1 – 12 March 2007

12 March 2007 – Family Integrity – Unenforcable Due to Lack of Definitions

12 March 2007 – Family Integrity – Unenforcable Due to Lack of Definitions

Unenforcable Due to Lack of Definitions

The “Home Invasion” Bill of Sue Bradford’s to rewrite Section 59 is so
thoroughly subversive of traditional, common-sense parenting, it will be
impossible to enforce. Smacking is not defined. Bradford constantly
equates it with hitting and beating, but this Bill neither affirms nor
denies her sentiments on that. Historically smacking has been lumped
into the category of “reasonable force” in Section 59, and this has been
Bradford’s argument: that even severe hitting and beating are constantly
hiding behind the phrase “reasonable force”. But does Bradford’s rewrite
of Section 59 eliminate the phrase? No! Her nutty Bill actually says,
“reasonable force” is justified when “performing the normal daily tasks
that are incidental to good care and parenting.” If Bradford’s rhetoric
has any credibility at all, then also “severe hitting and beating” are
justified when done “incidental to good care and parenting”.

Bradford’s Bill also fails to define what actually constitutes “the
normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting.” Most
folks would agree that it covers things like correction. But
“correction” is the one thing Bradford has been careful to specifically
forbid in this bill. “Correction”, however, is not defined either, so it
will become a lawyers’ feeding frenzy to get as many of these cases to
court to hammer out definitions, damaging another child and another
family with every case.

This Bill’s purpose is to criminalise parents for correcting their
children, a core duty of parenting. It has absolutely nothing to offer
abused children in dysfunctional families. Dump the Bill.

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity
PO Box 9064
Palmerston North
New Zealand
Ph: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389

Our Home….Our Castle

10 March 2007 – The Press – Barnett says smacking bill ‘home invasion’

10 March 2007 – The Press – Barnett says smacking bill ‘home invasion’


Barnett says smacking bill ‘home invasion’

By JOANNA DAVIS – The Press | Saturday, 10 March 2007

Christchurch radio personality and devoted father of four Simon Barnett is speaking out against the anti-smacking bill, which he describes as a “home invasion”.
Barnett, co-host of More FM breakfast show and sometime TV celebrity, says he is sick of misinformation about Sue Bradford’s bill which he says will criminalise caring parents.

The bill, removing a defence for parents against assault charges if they use reasonable force to discipline their children, is likely to come up for its third reading in Parliament this month.

Most commentators predict it will pass.

Barnett told The Press yesterday that the bill meant parents could not smack or restrain their child for corrective purposes, or even forcibly send them to time-out.
The police would be obliged to investigate any complaint, whether it came from a manipulative child, an angry neighbour, spurned lover or someone “who hates your guts”, he said.

Barnett and wife Jodi have four girls aged six to 13.

He no longer smacks his older two girls, but says the others still occasionally need physical discipline as an immediate consequence for repeated bad behaviour.
He gave the example of six-year-old Lily who kept getting out of bed one night this week.

“I told her maybe eight times, ‘Don’t come out of bed again’. I said it and I said it and I said it.”

After a final warning – “If Daddy has to come in there again, I’m going to smack you” – she continued getting up, standing up in bed, looking out the window.
“I smacked her, she cried and then I said, ‘I love you so much. I’ll see you tomorrow’. She was asleep in three minutes.

“I know that it works. It’s quick, it’s effective and it’s minimum fuss.”
Barnett, who says he has read every parenting book, looked at every website and attended several parenting courses, said even though the bill’s supporters say police will not enforce the law when parents smack their children for discipline: “I want to parent within the law.”

He said it would not help teach his children a respect for the law otherwise, as children hated any hint of hypocrisy.

He acknowledged New Zealand’s “massive” problem with child abuse.

“I’m the first to be alarmed. But most sane, normal parents know there’s a huge difference between abuse and assault and a smack for corrective purposes.”
The law change would do nothing for those children affected in the most horrific cases, such as James Whakaruru, Lillybing, Chris and Cru Kahui, he said. ”
Those are broken, broken people. Poverty, family breakdown.”

Barnett, who attends Grace Vineyard Church, said his convictions did not come from a Christian “spare the rod and spoil the child” stance.

“I’ve been a parent for far longer than I’ve been a Christian. To me it’s nothing to do with that.

“I don’t want (the bill) to pass because I fear for my children’s future, that there will be no boundaries.”

Green MP Sue Bradford, who has previously said she could never imagine hitting her five children (now adults), said the bill was about changing the culture in New Zealand.

“In many, many cases where children are badly injured or killed, it’s in the name of discipline.

“My bill will not stop those things happening, but what it’s trying to change is the point of view that it’s OK to hit your kids.”

9 March 2007 – Family Integrity – Calling Good Evil

Press Release
For Immediate Distribution

Calling Good Evil

I converted to Christianity at age 23, some 33 years ago, from a life of hedonism. I understand the terms “debauchery” and “licentiousness” and how destructive they are.

But this Government has tried to remove the social stigma attached to the irresponsible lifestyles of debauchery and licentiousness by enhancing the legal status of homosexuals and de factoes, fully legalising prostitution, allowing younger people freer access to alcohol, refusing to replace the unrepresentative and thoroughly
desensitised film censors, pushing condom use in schools, allowing party drug use to grow, fostering an abortion-on-demand environment and ensuring contraceptive and abortion supply are the only medical areas where children don’t need parental knowledge or consent. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,” says Isaiah 5:20.

Being personally convinced of the Bible’s definitions of what constitutes good and evil, like thousands of other New Zealand parents, I am unafraid to shoulder my responsibilities toward my children and toward society by using reasonable force, including smacking, to correct my children’s expressions of evil, anti-social behaviour. Woe to me if I don’t. This is a social good the Government is trying to claim is an evil by repealing Section 59.

Why is this Government being so irrational, anti-family and anti-Christian, that it will gladly commit untold damage to good families via Police investigations and untold abuse and trauma to children via CYFS intervention?

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity
PO Box 9064
Palmerston North
New Zealand
Ph: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389

Our Home….Our Castle

8 March 2007 – Family Integrity – Bradford’s Bill Now Sanctions Smacking, Beatings and Abuse

Press Release
For Immediate Distribution

Bradford’s Bill Now Sanctions Smacking, Beatings and Abuse

Sue Bradford and those favouring repeal argue that the “reasonable
force” provisions of Section 59 as it now stands are regularly used by
parents and even juries to justify severe beatings and child abuse. It
is, therefore, astounding that the rewrite of Section 59 does not remove
those provisions at all but instead sets out four large areas wherein
this “reasonable force” can be used: see Section (1)(a-d) below.

Current Section 59
59 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.

Proposed Rewrite of Section 59
59 Parental Control
(1) Every parent of a child and every person in the place of a parent of
the child is justified in using force if the force used is reasonable in
the circumstances and is for the purpose of —
(a) preventing or minimising harm to the child or another person; or
(b) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in
conduct that amounts to a criminal offence; or
(c) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in
offensive or disruptive behaviour; or
(d) performing the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care
and parenting.
(2) Nothing in subsection (1) or in any rule of common law justifies the
use of force for the purpose of correction.
(3) Subsection (2) prevails over subsection (1).

Sections (1)(a) and (1)(b) are unnecessary as they are already covered
in other sections of the Crimes Act (see Sections 39-60 of the Crimes
Act 1961 at
It is funny that Sections (1)(c) and (1)(d) are spelled out, for the
Current Section 59 (see above) does not actually allow “reasonable
force” to be used for these purposes, but only for the purpose of
“correction”. Obviously it has been assumed and understood by the
justice system, police and society at large for years and years and
years that “correction” has always included these things.

Clearly it has also been assumed and understood all these many years
that “reasonable force” has included smacking as well as other things
like time-out, grounding, removing privileges, etc.

So this rewrite of Section 59 is not even addressing the one issue
Bradford always said was the problem: over-zealous use of “reasonable
force”. Since this Bill allows “reasonable force” in so many
circumstances, it not only allows everything that was going on
previously under this label of “reasonable force”, including smacking,
it also allows everything Bradford and co CLAIM was going on previously
under this label, including severe beatings and abuse.

Bradford’s Bill as being proposed right now actually allows smacking as
well as all the violence and abuse she claims has been going on behind
Section 59! How bizarre is that!

The only thing that has changed is that the motivation or purpose of
“correction” is being thoroughly demonised and must not even be hinted
at if even the smallest degree of force is used in the correction
process. (Curiously enough, correction is the ONLY motivation or purpose
allowed under the current Section 59.) But this new Section (2) not only
rules “correction” out of bounds, it also requires that, in this area of
law alone, we are to cut ourselves off from our 800 year heritage of
accumulated legal wisdom and practise known as common law.

Something even more disturbing is Section (3). The effect of this
appears to be that, should there ever arise a situation where it is not
clear if the parents’ actions were preventative or corrective (swatting
a permanent marker from the hand drawing graffiti on the neighbour’s
fence accompanied by the words, “Don’t do that!” instead of “Stop doing
that!”), the corrective interpretation must prevail….meaning that when
there is doubt, the parents must be found guilty of correcting their
children, a case of criminal assault worth as much as two years in jail!

When will this insanity stop? When will the MPs do as 80% of us have
made abundantly clear and dump this outrageously stupid Bill?

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity
PO Box 9064
Palmerston North
New Zealand
Ph: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389


Our Home….Our Castle

7 March 2007 – Copeland: Open letter to ‘Every Child Counts’

Copeland: Open letter to ‘Every Child Counts’
Wednesday, 7 March 2007, 2:03 pm
Press Release: United Future NZ Party
Gordon Copeland Press Release
Wednesday, 7th March 2007

Open letter to ‘Every Child Counts’ Coalition (Barnardos, Plunket, UNICEF, Save the Children) re: Sue Bradford’s Bill

I refer to your press release headed “Parents will not be persecuted for smacking” dated 26 July 2006.

At that time, as you know, the total repeal of section 59 of the Crimes Act was being considered by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee.

You will also be aware that the Select Committee decided against the repeal of section 59 and instead, adopted the retention of the section but with changed wording. As a result, the Bill now before the House will classify as an assault the following actions by parents:

„h A smack with the hand, even if it is trivial in nature
„h The use of any implement such as a wooden spoon, ruler, stick or similar against a child
„h The leading of a child, using physical force, to their bedroom for ‘time-out’ for the purpose of correction
„h The physical removal of a child by a parent from the table to a ‘naughty-mat’ for the purpose of correction
All of this is clearly set out in the Report of the Law Commission to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee dated 8 November 2006 (see in particular clauses 7, 10, and 12). It is also confirmed in the opinion of Peter McKenzie QC dated 2 March 2007.

The heading of your press release suggests that parents will not be prosecuted for assault if they smack and, obviously, at the time the press release was issued, no sane person had expected that physical force used for the purpose of transporting a child for ‘time-out’ or to a ‘naughty-mat’ would constitute an assault. Accordingly, the Bill now before Parliament is dramatically different from what was previously contemplated by the simple repeal of section 59.

I note that you say your organisation “would be outraged if Police and CYFS did change their current behaviour” (to prosecute trivial offences) and therefore you sought “assurances that this will not change if section 59 is repealed”. However, any change in the criminal law of New Zealand must automatically lead to a change in Police behaviour and you will see that that is clearly set out in Peter McKenzie QC’s Report. Simply stated, if section 59 is changed, Police behaviour must change in response to that.

This was made clear by the Hon. Phil Goff in Parliament last Thursday where he confirmed that the Police are obliged to investigate all alleged assaults which are reported to them. Such investigations must of course be undertaken so that the Police can make a decision as to whether or not to prosecute the parents involved. The same logic applies to CYFS. They are under enormous pressure from the New Zealand public to investigate every complaint received without exception. Again, until an investigation is carried out, they are in no position to make a judgement as to an appropriate response.

It is clear, therefore, that the assurances you seek (see “we want assurances”) can not be given by either the Police of CYFS.

You will be aware that the alternative wording suggested by the Law Commission has been taken up by MP Chester Borrows who will move it as an amendment during the Committee stage of the Bill.

This removes three of the categories of assault, from the list set out above, from the current Bill. A smack with the hand which is trivial will not be an assault. Leading or carrying a child to a ‘naughty-mat’ will not be an assault. Leading of carrying a child to their room for ‘time-out’ will not be an assault.

As a result of course neither the Police nor CYFS will receive complaints about those actions, or be obliged to investigate them.

It seems to me that that is the assurance which both your organisation and the parents of New Zealand seek.

I greatly respect your organisation and know that you will carefully consider supporting the Chester Borrows amendment, in these greatly changed circumstances.

With all good wishes,

Yours sincerely,

Gordon Copeland

Press Release dated 26 July 2006

Smacking – Every Child Counts


6 March 2007 – Family Integrity – Bradford’s Bill More Bizarre than Ever

6 March 2007 8:03 p.m.
Subject: Press Release

Press Release
For Immediate Distribution
Bradford’s Bill More Bizarre than Ever.

MP and lawyer Russell Fairbrother of the Labour Party has just issued a
most bizarre legal opinion on Bradford’s Bill to rewrite Section 59 in
which he emphatically states, “The proposed changes do not criminalise
parents who smack….These proposals allow force – ‘smacking’ – if it is
to stop harm to the child or another, stop the child doing something
criminal, stop offensive or disruptive behaviour, or the need to smack
is part of the normal daily tasks of good parenting.”

This is fascinating! Bradford and other anti-smackers such as Children’s
Commissioner Cindy Kiro and UNICEF spokesman Beth Woods have been
warning us repeatedly and passionately that smacking does irreparable
harm, often leads to increased brutality, teaches children that hitting
and violence is an acceptable response, etc., etc. Yet now their major
ally, the Labour Party, says Bradford’s Bill justifies smacking in a
whole range of scenarios. In fact, this legal opinion states that
smacking can be a normal part of “good parenting”! These ladies must be
spitting tacks!

To more fully understand what Fairbrother has unleashed here, let me do
what Bradford, Kiro and Woods do all the time and substitute “hit”,
“beat” and “abuse” for “smack”. We see now that Bradford’s Bill,
according to her Labour ally’s legal opinion, gives parents a license to
abuse their children as part of the normal daily tasks of good
parenting, lets parents hit their toddlers to prevent them from doing
harm to themselves and justifies parents when they severely beat their
children to stop them from disruptive behaviour. It appears that a major
fault line has ruptured the way Labour and Greens view this Bill.

What Fairbrother’s legal opinion failed to mention was that the Bill
specifically and emphatically forbids any use of reasonable force to
perform one of the most core primary duties of parents: to correct their
children’s bad behaviour! The Bill allows smacking to stop bad
behaviour, but not even the lightest or most reasonable use of force to
correct it. What are sane people to make of that?

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity
PO Box 9064
Palmerston North
New Zealand
Ph: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389

Our Home….Our Castle

6 March 2007 – Family Integrity – The Bill Really Is Insane

6 March 2007 10:01 a.m.
Subject: Press Release

The Bill Really Is Insane

At last an MP has come out and said what the vast majority of New
Zealand’s population has been saying for over a year: that Bradford’s
home invasion Bill is insane.

All thanks and congratulations must go to United Future MP Gordon
Copeland. He has pointed out that Sir Geoffrey Palmer’s report of the
Law Commission, upon which the Justice and Electoral Committee leaned to
compose the current form of Bradford’s anti-parent Bill before
Parliament, states that the Bill disallows parents from using any force
at all for either corrective or disciplinary purposes. This bans a great
deal more than just smacking: enforcing a time out to “think over what
you’ve done”, forcing children to apologise for an insult or repay
stolen money or simply to do as they were asked will all become crimes
of criminal assault worth as much as two years in jail because they seek
to correct children’s bad behaviour into good and proper behaviour. How
could any sane adult seriously contemplate enacting such absurd,
destructive legislation?

And the report also points out that Section 3 of the Bill disallows
correction to even be part of an action’s mixed motives. That is, the
Bill endeavours to force parents to be pure even in thought. Bradford
would legislate that parents’ very hearts and minds must not be soiled
with what she would see as the illegal corruption of corrective or
disciplinary motives.

As Mr Copeland says, this is just plain nuts, absurd, insane.

Bradford gave us plenty of clues right from the start that her Bill was
crazy: the Bill’s original title was a nonsense; she openly stated she
wanted to see parents reduced to the same level as everyone else so far
as the use of force with their own children is concerned. This would
completely erase the fact that children, being both dependent and
immature in mental and physical development, need some responsible
adults, parents being the obvious ones, to take charge of their lives
and force them along the path of character and behaviour development
children do not travel if left to themselves. And her insistence that
there be no appeal to our 800 years of common law wisdom and precedent
clearly shows a lemming-like desire to jump off the edge into the great
unknown of social experimentation.

May the rest of Parliament come to its senses and vote Bradford’s
subversive Bill into oblivion where it belongs.

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity
PO Box 9064
Palmerston North
New Zealand
Ph: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389

Our Home….Our Castle

6 March 2007 – Gisborne Herald – Young offenders appear to have no fear of consequences

Young offenders appear to have no fear of consequences
by Iain Gillies
Tuesday, 6 March, 2007

In an intriguing – and paradoxical – sequel to the anti-smacking debate and the abuse of children, Parliament will soon be confronted by the alarming problem of youth violence.

Informal head-counting suggests Green MP Sue Bradford has numbers necessary to pass her controversial bill preventing parents disciplining children by force.

But whatever the outcome, politicians will be obliged to consider the prevalence of serious youth crime by New Zealand First MP Ron Mark’s initiative to reduce the age of criminal liability to 12 years for serious offences.

Mr Mark’s Young Offenders (Serious Crimes) Bill is currently with Parliament’s law and order committee, which is due to report back to the House by the end of this month.

Though the Beehive is itself proposing significant changes to the criminal justice system, Mr Mark claims it is not getting to the nub of the issue.

“While I’m concerned at the large numbers of people incarcerated, I don’t see the solution as simply letting them out early,” he said in an interview for The Gisborne Herald.

“The longterm solution in getting prison numbers down and eliminating the need for new prisons depends on how we handle youth crime and the seriousness of entry-level crime.

“There is no deterrent for young offenders; there is no fear; there is no thought among young people of a consequence for their actions.

“Because our youth justice system is designed to keep young people out of court, they have reached the conclusion they can’t be touched.”

Interesting stuff from Mr Mark who is concerned that youngsters may be encouraged to break the law by adults who know a child cannot be charged – “and so kids get deeper and deeper into crime”.

Most young people who get caught up in hoonish behaviour and delinquency are sorted out by their parents, a local constable or a family group conference.

But this does not always work. Perthaps a “three strikes and you’re out” approach to youth offending is worth trying.

5 March 2007 – NZ Centre For Political Debate – Newman Weekly: Parents Under Attack

Newman Weekly: Parents Under Attack
Monday, 5 March 2007, 9:48 am
Column: NZ Centre For Political Debate
Newman Weekly

Parents Under Attack

In two weeks time Parliament will again consider the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill, a bill that seeks to remove section 59 of the Crimes Act.

The 1961 Crimes Act was very clear in it¡¦s intent to protect children from abuse: section 194 states that anyone assaulting a child is liable for up to 2 years in prison and section 195 imposes a prison term of up to 5 years for anyone found guilty of cruelty to a child.

Section 59 was introduced into the Act in order to protect parents who were disciplining their children from the charge of assault. It 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.

The legal definition of 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, if section 59 is removed, it is not just an act of force that can lead to a charge of assault, but a verbal threat or gesture as well.

The Police advice to the Select Committee stated: ¡§If section 59 was to be repealed in its entirety, parents would not be authorised to use reasonable force by way of correction and smacking a child in such circumstances would be assault¡¨.

They went on to explain that in all cases of suspected/ reported assaults on children, the Police would be required to investigate. They would refer such cases to Police Child Abuse Investigators ¡V in conjunction with Child Youth and Family – where and when possible. It would be their job to determine whether it is in the best interest of the child/family and the public to bring a prosecution.

In other words, claims that this bill would not criminalise parents for smacking a child are wrong. Any case of alleged violence against a child would have to be investigated by the Police, with the decision of whether or not to prosecute the parents being based on the evidence and the public interest (to read a PDF of the Police advice click

One would think that any campaign to remove section 59 must be based on its excessive use as a defence by parents who abuse their children. That does not appear to be the case. While the exact details of the number of times section 59 has been used as a defence is difficult to find – according to the Minister of Justice, ¡§The Justice database does not record the type of defence used, and as such, we are unable to identify when a Section 59 defence was used¡¨ ¡V it appears to have been used in only a handful of cases over the last decade.

That is why the claims being made to justify the bill by its author, the Green MP Sue Bradford, sound disingenuous. In her speech to Parliament she stated: ¡§All the research I¡¦ve ever seen shows that children who are beaten and assaulted have much poorer outcomes as adults, and are much more likely to perpetuate cycles of violence and deprivation¡¨.

Yet section 59 is not being used to protect parents who beat and assault their children – those parents come under the auspices of section 194 of the Crimes Act. Oddly enough, however, of the 50,000 cases of potential child abuse referred to the Department of Child, Youth and Family for further investigation each year, only a very small number of perpetrators are ever charged. This means that the authorities are failing to enforce the law and bring the real perpetrators of child abuse in this country to justice.

So, if section 59 is not being used to shield violent and abusive parents from the force of the law, what is this anti-smacking bill all about?

In her speech to Parliament, Sue Bradford explained: ¡§When Pâkehâ colonists first arrived here, they brought a culture that taught that children, along with women and servants, were the property of their father, husband, or employer, and that they were mere chattels to be brought into line by force. Section 59 is the last legal vestige of that culture¡¨. In other words, she is using her bill as a political device to progress the Green Party¡¦s anti-family agenda. That is why, if any amendment to better define acceptable force is supported in Parliament, she has stated that she will withdraw the bill.

Socialists have long regarded the traditional ¡§patriarchal family¡¨ as an instrument of oppression against women. It is an on-going ideological battle. In a submission to a Parliamentary Select Committee on Women¡¦s Rights in 1974, the Socialist Action League presented a policy programme to remove discrimination against women. A key provisions was the nationalisation of child-rearing: ¡§The rearing, social welfare and education of children should become the responsibility of society, rather than the individual parents, upon whose limited resources all the burdens presently fall. All laws enforcing individual ownership of children should be abolished (to view an extract of the submission click

With the removal of section 59 being yet another attack on parents and the traditional family unit, it is alarming to see that so many Members of Parliament – including the whole of the Labour Party – are supporting this agenda. It is especially bizarre given that child abuse is much more likely to occur in broken homes than in intact families and anyone genuinely concerned about reducing child abuse in this country should be supporting measures to strengthen families not weaken them (to read my submission to the Select Committee with a plan to reduce child abuse click

When Sue Bradford¡¦s Private Member¡¦s Bill was originally drawn from the ballot back in 2005, the Labour Party was more circumspect about its support. It recognised the overwhelming public opposition to the bill and agreed to support it only as far as a select committee. It then intended to allow Labour MPs to exercise a conscience vote. That was, however, when Labour commanded a majority in the House that did not rely on the support of the Green Party. Now that the Greens hold the balance of power, Labour has decided against conscience votes.

The majority of New Zealanders know that this bill is unnecessary. They recognise that families, who raise their children in traditional ways teaching them values and showing them boundaries, are doing a good job. They also know that the last thing these parents need is the state intruding right into the heart of their family, claiming to know better than they how to raise their children.

If you feel concerned about this bill being passed into law, then I urge you to speak out. Contact your Member of Parliament and share your views. The addresses of each MP can be found on the MPs page of the NZCPD website

Finally, Melanie Phillips looked at this issue a few years ago, when the House of Lords decided to amend their law by better defining a smack. It is well worth reading and is featured as this week¡¦s NZCPD guest commentary(click the sidebar link to view>>>).

The poll this week asks whether you believe that the removal of section 59 will reduce child abuse in New Zealand?
To vote in the poll
(The results will be sent to all MPs)

Guest Comment

Melanie Phillips

Stop Beating the Parents

“The proposed ban fits into the systematic process of undermining the family. Most real abuse, after all, is perpetrated by non-biological parents. Anyone who was seriously concerned to stop such ill-treatment would therefore institute measures to shore up and protect marriage as well as traditional family life”.

5 March 2007 – Family First – Bill Will Result in Children Reporting Parents

Bill Will Result in Children Reporting Parents
Monday, 5 March 2007, 9:56 am
Press Release: Family First
5 MARCH 2007
Bradford ¡¥Anti-smacking¡¦ Bill Will Result in Children Reporting Parents

Family First is warning politicians that an outcome of voting for Sue Bradford¡¦s ¡¥anti-smacking¡¦ bill is that children will report their parents to the police when they don¡¦t like parental discipline and correction.

Prominent QC Peter McKenzie, in his opinion released last week, highlights this when he says ¡§complaints may be made by children who have resented their means of correction or denial of privileges.¡¨

¡§And this is consistent with international experience,¡¨says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

Supt Logan, the deputy borough commander in Hackney, east London and Britain¡¦s most senior black policeman said at the weekend(1) that parents no longer use physical punishment because they fear they will end up in court facing an assault charge. He said that the results have been a decline in respect, a rise in family breakdowns and an increasing number of children being put up for adoption. He made these comments during an inquiry into patterns of crime among black men.

In Sweden (where smacking was banned in 1979), the Nordic Committee for Human Rights says(2) ¡§Children have been informed of their rights and so they use their rights to demand more freedom to do as they please. They report their parents in the aim of obtaining freedom, unaware of the consequences of their report to the social authorities or the police¡KWhen the children realise the seriousness of their accusations they try to withdraw them, but they are held to their stories – without any consideration of the damages that the children themselves incur.¡¨

¡§The resentment that the parents feel towards their children whose unacceptable behaviour was the direct cause of the charges against the parents, has resulted in the loss of normal, loving parental guidance for these children. The guilt felt by the children has also seriously damaged the parent/child relationship.¡¨ (cases in detail below)

Mr McCoskrie says that if politicians pass Sue Bradford¡¦s bill, it will only increase the likelihood of disgruntled children making complaints against their parents because of resentment against correction, ¡¥time out¡¦, or denial of privileges.

¡§This will pit children against their parents, and will place parents under extreme pressure,¡¨ says Mr McCoskrie. ¡§This would be a totally unacceptable situation for parents who need a level of authority in order to raise their children in the best environment possible. It is already happening in NZ, with the recent example of a teenager effectively ¡¥divorcing¡¦ her parent because she didn¡¦t like the family rules.¡¨

In an attempt to protect children from the small minority of parents who are obviously unsuitable to hold the responsibilities of parenting, we are steam-rolling good parents who deserve the backing of the state ¡V not undermining and potentially criminalising.

Mr McCoskrie says that a child¡¦s rights should never be at the expense of the parental right to nurture, protect and set boundaries in a family setting. Rights of children have been shifted from simply protecting vulnerable children to granting them rights that are destructive to them, to good parenting practice, and to the welfare of the whole family in which they are being raised.


(1) A smack can keep children from crime says police leader ¡V Sunday Telegraph 4 Mar 07

5 March 2007 – United Future NZ Party – Copeland: Clarification over Sue Bradford’s Bill

Copeland: Clarification over Sue Bradford’s Bill
Monday, 5 March 2007, 12:13 pm
Press Release: United Future NZ Party

Monday, 5th March 2007
Clarification: Sue Bradford’s Bill

United Future MP Gordon Copeland today said he wanted to clarify the context in which he sought an opinion from Peter McKenzie QC concerning the criminalisation, as an assault, of ‘time-out’ in Sue Bradford’s Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Bill.

“The text of the Bill itself makes it clear that the defence of ‘reasonable force for the purpose of correction’ is not available for ‘time-out’ or similar,” said Mr Copeland. “It therefore constitutes a criminal assault. Correction is what ‘time-out’ or a ‘naughty mat’ is all about.”

“The report of the Law Commission dated 8 November 2006, signed by Sir Geoffrey Palmer, from which the wording of the Bill is derived, makes that clear. For example, paragraph 7 states that the Bill ‘does not contemplate the use of parental force against children for the purposes of correction’. Paragraph 10 states ‘the use of force by parents against a child is only justified for specified non-disciplinary purposes. The essence of this option (i.e. the Bill) is to offer protection for ‘good parenting, interventions, short of correction.”

“Paragraph 12 specifically refers to ‘time-out’ in the following sentence:”In the event of a potentially ambiguous situation such as ‘time-out’ where there may be a mix of motives, subsection (3) seeks to ensure that parents cannot rely upon a corrective purpose for their actions.”

“Accordingly, from day 1, it has been clear to me that Sue Bradford’s Bill is not only ‘anti-smacking’ but also ‘anti-correction’ and ‘anti-discipline’. However, because all of this is so absurd I realised that going public with that information could expose me to potential ridicule because the public would judge that only a Parliament of the insane would be intent on criminalising these activities. “

“It was for that reason that ‘to be sure to be sure’ as the Irish say, I sought the opinion of a Queen’s Council. “

“Fortunately, perhaps because they themselves realised how absurd this Bill would become, the Law Commission suggested a reasoned alternative which has now become the Chester Borrows Amendment. That amendment is a good, commonsense, compromise and could be supported by all Members of Parliament.”

(2) http://www.nkmr.org/english/anti_smacking_law_consultation_paper.htm

4 March – Daily Mail/watchingcyfswatchnewzealand – Stop beating the parents – A history lesson From the UK on smacking

A history lesson From the UK on smacking: Daily Mail
Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on March 4th, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Sunday, March 4, 2007 pm31 3:22 PM in CYFSWATCH Media

July 7, 2004
Stop beating the parents
Daily Mail, 7 July 2004

The compromise over smacking that was reached in the House of Lords is the thin end of a very large wedge. An outright ban was rejected and an amendment crafted by the LibDem peer Lord Lester was passed instead.

This allows parents to smack a child provided this doesn¡¦t leave anything other than the most temporary of red marks. Otherwise, they may find themselves prosecuted for assault, jailed and banned from working with other young people.

This obviously raises the prospect of police investigations that are as fraught as they are intrusive. The law already provides the means to prosecute parents for assaulting a child if their actions don¡¦t fall within the definition of ˜reasonable chastisement¡§. But removing this defence opens up the disturbing vista of wholesale police intrusion into family life.

Many perfectly law-abiding parents would find themselves suspects in a criminal investigation. The police would be put in the invidious position of having to decide whether a slap amounted to moderate chastisement or a criminal assault. Worse still, they might find themselves acting on a complaint made by a child against perfectly caring parents who are only trying to control bad behaviour.

The government rejected an outright ban to prevent criminalising those parents who may slap a child in the heat of the moment. But the Lester compromise is scarcely any better.

For it still raises the disturbing prospect of parents losing their reputations or livelihoods for exercising discipline in a way which, until now, has been regarded as perfectly normal and even desirable in the context of a loving family.

Of course, no-one would justify beating a child. But the idea that an ordinary smack falls into the category of beating, assault or child abuse is just plain wrong.

Clearly, there is a point at which a ˜reasonable chastisement¡¨ turns into an assault. But the current law allows common sense to decide. Removing that defence plunges both police and parents into a potential quagmire of ambiguity and oppressive intrusion into private lives.

The arguments employed by the anti-smackers are flawed. They claim, for example, that smacking a child makes for a violent adult. But there is no evidence for this whatsoever. Indeed, one might say that Britain was actually a less violent place when corporal punishment was accepted in schools and no-one thought twice about taking a slipper to a child.

It is claimed that smacking is cruel. But in fact, it is surely kinder that the psychological warfare commonly used as an alternative. This kind of emotional manipulation, playing on guilt or fear, or using coldness or indifference as weapons, can be deeply distressing and leave a lingering resentment. And in many instances, this is not as effective as a moderate slap, which shocks a child into awareness that certain behaviour simply will not be tolerated.

It is said that children are being beaten and abused by their parents, for whom the law allows an escape route. But there is little evidence for this either. The problem is rather that the law is not enforced when it needs to be.

The killing of Victoria Climbie, for example, did not occur because she was being smacked. She died because she was subjected to systematic sadism and torture, and because the authorities charged with preventing this were negligent. The linkage made in this bill between her dreadful death and normal family discipline is simply grotesque.

Indeed, after smacking was banned in Sweden, there was a five-fold increase in assaults on children, and many more children had to be taken into care.

All the signs are that when this bill arrives in the Commons, the anti-smacking lobby will push again for an outright ban. Such fervour has little to do with concern for the welfare of children, but is rather about controlling childrenâ£á™s lives.

The proposed ban fits into a systematic process of undermining the family. Most real abuse, after all, is perpetrated by non-biological parents. Anyone who was seriously concerned to stop such ill-treatment would therefore institute measures to shore up and protect marriage as well as traditional family life.

Instead, these are undermined at every turn, Fragmented families are condoned and encouraged; contraceptives and even abortions are administered to under-age children without their parents knowledge or consent.

Adult authority has been undermined, with laws turning any physical contact between an adult and child into a potential assault. This has caused havoc in schools and childrens care homes. The result has been a wholesale breakdown of discipline, with untold social costs.

Having tied the hands of parents, teachers and social workers, the government now seeks to dictate the terms of family life itself. Through the vast expansion of day care, parenting orders, Sure Start programmes or ˜parental outreach¡§, it tells parents that the state knows better then they do how to bring up their children. A year ago, a government report declared: ˜The government is developing an overarching strategy for all children and young people from conception to age 19¡¨. By what right do they arrogate to themselves the upbringing of children?

For years, parents have been told by ¡§experts¡¨ that parents do their children harm and that they are the last people to know how to look after them. The child expert Dr Miriam Stoppard exemplified this perfectly when she said that parents who smack their offspring should ˜never have had children in the first place¡§. That would include many, if not the majority, of parents.

The real agenda here is power. The smacking ban is yet another step towards the nationalisation of childhood. The lobby group declares ˜Children are Unbeatable¡¨, but it is parents who are being chastised. It seems the state is doing everything it can to beat them down.

4 March 2007 – Google groups – smack can keep children from crime says police leader

A smack can keep children from crime says police leader

Ben Leapman, Home Affairs Correspondent, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 12:49am GMT 04/03/2007

Children lack discipline and turn to crime because their parents are too
scared to smack them, says one of Britain’s most senior black policemen.

Parents no longer use physical punishment because they fear they will end up
in court facing an assault charge, according to Supt Leroy Logan of the
Metropolitan Police Force.
He says that the results have been a decline in respect, a rise in family
breakdowns and an increasing number of children being put up for adoption.
Supt Logan, the deputy borough commander in Hackney, east London, made the
comments last week during a meeting of the all-party Commons Home Affairs
Committee, which is investigating patterns of crime among young black men,
including last month’s spate of shootings in south London.
He told the committee that “lack of respect and discipline in the home” was
caused by “the parent feeling a sense of helplessness or a fear of
prosecution in the moderate correction of their child”.
Black families had raised with him their concerns over the law on smacking,
he said, while some had even sent their children back to the Caribbean or
Africa, where physical punishments are traditionally used, “to regain their
cultural and community values of respect and discipline”.
After the hearing, Supt Logan, who is also the chairman of the National
Black Police Association, said: “I was beaten by my parents. It was a
wake-up call to me, it’s the rite of passage that you need.”
In law, parents may smack their children without risk of being charged with
assault, as long as the force used is “moderate and reasonable”. Three years
ago, legislation was changed so that blows hard enough to leave lasting
marks, which would be classed as actual bodily harm, can no longer be
explained away using the defence of reasonable punishment.
Supt Logan’s comments drew praise from parents’ rights campaigners, who said
they applied equally to white families who were now too afraid to smack
their children.
Norman Wells, the director of the pressure group Family and Youth Concern,
said: “He is absolutely right, and it’s not only black parents who are
feeling intimidated by social workers and child protection agencies who
equate a moderate smack with child abuse.
“If parents are to be held responsible for their children’s behaviour at
school and in the community, it is vital that their authority to reasonably
correct their children is recognised. The more parents’ authority is
undermined, the less responsibility they will be inclined to take for
their -children, and the more their children will grow out of -control.
“Parents are authority figures in their children’s lives and they need to
have effective sanctions at their disposal when their children misbehave. If
children don’t learn to respect their parents, there is little hope that
they will respect other authority figures.”

3 March 2007 – Family Integrity – Please Enlighten Us, Sue

Please Enlighten Us, Sue
Saturday, 3 March 2007, 1:09 pm
Press Release: Family Integrity

Please Enlighten Us, Sue

Sue Bradford is doing as she promised: resorting to tooth and nail instead of logic and reasoned debate to defend her indefencible Bill to subvert parental duties toward their chidlren. She criticises Lawyers, QCs no less, for opinions she agrees are possible. She admits that lawyers will find this Bill a gold mine, but that somehow the trauma and crippling expense to families as they agonise through the process of being investigated, charged and then defended for taking a child to time out because the parents hoped to correct the chid is all going to be worth it.

Worth it to whom, Sue?

She admits that assault and child abuse are already illegal, but then says the “correction” of Section 59 must be redefined as abuse. When is she going to enlighten us: what is there about a parent correcting a child’s bad behaviour that she is so violently and vehemently against?

She also routinely refers to parents, acquitted by juries, as “severely beating their children”. Not a shred of evidence is offered to support this outrageous claim, which clearly condemns our entire justice system, except to point to cases in which she was not privy to the details, and criticises the findings of juries made up of 12 of her peers because they did not agree with her opinion. Let’s remember the juries’ findings are based on reviewing the facts in excruciating detail while Bradford’s opinions are formed from sensational newspaper reports embellished with her own peculiar ideology.

Oh, yes, she also theorises, again offering not a shred of evidence, that the Police routinely overlook real cases of child abuse that come to their notice because they know they’ll be dismissed under Section 59. Again, she clearly takes pleasure, as she has always done in her past, in castigating and denigrating the integrity and intelligence of New Zealand’s Police Force.


3 March 2007 – Family First – Call for Pacific Islanders to oppose Bradford Bill

Call for Pacific Islanders to oppose Bradford Bill
Saturday, 3 March 2007, 1:19 pm
Press Release: Family First Lobby.

3 MARCH 2007

Call for Pacific Island Groups to oppose Bradford Bill Before Too Late

Family First is calling on Pacific Island groups, churches, and communities to speak up against Sue Bradford¡¦s anti-smacking Bill before it is too late.

¡§The latest opinion by a leading New Zealand QC adds weight to Family First¡¦s warnings that the Pacific Island Sector will be particularly at risk from unwarranted and inappropriate intervention by Police and CYF who are responding to complaints about smacking ¡V complaints made either by members of the public, or by children themselves who have resented their means of correction or denial of privileges,¡¨ says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

In revelations this week:
• Pacific Island people will be targeted by social workers and groups who want all physical discipline, including what are cultural practices of Pacific island families, banned.

A Queens Counsel (QC) Peter McKenzie says (Opinion released 2 March 2007)
¡§A law which confers a wide discretion on the Police (is) a danger to those sections of the community with which the Police are required to have frequent dealings. Regrettably, the statistics in New Zealand (as elsewhere) show that it is in the lower socio-economic areas of the community that Police activity is most frequent. There are families in that section of the community who will be known to the Police and complaints directed at them may well be treated with more vigour than in a so-called respectable suburban area.¡¨

Unfortunately, because of the Pacific Island emphasis on suitable discipline, which is not child abuse, and the socio-economic status of many of this community, the Pacific Island community are far more at danger from this legislation than other groups.

• The Government has confirmed Family First¡¦s argument that any cases of suspected or reported smacking will have to be investigated if section 59 is repealed in its current form.

• Even removing a child to ¡§Time Out¡¨ or to their room will constitute an assault by the parent on their child
• Foster care parents, and families where there are marriage difficulties or conflict will be at greater risk of investigation if a complaint is made

Peter McKenzie QC says ¡§Another group which is vulnerable in this area is foster parents and other caregivers against whom complaints may be made by children who have resented their means of correction or denial of privileges. In cases involving the public interest (caring for children or other persons), the Police may consider more readily that a prosecution be brought.

Spouses or partners in a situation of marital and domestic breakdown are more vulnerable to complaints by an aggrieved or vindictive spouse or partner. If there has been Police intervention in other respects, there may be a greater preparedness to prosecute.¡¨
¡§Most concerning in this opinion is the likelihood of disgruntled children making complaints against their parents because of resentment against correction, ¡¥time out¡¦, or denial of privileges,¡¨ says Mr McCoskrie.

Family First says that this Bill is dangerous law for all New Zealand families, but particularly for the Pacific Island community. It will do nothing to deal with the real causes of child abuse which are found in family breakdown and dysfunction, substance abuse and poverty and stress.

¡§Pacific Island families and leaders must make their views known to their MP¡¦s before it is too late,¡¨ warns Mr McCoskrie.


3 March 2007 – TVNZ – Lawyer hits back at Bradford

Lawyer hits back at Bradford

Mar 3, 2007

The lawyer who has upset Sue Bradford with his interpretation of her anti-smacking bill says it does little good to shoot the messenger.

United Future MP Gordon Copeland has presented findings from Peter McKenzie QC, who believes the bill will make potential criminals of parents using any force, such as placing a child on a naughty mat. Copeland claims the bill will result in ludicrous outcomes.

But Bradford says that is not the case and she calls the legal opinion flawed and a wilful misrepresentation of her bill.

“My bill, as amended in select committee, explicitly states that parents can use reasonable force on several grounds, including ‘preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in offensive or disruptive behaviour, or ‘performing the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting’”.

McKenzie says he is happy for people to look at his assessment and make their own judgement.

McKenzie has represented several groups such as Right To Life, the Society for Protection of Community Standards, and Viewers for TV excellence.

A final vote on the bill, which repeals section 59 of the Crimes Act – which gives parents the right to use reasonable force on their children – will take place in around a fortnight.

3 March – Manawatu Evening Standard – Smacking bill meeting here

Smacking bill meeting here
Manawatu Standard | Friday, 2 March 2007

National Party police and welfare spokesman Chester Borrows will talk about the anti-smacking bill in Palmerston North on March 9.

Mr Borrows wants to set defined limits on what is “reasonable force” when parents or caregivers smack children. The bill, brought by list MP Sue Bradford, seeks to ban all smacking of children.

Palmerston North Christian Churches’ Association spokesman Dale Meacheam said that as a concerned parent, he wanted to know what his rights would be if the bill passed its third reading. His group is bringing Mr Borrows to Palmerston North.

Anyone interested would be welcome and the meeting starts at 7.30pm at the Palmerston North Convention Centre.

“I hope the place will be packed,” Mr Meachem said.

2 March 2007 – Family Integrity – Who Has Jurisdiction?

Who Has Jurisdiction?

When I rang the Minister of Justice Mark Burton to ask about the “plank
of wood” he mentioned in his speech debating Bradford’s Bill to subvert
all parental authority by criminalizing the use of any force to correct
their own children, I was put on to his PA Andrian Fryer. Burton had
said Section 59 had been used to justify beatings with such implements.
So could he give me any details about the case where the “plank of wood”
was used? Well, no he couldn’t. It may have been a reference to the case
in Hawkes Bay where a piece of kindling, the size of a standard wooden
spoon was used. But Mr Fryer really couldn’t say. I asked if he was
aware that in that case the bruising referred to was caused by a roller
blade accident and that the acquittal was not, in fact, based on an
appeal to Section 59? Mr Fryer couln’t say.

Did it concern Mr Fryer or the Minister that such careless use of
language and disregard for the accuracy of the facts opened the Minister
of Justice to accusations of deceit? Mr Fryer couldn’t say. It didn’t
matter anyway, he insisted, for it didn’t change the Government’s stand
that the use of an implement for correcting a child was unacceptable.

Mr Fryer made it clear that the civil Government in Parliament has taken
a stand on this Bill and will drive it through. As so many others have
pointed out, it doesn’t appear to matter one bit to this Government that
the majority of the population object: this Government intends to tell
parents that they must not correct their children with any use of
force………which means they cannot correct them at all, for to
correct means at the very least to force the parent’s will upon the

Governments have jurisdictions, areas wherein they wield legitimate
authority. The Civil Government of Parliament is one government. Then we
have local governments, workplace governments, church governments, the
governments of individual families and finally the self-government of
each mature person. Each of these governments has its own jurisdiction:
there is a jurisdiction of the state, a jurisdiction of the church, a
jurisdiction of the family, and so on. There is a bit of overlap at the
edges, but it is the characteristic of a free society that each of these
governments is free to wield its legitimate authority within its own
jurisdiction without undue interventions from the other governments.
Parliament, or what we usually call the Government with a capital “G”,
is only one government among many.

The problem with Bradford’s Bill is that it is a naked grab by the
central Government of the state of New Zealand to take over the
jurisdiction of each individual family government. There is already a
legitimate jurisdiction of the state to intervene into the government of
the family, and that is when the family experiences gross dysfunction.
Likewise, when the self-government of the individual breaks down and he
or she becomes a lawbreaker, again the state Government has then a
legitimate jurisdiction to intervene into the government of the
individual with Police arrest.

Bradford’s Bill is a clumsy attempt to illegitimately extend the
jurisdiction of the state into the jurisdiction of every healthy family
and to take over the way each family governs its children. This is not
the way of state governments in free and democratic countries. Such
moves are antithetical to the whole concept of democracy.

Significantly, however, this is the way of totalitarian state
governments, such as the communist regimes of Cuba or the old USSR and
East Europe before their collapse in 1989. If we in New Zealand do not
want to fall into that kind of political and social slavery, we must
reject Bradford’s Bill and take the government of the family back away
from the state.

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity
PO Box 9064
Palmerston North
New Zealand
Ph: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389

Our Home….Our Castle

2 March 2007 – Wetanest blogspot – Anti-smacking legislation

Anti-Smacking Legislation

In May of this year, New Zealanders will get to find out whether or not their politicians are truly insane or not. That is when they will meet to vote about a bill which will make it illegal for a parent to smack a child. This one has been around for a long time – the whole ‘corporal punishment’ thing. It was abolished in schools in 1991 in New Zealand, and since then there has been considerable debate over whether or not it should be acceptable for a parent to smack a child. Anti-smackers say it teaches children that violence is an acceptable way of dealing with conflict. Pro-smackers say ‘it never harmed me’. So let’s take another look at it.

A child turns up at school on monday morning wearing a long-sleeve top. It’s the middle of summer, but he tolerates the heat. It’s as though he’s hiding something. His teacher can tell that he’s not acting himself, so she takes him aside for a little talk. She finds (not by touching him because that’s illegal… oh wait, it’s not now… that’s right, they retracted that one last year) that on his arms he has several massive swollen red marks. They were obviously caused by some kind of violent treatment. Possibly at home. The child doesn’t want to talk about it – it’s a classic sign of it. It turns out he didn’t tidy up his bedroom so got smacked for it. Here we have it, a good example of why it’s bad to smack a child. So come May, I hope the politicians vote in favour of the bill and outlaw smacking.

No? You’re not convinced? Neither am I. Here’s why:

This wasn’t ‘smacking’ at all. This was violence. The same kind of violence that is classed as ‘assault’. Did that stop the boy’s father from hitting his mother? No. Did the law stop him from driving an unwarranted, unregistered car? No. Did it stop him from driving aggressively or getting into road rage with another driver? Probably not. Is an anti-smacking law going to stop him from hitting his son? Yeah… You get where I’m going.

I seriously see no possible way that smacking teaches children that violence is ok. I’m sorry, but that is just bullshit. Both my wife and I were smacked as children, and neither of us are even remotely confrontational people. Not sure about her but the last time I ever hit someone was 23 years ago when I was 5. What it taught me was that you do what your parents tell you to do. I didn’t live in fear that if I didn’t conform, I would be hit. But I knew that when I got it, i deserved it.

Yes, a child raised in a violent home IS more likely to become violent – statistically speaking. But smacking and violence aren’t the same thing. And like I said earlier, domestic violence is already illegal, so what makes the government think that making smacking illegal is going to stop them? It all just seems like yet another example of a stupid law that is brought in because of what the minority do that will only serve one purpose – punishing those who don’t deserve it.

Good on you, democracy.

2 March 2007 – New Zealand National Party – Police have to investigate smacking claims

Police have to investigate smacking claims
Friday, 2 March 2007, 11:28 am
Press Release: New Zealand National Party
Chester Borrows
MP National Party MP

2 March 2007

Police have to investigate smacking claims

Police will be forced to investigate every case where it is claimed parents have smacked their children, says National MP Chester Borrows.

He is commenting after questions in Parliament yesterday by Sue Bradford, whose Member’s Bill removes the defence in the Crimes Act of ‘reasonable force’ against assault on a child. Mr Borrows has proposed amending it so parents will still be allowed to lightly smack their children without breaking the law.

“Police guidelines require them to investigate every case, and that will not change,” says Mr Borrows, a police officer for 24 years.

Cabinet Minister Phil Goff told Parliament that police weighed up cases on ‘whether it is in the public interest to prosecute’ and, for an alleged assault, would consider ‘the amount of force used’.

“Sue Bradford asked him what considerations the police exercise in deciding whether to ‘prosecute someone for a trivial or a technical offence’.

“But his assurances in respect of police investigations of parents who smack their children trivialise the debate, and cast a shadow over her argument for removal of the Section 59 defence of a parent who smacks their child.

“Sue Bradford can’t have it both ways. Smacking is either so serious we need to divide the country and change the law, or it’s so trivial nobody should bother about it.

“I reject her assertion that it is a trivial matter and take the removal of Section 59 as very serious.

“Having spoken to police across the ranks and around the country, I know they are very worried about the bind a change to the law will place on them operationally.

“I’ve spoken to officers specialising in child abuse investigations, commissioned officers, sergeants and constables, and none of them want the legislation or believe it will have only minimal effect on their workload. I’ve spoken to some Crown solicitors and judges and they do not treat the prospect of this legislation lightly, like Sue Bradford and the Labour Party are doing.

“They also agree that some parents will be arrested, charged and convicted for smacking their children.”

1 March 2007 – Family First – Government admits every reported smack will be investigated

Government admits every reported smack will be investigated

1 MARCH 2007

Government Admits Every Reported Smack Will Be Investigated

The Government has confirmed Family First¡¦s argument that any cases of suspected or reported smacking will have to be investigated if section 59 is repealed in its current form.

In reply to a question from National MP Chester Borrows in Parliament today, Cabinet Minister Phil Goff acknowledged that under the current family violence policy of the Police, they were already obliged to investigate suspected or reported assaults.

¡§This admission today confirms what we have argued from day one about this bill ¡V that good parents will be treated as criminals under the law,¡¨ says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First.

¡§The police have already confirmed that smacking a child would be assault. They will have to investigate any complaint made against a parent for smacking or even forced removal to ¡¥time out¡¦. This will immediately place a family under enormous pressure,¡¨ says Mr McCoskrie. ¡§The police have to enforce the law, regardless of what politicians say.¡¨

¡§The claims by Sue Bradford and the Prime Minister that the anti-smacking bill will not result in parents getting into trouble for lightly smacking their children is now hollow talk, and should sound further alarm bells to kiwi parents about the danger of this bill.¡¨

Mr McCoskrie says that if the Prime Minister and Bradford are genuine about their intent, they should have no problem supporting Chester Borrow¡¦s amendment, which effectively lowers the bar on what is reasonable force, but doesn¡¦t criminalise parents who lightly smack their children.

¡§The Prime Minister and Sue Bradford can¡¦t have it both ways,¡¨ says Mr McCoskrie. ¡§Their preferred option for the Bill will open up every parent who corrects their child with a smack to investigation by the Police and possibly Child Youth and Family.¡¨

This is an unacceptable burden to place on good parents.


For more information contact Family First:

Bob McCoskrie JP – National Director
Tel. 09 261 2426 | Mob. 027 55 555 42

1 March 2007 – Family Integrity – Did Mum Really Abuse Us?

Did Mum Really Abuse Us?
Thursday, 1 March 2007, 2:51 pm
Press Release: Family Integrity

For Immediate Distribution

Did Mum Really Abuse Us?

Bradford and all those MPs who support repeal of Section 59 are saying that “reasonable force” when used to correct a wayward child should be defined as violence and abuse. Have I really been abusing my eight children for the past 26 years?

Perhaps they are smarter and wiser than my Grandma O’Hara. I mean she had to use a shotgun to blast the first rattlesnake she saw when the darn thing spooked her horse. She graduated from University in 1914, served as a nurse in WWI, weathered The Depression while taking in homeless folks, helped build aircraft in WWII, survived widowhood and a double mastectomy and then was so hardened by it all as to force me to pull weeds in her garden and to force me to eat my greens. I guess she was a bit of a hick compared to our sophisticated Labour and Green MPs. And I guess these MPs know better than I that my mum was actually being criminally violent and abusive to me and my four siblings when she smacked us into line, forcing us to work so hard and to study so much we couldn’t fully enjoy the rampant drug use, anti-war protests and promiscuity of our California community of the late 1960s. How could Mum be so mean as to make us become things like a Doctor of Dental Surgery, an Olympic level horse rider and trainer, a Public Relations manager for Apple Computers?

If Bradford’s Bill is passed, my children will need to look back upon Mum and Grandma as perverted sickos for forcibly correcting us kids when we cussed, cheated, thieved, beat each other up or failed to cheerfully offer assistance to others. And my wife and I have this quarter-century habit of forcibly correcting our children for the same things. Are we now to become criminals for doing so?

Have 80% of us Kiwis got it wrong? Is it we who are confused? Is it dumb of us to believe that our core job as parents is to correct and discipline our children so that our neighbours can walk through our neighbourhood in perfect safety or call upon us for help at any time? No. The screwy ideology to thoroughly subvert parental authority and make us all into criminals is wrapped up in this Bill and the shoddy propaganda pushing it. Dump Bradford’s Bill. Leave Section 59 intact, just as it is.

Craig Smith National Director Family Integrity


Our Home….Our Castle4 Tawa Street
Palmerston North
New Zealand
Phone: (06) 357-4399
or (06) 354-7699
Fax: (06) 357-4399
email: barbara@hef.org.nz
web site: www.hef.org.nz

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