hand by way of corrective discipline?” Reply from Dr A. Jack, Legal Services, Police Commissioner’s Office, 11 August 2005: “Dear Mr Smith, If Section 59 was repealed in its entirety, parents would not be authorised to use reasonable force by way of correction….However, smacking of a child by way of corrective action would be an assault.” Despite protests from the Bill’s author, Sue Bradford, and Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro, this letter unambiguously confirms that the ancient and nearly universal parental practice of smacking will definitely become a form of assault.
D. Dr Jack further says: “…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.
E. 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.
F. How could parents ensure the following requirements without the use of force if the child refused to obey?

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.

G. How could parents prohibit the following without the use of force if the child was 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.

H. 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 children and their parents with the stress and fear of prosecution and to actually imprison parents for no good reason.
I. Virtually every parent has strong convictions about the need to use force in its many forms (see list in Section II.E above) while engaged in the business of child rearing, convictions borne of religious faith, family traditions, ethnic backgrounds, cultural practices, philosophical commitments, common sense and the like. They are all backed by thousands of years of successful parenting practises that utilise force. This huge sector of society will suddenly have their beliefs and convictions criminalized if Section 59 is repealed, resulting in widespread civil disobedience with some of New Zealand’s most conscientious parents ending up in jail.
J. Parents technically commit assault, as defined in Section 2 of the Crimes Act 1961 (see point I.E above), against their children all the time: i.e., whenever they impose their will upon the child. It happens 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.
K. 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.
L. 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 defense of reasonable force were to be abolished,
smacking definitely would be considered as an assault….and so would many other acts of parenting (see Section III.H above). If the parent’s employment involved work with children as a child minder, youth worker or member of school staff, the charge of child assault would almost certainly lead to the parent losing his or her job.
M. There would be a very real danger that genuinely abused children would not receive the help they need because the authorities would be wasting time with non-dysfunctional families. Such misappropriation of child protection resources would expose abused children to increased risk of harm.
N. If smacking were to be outlawed, some parents may resort to shouting at their children, verbally abusing them, using sarcasm and character assassination, refusing to speak to them or in other ways withdrawing tokens of their love and affection. Such responses, while legal, can be far more emotionally and psychologically damaging.
O. A simple repeal will vastly complicate our law of assault, for assault is easily proved (just look at the legal definition under point I.E above). 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.
P. 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 become acts of assault. These people are advocating that the Police fail to uphold and enforce the law of the land.
Q. Some of the institutions supporting the Bill to repeal Section 59, Barnardos, Plunket, Children’s Commissioner and Families Commissioner, are seen as shortsighted and even as anti-family since they are, either knowingly or unknowingly, supporting these harmful unintended consequences.
R. These institutions are also seen as 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 of increased suspicion against them.

IV. Refuting the Repeal Lobby’s Arguments: UNCROC

A. (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. It 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.

1. 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’’
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. UNCROC Article 6(1): States Parties recognise that every child has the inherent right to life.
5. UNCROC Article 6(2): States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.
6. 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.

V. Refuting the 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. This Bill to repeal Section 59 assumes that judges and juries are too thick to weigh up all these circumstances properly and that they are unable to distinguish between “reasonable” force used “by way of correction” on the one hand and unacceptable violence against children on the other. It is Sue Bradford and other backers of the Bill saying the judges and the members of the juries, their peers, should not be trusted to tell the difference. This is how elitists show their arrogance. This is how they force their minority opinion upon all who disagree with them, ironically eliminating rather than celebrating the “diversity” they are normally fond of promoting. It begins to look like “diversity” means make room for their minority ideas while getting rid of establishment ideas they don’t agree with.
C. 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.” (http://www.cyf.govt.nz/1816.htm on 19 August 2005). How many times a year, out of these 25,000, is Section 59 brought up?
D. 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 averages a mere 1.4 cases a year. Therefore, of the 1,415 reported cases of child abuse/assault Statistics NZ recorded for 2004, we can expect S. 59 to be used as a defence in a miniscule 0.1% of the cases! And lawyer Hancock’s report shows more than half of that tiny number were found guilty. S. 59 obviously provides no hiding place! Read Hancock’s full report HERE

VI. Refuting the 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). Yet the pro-repeal lobby illogically insists the causal link is there. They appear to have a doctrinaire commitment to this article of faith whether there is any research evidence supporting it or not.
C. According to Derek Rogusky, director of research for Focus on the Family Canada, many studies lump abuse and disciplinary smacking together. However, the studies done that differentiate between abuse and smacking show children who are occasionally spanked, in a loving and caring environment with other forms of discipline also used, are very well adjusted.”
(See http://www.christianity.ca/family/parenting/2003/08.001.html)
C. 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 http://people.biola.edu/faculty/paulp/.)

VII. Refuting the 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 or use force on 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 cases where 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, relationship or authority to do so. This authority resides in nurses, rest home employees and parents. Bradford’s Bill removes this authority from parents.

VIII. Refuting the 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 thoroughly documented. In July, 2000, a joint statement was made to the US Congress by the AMA, the APA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. What they said was: “Well over 1,000 studies point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children.” The following websites are a mere sampling of the research:

a. www.lionlamb.org/research.html
b. www.killology.com/stanfordstudy.html
c. www.apa.org/releases/videoviolence05 .html
d. http://health.myway.com/art/id/527504 .html
e. http://jrc.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/42/1/3 .pdf

IX. Refuting the Arguments: Nowhere Else Does the Law Allow One Group of People to Be Assaulted by Another

A. Sections 72, 73 & 75 of the Child Protection Act 2004 specifically give authority to use force to Social Workers when removing a child from a family. Social Workers have gained the use of force against children and parents, while this Bill proposes to take the use of force towards their children away from parents.
B. A very cursory read through parts of the Crimes Act 1961 turned up many instances where the law gives Joe Bloggs in the street legal justification for using reasonable force – force that would otherwise be considered assault – against another in certain circumstances….exactly as Section 59 does. Try reading Sections 39, 41, 42, 43, 46, 48, 52, 53, 55, 56, 58 and 60. Examples: Section 60 is reproduced earlier in this document. Section 42 says:
42. Preventing breach of the peace—
(1) Every one who witnesses a breach of the peace is justified in interfering to prevent its continuance or renewal, and may detain any person committing it, in order to give him into the custody of a constable, provided that the person interfering shall use no more force than is reasonably necessary for preventing the continuance or renewal of the breach of the peace, or than is reasonably proportionate to the danger to be apprehended from its continuance or renewal.

X. The Most Accurate Predictor of Child Abuse Is “Family” or Household Structure
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 http://www.heritage.org/Research/Features/Marriage/index.cfm. Also Greg Fleming, Managing Director of the Maxim Institute, New Zealand Herald, 25 June 2002, ‘Parents need secure option before giving up smacking.’)

XI. By What Standard?
By what standard does NZ Parliament make any law? It is probably the defining issue, the most basic of all: Who will rule over us? The law of God or the law of man? Did you realise that Members of Parliament are bound to uphold the Biblical Christian world-view of law (including child discipline)? This is true for the following reasons:

1. Romans 13 in the Bible requires our civil government to punish evil doers and reward those who do good. Parents using force responsibly is good, but it will become a crime if this Bill is passed.

2. 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.”

3. Allegiance to the Queen involves the oaths she made at her Coronation: “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?”

4.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.”

XII. Conclusion

A. The Ministry of Social Development should direct the Police and CYFs to start keeping statistics on the household structure in cases of child abuse.
B. Vote the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill down as unworkable and as ushering in too many very damaging unintended consequences. Do not allow it to proceed.
C. Leave Section 59 intact just 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.

Action Station

Write a submission to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee of Parliament telling them that you oppose the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill (see lead article, top of page). It can be very short giving only one reason (i.e., it will too greatly compromise parental authority with their own children) plus one recommendation (leave Section 59 intact, just as is).

Send 20 copies addressed to:

Justice and Electoral Select Committee
Parliament Buildings
WELLINGTON

to arrive by 28 February 2006. Further guidelines on submission writing at: http://tinyurl.com/46u2e.

Special Submission Toolkit at: http://Section59.org

Get everyone your know aged 18 and over to write a submission. We’ll write one for you, if you’ll indicate the number of the point from the article this page you’d like to make, and we’ll send it to you to sign.

This matter is far too important to ignore. The integrity of every New Zealand family is at stake: the question is, do you want the government running your family?

14 Jan 06 – Newman Weekly – The Smacking Debate

Dr. Muriel Newman

The Smacking Debate
Should parents who smack their children be made into criminals in the eyes of the law, as those who support the repeal of section 59 of the Crimes Act are proposing? What is your view?

Last week the Body Shop announced that stores throughout the country would be encouraging customers to sign a petition to Parliament supporting the Green Party’s bill to abolish section 59 of the Crimes Act (click here to view the bill).

I feel sorry for The Body Shop. They, along with dozens of other organisations – including Plunket, Barnardos, Playcentre, UNICEF and Presbyterian Support, (click here to view the full list) – that purport to support families and children, have allowed themselves to be used by a radical socialist party to bring legitimacy to a move that will undermine Kiwi families and criminalise parents.

Let’s make no mistake. The New Zealand Greens are socialists ahead of environmentalists, and like other socialists parties, appear to have little respect for the traditional family unit. Under the guise of reducing child abuse, they plan to abolish section 59 of the Crimes Act, to replace parental discipline with state control. This move will disempower parents and marginalise the independent, private functioning of families.

Raising children – using traditional methods of discipline when necessary – has withstood the test of time. There is no evidence to show that such children have grown up to be anything but normal, balanced, healthy, contributing members of society (click here to read a Berkeley University study on this). Whereas hostile youths, who have not been adequately disciplined or socialised, have long been the scourge of any community.

There is no argument, that as a society we should have zero tolerance to child abuse. In fact, the 1961 Crimes Act (click
here to view) is quite clear in that intention: section 194 states that anyone assaulting a child is liable for up to 2 years in prison, and section 195, that anyone being cruel to a child by wilfully neglecting, ill-treating, or causing them unnecessary suffering, actual bodily harm, injury to health, or any mental disorder or disability, is subject to up to 5 years imprisonment.

But while it is clear that the intent of the law is to ensure that anyone who abuses a child is severely punished, it is also clear that in order to protect parents using normal discipline for correction purposes, from claims that they are abusing children and should be locked up, section 59 was introduced.

Section 59 states that every parent or guardian of a child is justified in using force by way of correction towards the child, if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances. In repealing section 59, the Green Party and all of the organizations that are supporting their misguided campaign, will expose parents to the common law definition of assault.

According to the law, assault means the act of applying, attempting to apply, or threatening to apply force, either directly or indirectly, by action or gesture, in such a way that it causes the other person to believe – on reasonable grounds – that the force will be applied. In other words, it is not just an act of force that can lead to a charge of assault, but a verbal threat or gesture can also initiate such a charge as well.

If section 59 is removed, any touching of a child for disciplinary or correction purposes could be interpreted as assault, and if a complaint is laid, the Police, or Child, Youth and Family, will be required to investigate.

That is what is so objectionable about this whole campaign – this law change will expose New Zealand parents correcting their children and carrying out conventional, time-honoured disciplinary practices, to criminal prosecution. It will do almost nothing to stop child abuse.

In fact, according to Hansard, the only examples given of the excessive use of force by the promoter of the Bill, were two high profile cases where charges against the parents had been laid and the decisions on whether assaults had taken place were, quite appropriately, decided by jury (see the attached news item for
details).

A British study “Broken Homes and Battered Children” by Robert Whelan, carried out in 1994, shed light on the real causes of child abuse. The study found that the incidence of child abuse is 20 times higher for children living with their cohabiting parents and 33 times higher among children living with their mother and her boyfriend compared to children living with their biological, married parents. With child deaths, the situation is even worse – children living in households in which the child’s biological mother is cohabiting with someone who is unrelated to the child were 73 times more likely to be killed than those living in a traditional, intact, married family.

With child abuse predominantly occurring in single parent families reliant on welfare in New Zealand – Maori children now being the most at-risk group in our society – the Green Party and all of those organisations that claim they want to reduce child abuse, should support a national campaign to reform welfare. The campaign would need to prioritise a reduction in the reliance on the Domestic Purposes Benefit, and it should also promote the traditional married biological family as society’s safest child-rearing institution.

Yet, after a decade of calling for welfare reform, I have noticed only limited support for such a campaign from organisations that purport to care. Perhaps those that receive government funding are fearful of speaking out in case their money supply is cut and they are blacklisted, or perhaps it is simply too PC to talk about traditional values any more.

The problem these organisations face is that by condoning the Green Party’s anti-family campaign, they are already damaging their credibility, not only in the eyes of mainstream New Zealand, but in their own hearts as well.

This week’s poll asks whether you support the abolition of section 59 of the Crimes Act, and for those interested in taking action to prevent the Bill passing into law, it provides a plan of action.

Check out the NZCPD Forum – click here
Send in a contribution for the Summer Soapbox Series – click here

Newman Weekly is a weekly article by Dr Muriel Newman of the New Zealand Centre for Political Debate, a web-based forum at www.nzcpd.com for the lively and dynamic exchange of political ideas. Muriel can be contacted by phone on 021-800-111, by email on muriel@nzcpd.com or by post at PO Box 984 Whangarei.

To become a member of the NZCPD and have free access to the new NZCPD Forum, click here. If you would like to unsubscribe, please reply to this newsletter with “unsubscribe” in the subject line.

14 June 2004 – 12 December 2005

12 Dec 2005 Press Release – Prostitution Favoured…

Press Release
For Immediate Publication

Prostitution Favoured
Over Parenting

The Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline)
Amendment Bill currently before Parliament simply seeks to repeal
Section 59 of the Crimes Act. Section 59 is titled, “Domestic
Discipline” and says:

59.Domestic discipline-
(1)Every parent of a child and…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.

Section 59 is bracketed with Section 60 in their own little category
with the title: “Powers of Discipline”.

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.

Sections 59 & 60 recognise 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.
Repealing Section 59 will remove this authority from parents, but not
from pilots or captains.

This Bill is blatantly anti-parent. Not long ago, one of the most
degrading activities in society, prostitution, was made completely legal
in New Zealand. If this Bill is passed, however, the noble art of
parenting will be driven underground, making hands-on, pro-active
parenting a criminal activity. Parenting in New Zealand will have less
status and less protection in law than prostitution.

For more information or an interview, contact:

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

14 September 2005 – Press release – The Plans to Ban Parenting

The Plans to Ban Parenting.

The Bill by the Green’s Sue Bradford to repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act is emphatically NOT about smacking.

It is about repealing parental authority.

We must understand this. The Police Commissioner has already written to me saying a smack would become an assault, worth as much as two years in jail, if Section 59 is repealed. But he also wrote: “If Section 59 was repealed in its entirety, parents would not be authorised to use reasonable force by way of correction.” Parents would lose the legal authority to use force to correct their own children. What this means is that if Section 59 is ever repealed, parents could well be committing assault against their own children if they force them to conform to family and cultural requirements. Or if they force them to stop doing those things the family or the culture prohibit.

I wrote to the Police Commissioner again to ask, should Section 59 be repealed, if he could “assure the parents of New Zealand that they will not be charged with assault should they subsequently require a child, against the child’s will, to be confined to a room for three minutes as an enforced period of ‘time out’?”

He responded: “I am not in a position to give you definitive advice about whether or not Police would prosecute in the circumstances you described.”

If the Police Commissioner himself can give us no assurance that even “time out” will not constitute assault, then clearly parents will be constantly exposed to being charged with criminal assault for simply going about their normal parenting tasks.

But in fact, this has been Bradford’s design all along. She says in the explanatory notes of the bill itself: “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.” It is Sue Bradford’s stated intention to reduce the authority parents have over their own children down to that of total strangers!

This bill is without doubt the most destructive instrument the government has ever considered using against the parents of New Zealand. Parents will be almost totally disempowered.

Bradford and the Greens have promoted prostitution. Now they want to prohibit parenting. They are unfit to be in Parliament, let alone to govern.

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

22 August 2005 The New Zealand Herald – Smacking would be an assault, say police

Smacking would be assault, say police

22.08.05

By Ainsley Thomson

A parent who smacks a child could be charged with assault if the legal defence of “reasonable force” is removed, the Office of the Police Commissioner says.

In a letter sent to a parents’ group, the legal section of the office said that if section 59 of the Crimes Act – which gives parents the legal defence of reasonable force – was repealed, parents would not be able to legally smack their children as a form of discipline.

Green MP Sue Bradford’s bill to repeal section 59 is before a select committee after passing its first reading in Parliament.

The police letter said it would still be legal for parents to use force to prevent harm to their children – for example, restraining a child from running out on to a busy road.

“However, smacking a child by way of corrective action would be an assault,” said the letter, written to the Family Integrity group.

National Party families’ spokeswoman Judith Collins said the advice from the police was contrary to what the Prime Minister, Labour and the Greens had been saying to the public about the effect of repealing section 59.

“Now that the police have admitted that smacking a child would be an assault, potential coalition partners Labour and the Greens need to be upfront and tell people the truth – a Labour-Greens coalition would make criminals out of good parents.”

The police letter said that – as with all assault investigations – the police would consider the amount of force used and the circumstances before making a decision about whether a prosecution was required in the public interest.

“An aggravating factor in any such decision may be the fact that a child is generally more vulnerable than an adult,” the letter said.

Sue Bradford said that police message was what she had been trying to convey at meetings around the country.

“To me it actually proves the sanity of what I am trying to do because the police response is exactly what the people who are supporting the repeal are saying.”

Ms Bradford said that if the section was repealed police would make a judgment about whether to prosecute a person in relation to the circumstances – just as they do now with assault cases involving adults.

Ms Collins said National believed the focus should be on stopping child abusers, not on “criminalising good parents trying to bring up their children”.

13 August 2005 Press Release – Somebody has been telling lies

Dear Friends,

Somebody has been telling lies. We’ve all heard it said that repealing Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 won’t make criminals out of that vast majority of loving parents who do occasionally give wee Johnny an open-handed smack on the backside. Next time you hear it said, take note, for that person is either intentionally or ignorantly telling lies.

I received this morning a letter from the office of the Commissioner of Police. It was in reply to this letter I sent to him:

26 July 2005

Rob Robinson
Commissioner of Police
PO Box 3017
Wellington

Dear Mr Robinson,

Should Section 59 of the Crimes Act be repealed, what assurances can you
give to the parents of New Zealand that they will not be charged with
assault under Section 194(a) of the Crimes Act if they subsequently were
to smack their child(ren) on the clothed buttocks with an open hand by
way of corrective discipline?

Yours faithfully,

Craig S. Smith
National Director

Here is the reply is from Dr A. Jack, Legal Services, Office of the
Commissioner of Police. The letter is on Police letterhead and says:

11 August 2005

Mr Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity
PO Box 9064
Palmerston North

Dear Mr Smith,

On behalf of the Commissioner I am writing in reply to your letter of 26
July 2005 concerning Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961.

As you will be aware, section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 authorises
parents to use force by way of correction towards their children, if the
force used is reasonable in the circumstances. If section 59 was
repealed in its entirety parents would not be authorised to use
reasonable force by way of correction. Having said this, I am advised
that parents would still be authorised to use force to prevent harm to
their children. For example, if a parent stopped their child from
running out onto a busy road or stopped their child from climbing over a
balcony on a building.

However, smacking of a child by way of corrective action would be an
assault. I am advised that the Police in investigating such cases, as is
the case with all assault investigations, would consider the amount of
force used in the circumstances before making a decision about whether a
prosecution is required in the public interest. An aggravating factor in
any such decision may be the fact that a child is generally more
vulnerable than an adult.

I trust this matter clarifies this matter for you.

Yours sincerely,
A Jack (Dr)
NM – Legal Services
Office of the Commissioner

The Police Commissioner’s Office has clearly stated that smacking definitely will be considered an assault should S.59 be repealed. Assault is very easy to commit, for Section 2 of the Crimes Act defines it 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.”

And Section 194(a) of the Crimes Act says such assault against a child under the age of 14 carries a maximum penalty of 2 years in jail.

Sue Bradford’s Bill to repeal Section 59 is the most destructive anti-parent piece of legislation we’ve ever seen. It destroys each family’s integrity by effectively placing Sue Bradford in the lounge of every home to enforce her minority view of child discipline onto every one else. It will make many of New Zealand’s best parents into criminals. It will cause all parents to live in constant fear, as none would any longer “be authorised to use reasonable force by way of correction”, according to this letter from the Police, and such parents may be charged with assault if they do. This goes way beyond banning smacking: “time-out” and “grounding” and many other parental tools will become just as illegal and open to the charge of assault if they are ever used to force the parent’s will upon the child.

This Bill needs to be dumped as soon as possible.

Regards,
Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

27 July 2005 – Dishonesty in Anti-Smacking Brigade

THE SOCIETY FOR THE PROMOTION OF COMMUNITY STANDARDS INC.

P.O. Box 13-683 Johnsonville www.spcs.org.nz spcs.org@gmail.com

Tel. 04-9701067

Press Release 27 July 2005

Dishonesty in Anti-Smacking Brigade

Press Release 27 July 2005
Dishonesty in Anti-Smacking Brigade

Society President Mike Petrus describes Children’s Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro’s position, as reported (Dominion Post 27 July), that the repeal of s. 59 of the Crimes Act “would mean one group in society could no longer be legally assaulted,” as downright dishonest.

Section 59 states: “Every parent of a child and every person in the place of a 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.”

Mr Petrus says there is nothing in our law that gives a right to “one group in society”, namely parents or caregivers, to legally assault any other group, including their children, or children under their care, as Dr Kiro claims. Nor is there a law that allows for or condones children or any other group being assaulted by any other group. Ms Kiro deliberately misrepresents the law, conflates the act of “assault” with that of “reasonable use of force” in the context of discipline and is using her publicly funded statutory position to mislead the public.

Section 59 does allow for a legal defence, albeit one rarely used, in those situations when charges are brought against a parent or caregiver for assaulting their child and the defendant asserts that the force used constituted “reasonable force” in “circumstances” such as those involving parental discipline. It is not a provision in law that legalises parents or caregivers to actually “assault” children. Its intention is to safeguard the rights of parents and caregivers against a charge of “assault” in those rare cases, when the facts of the case can be established to the satisfaction of a 12 member jury that the force applied was appropriate in the circumstances and did NOT constitute assault.

Dr Kiro who has teamed up with the Plunket in her public support of Green MP Sue Bradford’s private members bill that seeks to repeal s. 59, claims that it is not about criminalising ordinary parents. It will simply remove a legal defence that is used when parents seriously assault their children – a defence that is not available in situations of assault against adults, animals or any other group in our society.

However, the Bill’s supporters are absolutely wrong to suggest that s. 59 was put into the Crimes Act so that parents or caregivers who seriously assault their children can take refuge in this provision to give legal support to their criminal actions against children. On the contrary it is there so that serious allegations of assault against parents and caregivers are dealt with in the proper context of the adult-child relationship that may justify a “reasonable” use of “force” in “circumstances” involving for example parental correction and discipline.

S. 59 parallels the provision in law under s. 60 that allows for “the use of force” for specific purposes by aircraft and ship masters or officers against members of the public, including children.

Section 60 says: “Discipline on ship or aircraft –
The master or officer in command of a ship… or the pilot in command of an aircraft… is justified in using and ordering the use of force for the purpose of maintaining good order and discipline… if he believes on reasonable grounds that the use of force is necessary, and if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances.”

NZ Law recognises that Parents, Pilots and Masters need to have the authority and powers of discipline to properly care for their charges, be they children or passengers. The “Repeal Section 59 lobby” wants to remove this authority only from the parents, not from pilots and masters. The repeal lobby appears not to trust parents to come to the same narrow conclusions they hold: that no force at all should be applied to children. Lobby leaders like Sue Bradford MP are quite clear as to their long-term social-engineering goals: they want smacking and all forms of physical discipline abandoned by ALL parents and caregivers, even if it means legislating against it.

A Survey reported on in the Dominion carried out by The Littlies Lobby in conjunction with the Childrens Commission, is headlined as providing support for the end of smacking. “Survey supports end to smacking … Child advocates say the findings suggest support for a law change is increasing”.

“This is nonsense,” says Mike Petrus. “The study only had one question in it that related to smacking and had nothing to do with the repeal of s. 59. The finding only shows that 71% of the 1367 readers of “The Tots to Teens” magazine who took part in the survey believed that “smacking when they [children] do things wrong” was the least effective way to guide children to behave well. However, this question failed to differentiate between the nature and level of seriousness of the wrongdoing and the commensurate use of smacking as one discipline tool used. Many opponents to the repeal of s. 59 who use smacking sparingly for certain types of “wrongdoing”, would probably agree with the statement that smacking as a discipline measure to deal with ALL or MOST wrongdoing is the least effective way to guide children to behave well. The survey question is flawed as are the so-called findings drawn from the survey by Dr Kiro and the Plunket officials,” Petrus said.

Plunket president Kaye Crowther is quoted in the Dominion Post as saying: “We’re not talking about smacking. We’re talking about belting and hitting children with implements. In recent times I am aware of at least two cases where [Section 59] has been used as a defence where the child had been really abused.”

“When challenged to identify these two cases by our Society secretary who phoned her today,” said Petrus, “she cited the recent case of the Palmerston (south Omaru) woman who Sue Bradford described on the recent national television programme (“Eye to Eye”) has having assaulted her son using a horse whip. The Timaru woman’s lawyer defended the mother’s actions under s. 59 of the Crimes Act. Crowther also cited the recent case of a father who used a 4 by 2 wooden plank to ‘discipline’”.

“Both cases are inadmissible as evidence in support of Sue Bradford’s repeal bill,” says Petrus. “The Timaru woman was acquitted by the jury and the facts of the case when presented without the negative self-serving media spin, established that she had used reasonable force in the context of disciplining her son. Mrs Crowther may disagree with the opinion of 12 jurors, but she has no right to tour the country spreading malicious lies that the boy “had been really abused”. Those who stand trial in our country for child abuse and who are subsequently acquitted of charges against them, by a jury, should not be derided as “child abusers” in the media by either a Plunket president, an MP or a Commissioner of Children,” Petrus said.

The case involving the timber plank resulted in the father being convicted of assault. His lawyer was entitled to seek to use s. 59 as a defence but the facts convinced the jury that real assault rather than discipline by means of reasonable force, had in fact taken place. The use of s. 59 as a line of defence is very rare. In this case its use by the defence lawyer was tantamount to clutching at straws.

S. 59 does not need to be repealed on the basis that the lawyers of a few callous child abusers have tried to appeal to it to defend their clients. Considering the very rare situations where some may seek to use it contrary to its clearly defined intentions never makes good law. Repealing s. 59 in order to supposedly close the claimed ‘escape route’ it offers real child abusers, can be compared to trying to crack open a walnut using a sledgehammer. The effect of any repeal would be to disempower parents from all modes of discipline using reasonable force (e.g. smacking) as parents would be open to charges of criminal action for all uses of force. This is an abrogation of the rights of parents to discipline their children, for whose actions they are accountable under law. If Section 59 is ever repealed, any show of force with our
children becomes illegal, an act of criminal assault according to
Section 194(a) of the Crimes Act

The anti-smacking brigade is intent on imposing their narrow view of the options of discipline that should be open to parents, upon others who believe smacking has a place in disciplining children.

Sue Bradford claims that her bill removes the legal defence for a parent to physically assault their child and ‘reasons’ that just like adults and pets, children should be protected against assault. Interestingly she advocates a culture of violence by her continued strong support for the abortion industry. During the term of the present Labour government 100,000 defenceless innocent unborn human beings have been murdered by abortionists, aided and abetted by government (financially and in law).

Children are already protected against assault. The task of government agencies is to promptly bring real child abusers to justice and punish them, educate parents and caregivers about how to effectively discipline and nurture their children, and avoid interfering in the lives of good parents who choose to apply physical discipline where required. “Yes, there are many positive parenting strategies for disciplining children aside from smacking. However, these can go hand-in-hand with physical discipline where appropriate,” says Society president Mike Petrus.

26 July 2005 – Press Release – Authority Removed

Press Release – 26 July 2005
For Immediate Publication

Authority Removed

To ban smacking, the anti-smacking lobby wants to see parents
dispossessed of any legal authority to use any force at all with their
children. This is the aim of Sue Bradford’s Amendment Bill asking to
repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act. She says so herself in the
explanatory note of the Bill: “The effect of this amendment is that the statutory protection for use of force by parents and guardians will be removed.”

Denied the use of any kind of force, smacking being only one of many
kinds, parents would be reduced to bribery and coaxing, to trying to
reason with a child too immature to reason, and to all kinds of
manipulation: verbal, psychological and emotional. This last can even
become emotional blackmail, the worst of all, denying what they should
never deny, their love and attention, in order to get the children to do as they should. This and a lot more are explained at
www.FamilyIntegrity.org.nz.

The Bill to ban smacking is way over the top. It takes too much
authority away from the parents. Just like the police, a city council
and the IRD, without the use of force to back up your authority, you end up having no authority.

Submitted by: and for interviews contact:

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

25 July 2005 Press Release – Send a Message

For Immediate Publication
25 July 2005

Send a Message

Those wanting to ban the institution of smacking as a parenting tool are fond of saying we need to send a message to society saying that child violence and abuse will not be tolerated.

Of course child violence and abuse should not be tolerated, ever. Yet why does society tolerate the level of bullying that goes on in schools? Send the bullies a message: charge them with assault. Send Chief Film Censor Bill Hastings a message terminating his contract for failing to guard NZ from the gratuitous, gory and sexualized violence he routinely passes for viewing. Send the TV programmers, the video and DVD importers a message that they’ll need to take their violent shows and games elsewhere. Sack the Abortion Supervisory Committee and send the consulting physicians to jail for allowing the illegal abortion-on-demand situation in New Zealand to expand unchecked every year. The damage and death caused by these things is well documented (see www.FamilyIntegrity.org.nz).

Repealing Section 59 of the Crimes Act will do a lot more than send a message about banning smacking: it will in fact strip parents of their authority to parent effectively. Trying to ban smacking is going for the wrong target: the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders apparently see smacking as a valid, useful and effective tool for training and discipline: 80% do not agree with a ban on smacking, according to a poll done for the Justice Department in 2001 (see www.justice.govt.nz/pubs/reports/2001/children/ex-summary.html)
Target those who practice the violence that is already roundly condemned, yet continues unchecked: bullying, over-the-top TV violence and the illegal abortions on demand in this country.

Submitted by:
Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

23 July 2005 Press Release – Outlaw Parenting

Press Release
For Immediate Publication

Outlaw Parenting

Sue Bradford’s Bill to ban smacking says in the Explanatory Note:

“The effect of this amendment [repealing Section 59 of the Crimes Act]
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.”

She would see parents exercise the same amount of authority to
discipline their own children than total strangers normally have: none.

The Bill to repeal Section 59 will not just ban smacking: it will ban
any and all use of force (see www.FamilyIntegrity.org.nz). It will mean that effective parenting is basically outlawed.

Submitted by:
Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

21 July 2005 Press Release – Massive Damage in Wake of Bill

Sue Bradford’s Bill to repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act is poorly thought out. That is clear from reading the title: “Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill.” It says that “force” is a justification for child discipline. Force may be a method of discipline, but it defies logic how force could justify discipline. The title is a non-sense.

But worse is to come. This Bill will cause more damage to the integrity of New Zealand’s families than anything this country has seen in a long time. It purports to reduce violence to children. It will in fact increase violence toward children and toward their families. Read up on the many issues at www.FamilyIntegrity.org.nz.

Parenting is a monumental task. To properly express parental care, love, responsibility and authority requires all kinds of force, force that is expressed in many different ways and methods. Smacking is only one such force. It is used to correct manifestations of rebellion in children such as the four Ds: Disobedience, Disrespect, Dishonesty and Destructiveness. Other kinds of force are used when a parent dresses a child, tells them to come in out of the rain, makes them eat their veggies and then brush their teeth, to go to school, to come to church, to show up at piano lessons, to go to bed now or else, to be sure NOT to watch that certain video while visiting at Jimmy’s place up the road, etc., etc. Sometimes the force is physical, sometimes it is a verbal warning, sometimes it is the imposition of the parent’s will on that of the child, sometimes it is an appeal to a family habit or tradition. It is the parent’s duty to guide and control and often to do for the child what the parent knows is best even though the child strenuously objects.

At any time an onlooker who held to a philosophy of child autonomy could decide that none of these things was right to impose on a child without the child’s expressed desire that they happen, and then go complain to the authorities. At any time the child could decide he didn’t want to go along with the parent’s wishes/commands, and then go complain to the authorities. Since the legal justification for using force of any kind is removed by the repeal of Section 59, such complaints would have to be taken dead seriously. With Section 59 out of the way, just as Bradford points out in the Bill’s introduction, “the use of force on a child may constitute an assault under section 194(a) of the Crimes Act.” That is the use of any force, not just smacking.

This Bill goes way over the top. It criminalises most acts of parenting. In fact, parents could be charged with criminal neglect under Section 152 if they did not force their children to go to bed regularly or eat well or dress properly. It will cause parents to live in constant fear of being charged with either abuse or neglect. Like the Bill’s title, the rest of it is a non-sense.

Submitted by:
Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

June 2005 – A Bill to Abolish Parents’ Authority Over Their Own Children

The “Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill” simply asks for the repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act. This Section 59 is very simple. It says:

Domestic discipline —
Every parent of a child and…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.

If this is repealed, it means parents will no longer be legally justified in using any force towards their children for any reason.

Section 2. Interpretation —
“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.

Note in Section 2 that actual physical contact is not necessary to commit assault. Jim only needs to intimidate Fred into thinking Jim is going to make Fred do Jim’s will. As soon as Fred believes Jim is serious and further believes that Jim can actually make Fred do it, Jim is guilty of assault against Fred.

Just think of the chaos that would descend on a household if junior got a snitch against mum and refused to do anything she said. Mum could not make junior do anything at all, for that would involve forcing her will on junior; she could not threaten him with any restriction of privileges, for that too would involve force.

We can all immediately see that parents use force with their children all the time! It is inseparable from their parental authority in directing the upbringing, training and behaviour of their children. Virtually every parent in the country, including Sue Bradford, would surely agree that this everyday use of force with our children is absolutely necessary, because without force to back up your authority, you have no authority.

This use of such everyday parental force is practised and understood by almost everyone. It is not of necessity violent or abusive, neither would any sane person define this kind of force as always being violent or abusive in nature. However, this kind of force is most definitely defined as assault according to Section 2 of the Crimes Act. According to the Act, criminal assault does not have to be either violent or abusive….it only requires that one person be convinced it is about to happen to him.

And right there is the problem: as soon as you repeal Section 59, all parents would be constantly open to charges of assault against their children for using force of any description, reasonable or unreasonable. Without Section 59 in place, no force used toward a child is justified in law. Parental authority, like any other authority, must be backed up by force, or it is no authority at all. Repeal Section 59, and parental authority over their own children evaporates immediately.

Section 59 Justifies Parents in Carrying Out Their
Parental Responsibilities

However, with Section 59 in place as it is, parents are legally justified in using this kind of necessary force to correct their children. Section 59 protects us parents from malicious charges of assault from busybodies, trouble-makers and those who would victimise us because we irk them. Maybe our house is too nice. Maybe it is too messy for them. Perhaps we have too many children, or we home educate, or we have certain religious views. Or maybe we are Sue Bradford’s idea of the worst parents of all: those who smack children when necessary. Section 59 says we parents are justified in forcing our children to get out of the busy road, to not touch that hot element, to get dressed, make their beds, finish their veggies, brush their teeth, do their lessons, show proper respect to people and property, obey proper authorities, speak the truth, etc. These are all expressions of “correction”, the one motivation for parental use of force which Section 59 justifies.

It was said earlier that Section 59 helps to define violent and abusive assault against a child. It does so by requiring two considerations to be present when parents use this force: 1) the force used must be reasonable in the circumstances, and 2) the force must be used by way of correction.

This is a beautiful piece of legislation. It recognises that parents have a unique responsibility toward their children in correcting their actions, words, attitudes and behaviours; that is, in training them in the social graces. Force used against children for other reasons: to humiliate, to punish, to release anger and frustration, to save face and to get back at the child, are all clearly unjustifiable. A parent found to be using force against a child for any of these reasons is already in big trouble. Section 59 also recognises that the circumstances surrounding the use of the force – the family culture and ethnicity, their religious beliefs, the relative sizes and power and fitness of the child and of the parent, the attitudes displayed by both child and parent, the track records of both the child’s behaviour and the parents’ efforts at correction, the gravity of the event that triggered the use of force, the duration and intensity of the force used, where and how it was used, any previous involvement by state agencies, and even the downstream consequences for the relationship between the child and his parents, the implications for the parents’ employment and overseas travel, the implications for the child’s and the parents’ social standing and living situations – all of these things are incredibly varied and can point to worse outcomes from a guilty verdict for the child than the original smack.

This Bill to repeal Section 59 assumes that judges and juries are too thick to weigh up all these circumstances properly and that they are unable to distinguish between “reasonable” force used “by way of correction” on the one hand and unacceptable violence against children on the other. It is Sue Bradford and other backers of the Bill saying the judges and the members of the juries, their peers, should not be trusted to tell the difference. This is how elitists show their arrogance.

Who Would You Rather Trust: A Jury of 12 with Time
to Deliberate
or a Single Policeman in the Heat of the Moment?

What they propose, if Section 59 were ever repealed, is that police officers would be able to make a right judgement on the spot. Some nosey neighbour or angry and irresponsible child, after being sent to his room with a smack to the bottom, has rung the police, who now, in the heat of the moment, have to charge the parents or let them off. Since no force at all is justified legally if Section 59 is repealed, the conscientious cop will arrest the parent now and worry about it later.

Something else comes into focus when one looks more closely at the Crimes Act. Section 59 is separated along with Section 60 in their own little sub-category titled, “Powers of Discipline”. Read Section 60:

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.

One could be forgiven for thinking that those pushing for repeal of Section 59 are simply committed pacifists who abhor the use of any kind of force. In that case it would be this tiny minority trying to force their particular view of the matter onto the rest of us using the force of the Parliamentary process, which itself it backed up by the Police Force, the courts, prisons, etc…..an action which does seem somewhat at odds with itself. But since Section 60 justifies the use of much greater force against adults by quite a wide range of other adults, i.e., “Every one acting in good faith, etc.,” one wonders if there is a more sinister agenda attached to the repeal lobbyists.

Otago University lecturer in law Rex Ahdar and colleague James Allan, in a 2001 article in the New Zealand Law Review titled, “Taking Smacking Seriously”, make much of the heavy paternalism among the repeal lobby, saying this lobby group certainly cannot justify acting as if they know what is best for everyone else’s children and attempting to use the force of law to impose their narrow view on everybody else. They also indicate that ideology directs the repeal lobby’s thinking. Others have said the same. American researcher Dr Robert Larzelere said of Canadian researcher Dr Joan Durrant, “Durrant and I used the identical data source to arrive at nearly opposite conclusions.”1

Repeal Is
Ideologically Driven

It is the unique position of parents having the responsibility to train, discipline and correct their children over many years and the authority to back up their efforts with reasonable force that is under attack, not the use of force itself. The repeal lobby never mention Section 60, even though the force being justified there is arguably a lot greater. Section 60 also justifies total strangers using such force against others who have no relation to them at all, as long as they act “in good faith”. The repeal lobby, those who would ban smacking by parents, Sue Bradford and her supporters, are totally illogical and inconsistent about this….unless they don’t trust parents the way they don’t trust judges or juries. Perhaps they also consider parents to be incapable of determining reasonable force with their own children. Perhaps their aim is to remove any real authority from parents by removing their legal right to back up their authority with reasonable force.

Imagine the police or the city council or the IRD being unable to back up their authority, that is, enforce their statements, with the use of force. They would have no real authority at all, for without the power to force compliance, people would only consider their statements as optional suggestions. If parents have no justification in law to back up their authority with the use of any force at all (which would be the case if Section 59 were repealed), children would soon learn that they could ignore whatever their parents said. They would also soon learn – from schoolmates and teachers and Politically Correct units in the state school curriculum – that they could get the police to descend on their parents should they ever make – or even try to make – the children do anything against their wills.

Parenting and the role of parents in training and correcting and disciplining their children would be eliminated from New Zealand if Section 59 were repealed. Parents would be reduced to baby-sitters, manipulated by their undisciplined children, frozen into impotency by the very real fear of an assault charge.

Oppose all measures to repeal Section 59. The future of our families depends upon it.

Note:
1.Larzelere, Robert E., Child Abuse in Sweden

2. http://people.biola.edu/faculty/paulp/sweden2.html

3.TEACH Bulletin
(Thorough Education Achieved in a Caring Home)
Number 23
June 2005
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
New Zealand
www.hef.org.nz

15 June 2005 – Newstalk ZB Interview

Click on the link below to listen to this Newstalk ZB interview (6:40 minutes) with Lawyer Ruby Harrold-Claesson, from Sweden’s Nordic Community for Human rights as she describes the family disasters caused by the anti-smacking laws in Sweden. Interview conducted 15 June 2005.

Listen to Newstalk ZB Interview

30 May 2005 Press Release – Cindy Kiro

It is amazing that Children’s Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro would so quickly
condemn a jury of her peers for deciding that the North Otago woman who
administered six of the best to her son was justified in using this force. You can be sure the jury were drilled in the nuances of Section 59: that the force had to be reasonable in the circumstances and that it had to be for the purposes of correction, not vengeance or punishment. The jury only took an hour to come to a conclusion that both of these factors were present. They had all the facts before them. Dr Kiro does not. Dr Kiro is suggesting that these 12 jurors are too thick to tell the difference between reasonable force and abuse. Such condescension is breathtaking. It is a form of bullying and intimidation when it comes from someone in her position of power and authority. Worse still is her caricatures of parents who smack their children.
She assumes parents smack their children when, at the end of their tethers,
they explode in anger and frustration.
She is free to speak about her own parenting experiences this way. She is also free to denigrate her own parents who, she says, “basically hit us”, but again, she errs greatly in painting the rest of us in these outrageous colours.

Family Integrity objects strongly to this slur Dr Kiro has delivered to all the parents in New Zealand. Family Integrity also wishes to advise Dr Kiro in all sincerity that such inappropriate and uninformed comments call her credibility into serious question.

Craig Smith

18 April 2005 Press Release – The Pieter Donselaar Case

The conviction of Pieter Donselaar in New Plymouth for assaulting his son illustrates why NZ needs to preserve Section 59 of the Crimes Act and not repeal it.

Note first that Donselaar was not able to hide behind Section 59 as the anti-smacking lobby says abusers routinely do. The fact is that Section 59 is rarely used as a defense and offers no hiding place to criminal assailants.

Note second that the jury was perfectly capable to determine that Doneslaar did not use reasonable force. The force used must pass these two tests: that it is reasonable in the circumstances and is used by way of correction, not vengeance. Juries are also meant to reflect community standards, not those of the anti-smacking lobby group.

The anti-smacking lobby routinely twists the use of language by equating smacking with hitting or beating. When they quote Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) which says member governments will use “all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse”, they somehow equate Section 59’s “reasonable force” with “violence, injury or abuse”. The two are clearly not the same.

While the anti-smacking lobby is fond of quoting UNCROC’s Article 19, they studiously avoid UNCROC’s preamble which says, in referring to an earlier UN document, 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”. That is, the anti-smacking lobby appears to be uninterested in the actual killers of 18,500 babies in NZ last year, yet totally absorbed by the possibility that some child assailants might go unpunished. There is a radical inconsistency here.

The anti-smacking lobby knows that repealing Section 59 would expose all good parents to charges of assault for merely grabbing a child by the arm, making him stand in a corner or confining him to his room. None of these would any longer be seen as “reasonable force” for such a defense from prosecution would no longer exist if Section 59 were repealed. That is, if Section 59 were ever removed, parents could be charged with assault for using any force with their children, reasonable or otherwise.

The intention of the anti-smacking lobby is to remove from parents the authority and responsibility they naturally have for their children. A glance at the Crimes Act shows that Sections 59 and 60 are alone in their own separate category with the title, “Powers of Discipline”. Section 59 says: “Every 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.” Section 60 says: “The master…in command of a ship…or the pilot in command of an aircraft…is justified in using…force for the purpose of maintaining good order and discipline on board his ship or aircraft…if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances.”

The Act recognizes that historically, all masters of ships, pilots of aircraft and parents of children naturally and logically possess special authority and responsibility over their charges, be they passengers or children. It would be highly irresponsible and illogical to remove this authority from parents, as it is the most basic element of social control we possess. The police and schools will tell you plainly what happens when parents abdicate their authority over their children. We certainly don’t need anti-smacking lobby zealots forcibly removing this authority from the rest of us parents.

Section 59 must be retained.

Craig S Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

14 June 2004 Press Release – Spanking vs Violence

Candice Osborne
14 June 2004

Differentiating between smacking and physical abuse is essential to the current debate on physical punishment.

When the Otago University’s Children’s Issues Centre released a review of existing research into physical punishment and its effects, it was seen by many as just another propaganda exercise aimed at bringing the Biblical “rod of correction” (spanking) into disrepute. The most the Centre could say was “physical punishment of children is associated with the development of antisocial behaviour in children, as well as poorer academic achievement and adjustment to school.” The research showed an “association” between physical punishment and these negative social factors; it did not show that physical punishment “caused” these negative factors. Other research shows that poverty and race are also associated with these negative social factors but not that poverty or race are the cause of these factors.

Unrelated
Although a UNICEF report shows New Zealand has the third highest rate of deaths from child maltreatment in the OECD, the association of this fact with a report on physical punishment does not prove any kind of relation between the two but only serves the propagandist’s objective to cause the public to think the two issues are related. Until the term “physical punishment” is clearly defined, the anti-smacking proponents who are trying to get Section 59 of the Crimes Act repealed, will use the Centre’s research to say that even a mild smack harms a child.

Responsible discipline
United Future’s Murray Smith recently brought a Member’s Bill before Parliament detailing the difference between responsible parental physical discipline and abuse. He says there is a world of difference between the occasional use of a smack by a loving and caring parent who wants to protect and train their child, and physical violence born of anger and frustration.

“Having raised five children myself, I know that a quick smack is a useful tool to have in the parental tool kit, particularly for young children who simply want to be defiant and, in effect, want to know ‘Who’s in charge around here’. That said, it is the tool of last resort and always should be,” he says.

“One thing that everyone seems to agree on is that children need clear and consistent boundaries. While such boundaries can and should be set by discussion, education and agreement whenever possible, sometimes, especially where a child is too young to have an intelligent discussion or where it is an issue of straight disobedience of authority, punitive measures are necessary and passive ones don’t always work.”

Long term effects
The Children’s Issues Centre surveyed more than 300 internationally published peer-reviewed research articles in its investigation. It found that the long-term effects of physical punishment include:

1) Aggression, disruptive, delinquent and antisocial behaviour, being the victim of violent offending, violent offending, and low peer status.

2) Poorer academic achievement including lower IQ, poorer performance on standardized achievement tests, poorer adjustment to school, more ADHD-like symptoms, and poorer self-esteem.

3) Diminished quality of parent-child relationships, with children likely to be less securely attached to parents and being more likely to feel that their parents do not love them, and to feel fearful or hostile towards parents.

4) Increased depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and psychiatric disorders.

5)Poorer conscience development and less internal control by children over their own behaviour. The full research findings will be released at a seminar on the use of physical punishment organised by the Children’s Issues Centre, to be held in Wellington on 18-19 June 2004.

However, a 2001 article in the New Zealand Law Review, authors Rex Ahdar and James Allan also reviewed the existing research on this issue, indicating the anti-smacking lobby’s arguments were philosophically suspect.

They strained and twisted the commonly understood meaning of words, and were simply not supported by the evidence.

Rod of correction
Two people who will be at that seminar are Craig Smith and his daughter Genevieve. Mr Smith has been on the Holmes Show twice upholding the Biblical use of the rod of correction (spanking).

“When anyone says hitting a child is not good for them, we heartily agree. Who needs an expensive survey of the research that’s out there to work that out?” asks Craig Smith, National Director of the parent organisation Family Integrity. He told Challenge Weekly that the problem of logic arises when people equate abuse or violence with Biblical spanking or smacking. This use of illogic is a propaganda ploy. Without clearly defining what one means by “physical punishment”, the anti-lobby groups will seize upon the documented cases of obvious violent abuse against children by live-in boyfriends (as in the case of Coral Burroughs and Craig Whakarau) and then present these horrendous scenarios as evidence against spanking by loving and commited parents. According to the Ahdar and Allan report, the actual clinical studies that focus on the effects of non-abusive corporal correction — spanking in the traditional sense in most people’s minds — are few indeed. Most studies look at the effects of what is easily defined as abuse.

“The anti-spanking lobby appear to attach the negative outcomes of true child abuse to the nearly universal parental practice of spanking. This is done by the illogical — or agenda driven — practice of simply assuming all spanking/ smacking is violent and abusive by definition.

“Biblical spanking is based on Proverbs 22:15: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” One spanks to drive out the foolishness (manifestations of sinful rebellion as distinct from childishness and immaturity) before the foolishness becomes a permanent fixture in the child’s character. The origins, motivation, aims, objectives, methodology and outcomes of Biblical spanking on the one hand and angry, violent abuse on the other are all totally different. They are not on the same continuum, though the anti-spanking lobby will tell you that spanking easily escalates into an over-the-top beating. They are not even in the same ball-park,” says Mr Smith.

Who controls whom?
“Christians must understand the issue behind the spanking debate: to whom do the children of NZ belong, and who will control them? History shows that highly centralised civil governments such as ours inevitably grow to see themselves as the owners of all the nation’s natural resources…. and will include your children in that category. Christians understand that the state does not own our children and neither do we, their parents. The children are God’s property, and He has given them to us as a sacred stewardship. It is our responsibility to train them up according to the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We must not let a secular, Christ-denying state usurp our responsibility to raise up our children. Allowing them to dictate whether we parents can wield the Biblical rod of correction is giving the state power and authority to which is has no valid claim. God will hold us parents accountable for how we raise His children.”

Copied from:
http://www.challengeweekly.co.nz/Iss21-2004.htm

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