13 – 19 March 2007

19 March 2007 – Questions the media will not ask concerning the Bradford/Labour anti-parenting, home-invasion bill

19 March 2007 – Questions the media will not ask concerning the Bradford/Labour anti-parenting, home-invasion bill


Questions the media will not ask concerning the Bradford/Labour anti-parenting, home-invasion bill
Garnet Milne

1. If John Key will vote according to the wishes of his electorate, will he promise to repeal the anti-smacking bill if National gain power in the next election?

2. Since Helen Clark and Sue Bradford have both lied by claiming that the anti-smacking bill will not ban smacking, will Katherine Rich and the other National party social engineering stooges now vote against the bill since it is being promoted on false pretences?

3. How can Helen Clark and Sue Bradford be believed that they are concerned about children getting smacked when they both support the ultimate violence of death for the unborn? Both support abortion on demand which involves sucking and cutting up of little babies in their mothers’ wombs?

4. How can Helen Clark claim that she believes in tolerance and freedom and yet binds the consciences of her MPs by forcing them to vote for the Sue Bradford anti-parenting bill?

5. Will Helen Clark and Sue Bradford support a CYFs regime which will remove children from families, placing them in foster homes, if the parents insist on retaining the right to lightly smack their children for the purposes of correction?

6. Will Helen Clark and Sue Bradford concur that the police should be able to prosecute parents who insist on retaining the right to lightly smack their children for the purposes of correction? And will Clark and Bradford approve of such parents being fined or sent to prison for such an ‘offence’?

19 March 2007 – United Future NZ Party – How misleading can you get?

19 March 2007 – United Future NZ Party – How misleading can you get?
How misleading can you get?
Monday, 19 March 2007, 3:56 pm
Press Release: United Future NZ Party
Gordon Copeland Press Release
For Immediate Release
Monday, 19th March 2007

How misleading can you get?

United Future MP Gordon Copeland today expressed his dismay at the misleading nature of an information sheet which is being circulated by Labour MPs in reply to correspondence on Sue Bradford’s ‘Anti-Parental-Correction Bill’.

“I assume that the source of this disinformation sheet is Labour MP Russell Fairbrother’s speech to the House during the Committee stage of the Bill,” said Mr Copeland.

“It is utter rubbish. The claim is made that for over 110 years parents who have smacked their children have committed the crime of assault and those that have sent their child to its bedroom have committed the crime of kidnapping!”

“They have not. Section 59 of the current Crimes Act specifically states that a parent is “justified in using force by way of correction towards the child, if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances”. The important word is “justified”. It is defined in the Crimes Act as follows: “Justified, in relation to any person, means not guilty of an offence and not liable to any civil proceeding”.”

“Therefore, as everybody in New Zealand, apart from Labour’s MPs, knows light smacking and ‘time-out’ are not presently criminal activities in New Zealand.”

“That is the whole point. Sue Bradford’s Bill removes the justification of reasonable force if used “for the purpose of correction”. Accordingly it is crystal clear that light smacking and ‘time-out’ will constitute the crime of assault in New Zealand for the first time should this misguided Bill become the law of the land.”


19 March 2007 – When should Christians get political?

19 March 2007 – When should Christians get political?

Monday, March 19, 2007
When should Christians get political?
On one hand, Christianity is not party political. It is not beholden to the Right or to the Left of politics. The Lordship of Jesus over all cannot be summarised by a political approach. It is too big for that – and perhaps there is more than one way to conduct a society that reflects the values of the Kingdom of God.

On the other, because Jesus is Lord of all, Christians must be political in the broader sense (for a helpful article by John Dickson on this click here). We must love our neighbour in society – by engaging in the dialogue politics is – on the nature of ‘the good’ of society. What good are we seeking, and what means will best bring it?

Probably, the biggest caution to Christian involvement is that the church has an agenda far bigger than politics can encompass. It draws people from every nation, tribe and tongue and submits itself to the lordship of Christ. We will not agree on every approach to politics, and there is a danger of turning a platform of ‘All one in Christ Jesus’ into a platform of ‘All one in…’ (fill in the blank). We must give a broad margin of political freedom to Christian brothers and sisters.

However, each Christian must take responsibility to speak the truth in love – and not just in the context of church. After listening hard to our public debate, after carefully investigating the claims being made, we are all called to make judgements. To leave the field to others is to abdicate responsibility. We are not left that option.

Recently, the New Zealand parliament addressed itself to a bill that aims to remove the defence parents currently have against charges of assault for using force in disciplining their children. It provided a defence for parents who use some kind of minimum level of force to teach and to discipline their children. It was left up to juries to evaluate whether this was reasonable force or not. The defence was used successfully less than 10 times in its history.

So the proposal is to remove this defence. To say force is never legitimate discipline – on the grounds that all force is violence. And to demonstrate their commitment to this non-violent approach, they will empower the State to use force against parents who do so! Ironies abound….But the nightmare for parents who believe that in some cases some use of physical force is required to discipline their children – is that this will provide clear grounds for removal of children from their parents.

The proponents claim that this simply won’t happen. That Police will not act in this way. Unfortunately (a) the Police have not backed them up on this claim and (b) whether or not the power is used, the power is there in law ready to be used whenever community opinion shifts. Parents are expected to hope that Police will make judgement calls not to prosecute parents whilst we would expect as common sense would have no legal protection in law.

Peter Collier, assistant minister at St John’s Latimer Square in Christchurch has decided that this issue is too big to stay silent on. He has now spoken and written publicly against it. I think what he has to say is both compelling and disturbing – and would encourage others to read it and write to their politicians. In particular I’d encourage people to tell their politicians clearly that they will not vote for any party that supports this bill or that opposes the Burrows amendment (an attempt to distinguish between light smacking and abuse).

What are your thoughts?

19 March 2007 – Ruby Harrold-Claesson – The smacking ban: A dangerous law

Dear Editor,

I the undersigned, Ruby Harrold-Claesson, attorney-at-law in Gothenburg, Sweden and president of the NCHR (www.nkmr.org) am hereby sending you my reaction to the articles “Police prepare rules to act on smacks” that was printed in the Dominion Post on March 14, 2007 and the Gisborne Herald article (17/3) “New bill ‘unlikely’ to drastically lift police workload” of March 17, 2007.

Very truly yours

Ruby Harrold-Claesson
Attorney at law
President or the NKMR/NCHR

The smacking ban: A dangerous law
Ruby Harrold-Claesson, attorney-at-law, president of the NCHR

In the Dominion Post article (14/3) “Police prepare rules to act on smacks” the New Zealand public is informed that police chiefs are preparing to send out guidelines for dealing with complaints about smacking as the bill outlawing the use of physical punishment as the final vote draws nearer. The Gisborne Herald article (17/3) “New bill ‘unlikely’ to drastically lift police workload” is based on a quotation from Police Minister Annette King. The Police Minister’s views are quite irrelevant because the police, prosecutors and the criminal justice system are obliged to enforce the letter of the law. Thinking New Zealanders have known all along that the proposed law would lead would lead to policing and criminalising responsible parents. Being a lawyer in Sweden under the regime of the anti-smacking law, I have known that all along, and I am still trying to warn New Zealand before it is too late: The anti smacking bill will turn parents into criminals. If the Bill becomes law it will mean the abolition of parental authority. That is exactly what the Editor of the Swedish newspaper The Day, (Dagen) wrote in his editorial “An unnecessary law” on November 11, 1978, http://www.storesonline.com/members/846699/uploaded/EN_ON%D6DIG_LAGupdated.doc. Read also John McNeil’s article “The Anti smacking bill will turn parents into criminals” published in Challenge Weekly http://nightwatchworldnews.blogspot.com/2007/02/4181.html.

In Sweden the supporters of the Bill – the law was passed by 344 of 350 votes “to protect children from abuse” – claimed that no parent would be prosecuted under the anti-smacking law because it was promulgated in the Parents and guardianship Code. However, When I state in lectures, debates or public talks, etc., that the anti-smacking law is invoked to support the criminal charges against the parents and that the law has made parents afraid of their children, that the children intimidate their parents by threatening to report them to the police and the social services, etc., my opponents say that I am scaremongering or that I don’t know what I am talking about. However, my statement is confirmed in the article “European Report: Mummy and Daddy spare rod — or go to court”, published in 2000. Well, there you have it. See http://www.corpun.com/eud00002.htm.

In a government-funded speech in February 2006, Joan Durrant, claimed that Sweden’s smacking ban has reduced child abuse to “virtually zero”. See http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10368213. The ideological advocates, led by Sue Bradford, claim that a smacking ban will reduce child abuse in New Zealand. However, Dr. Chris Beckett’s paper (2005), that bears the title: ‘The Swedish Myth: The Corporal Punishment Ban and Child Death Statistics’, shows that it did not reduce child abuse nor child homicides. It is just a myth. See http://www.storesonline.com/members/846699/uploaded/Child_deaths_in_Sweden.pdf.
Dr. Bob Larzelere has shown that in Sweden, trends indicate sharply increasing rates of physical child abuse, at least in criminal records of assaults by relatives against children under the age of seven (7). This frequency increased from 99 in 1981 to 583 in 1994, a 489% increase. On February 28, 2007, Family First published a press release informing of a “14% Increase in Child Abuse despite Swedish Smacking Ban”. These are the latest figures from Sweden revealing that more children were abused in Sweden in 2006 compared with the 2005 figures, according to The Swedish Daily. See http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0702/S00378.htm.

Since 1978 – the year before the anti-smacking Bill gained force of law – until today, thousands of parents have been reported, accused, arrested by the police, detained, tried in courts of law and sentenced to fines or prison as a result of the said law. Christian Diesen, a professor in Sweden was quoted in an article in the NZ Herald saying: “Approximately 7000 cases [of beating children] are reported each year, but only 10 per cent lead to prosecution…” It would seem that Diesen would like to see more parents prosecuted. Anyway, ten per cent gives the grand total of 700 cases per annum multiplied by 27 years, makes 18 900 prosecutions for child abuse from 1979 until 2006. The number of prosecutions may seem small, but the 7 000 reports multiplied by 27 years brings the number of families that have been affected to 189 000. In unsubstantiated cases, suspected physical abuse of children is transformed into factual administrative and mental abuse of the children and their parents.

Swedish case law bears ample evidence of the devastating effects the anti-smacking law has had on children and their parents and the Swedish society as a whole. The case with the family of seven children in the south of Sweden shows that even if the parent has been acquitted in the criminal case, the children are taken into care and placed in foster care. It therefore seems quite obvious that the Select Committee – of which Sue Bradford was a member and thus could exert undue influence – did not examine the Swedish case law that I presented at the oral hearing, otherwise Parliament would have voted against the Bill at the second reading.

For those who aren’t yet acquainted with Swedish case law on smacking, here are two interesting cases: 1 – On June 17, 2000 a father was finally acquitted in the Court of Appeal for Western Sweden for physically forcing his 11-yr old son to take a shower before returning home to his mother in the Autumn of 1997. The District court found that the father had assaulted his son when he led him bodily to the shower.

2 – On May 5, 2005, the Court of Appeal for Western Sweden found a step-father guilty of abuse for slapping his 15-yr old step-daughter who had spat in his face. The step-father had been acquitted in Varberg District court in October 2004.

Prosecuting parents for physically forcing or punishing their children when words and admonitions prove to be insufficient is in no way in the best interest of children – neither in Sweden nor in New Zealand. It is, and must remain, the parents’ duty and right to educate and socialise their children within the context of their family.

Who has the right to decide what is right? The politicians or the parents who know and love their children and want what is best for them? Sweden’s politicians decided what was right and best for the children of Sweden, and the parents were forced to abdicate or be dragged through the criminal and administrative court systems. Today both parents and children suffer at the hands of the social bureaucracy with the right to separate children from their “abusive” parents and put them in foster homes. However, separating children from their parents constitutes the greatest abuse – both physical and emotional – that can be inflicted on children and their families.

The right to respect for private and family life is a basic Human Right. Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates:

“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

Likewise, Article 16 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees:

“1. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.
2. The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

Sue Bradford’s Bill to criminalise smacking is pure and simple state intervention and interference in the family structure, typical for regimes that aim to break down the family, undermine parental authority and make children the property of the state – to be used and abused at will by the bureaucrats in what they claim to be “the child’s best interest”.

I have been criticised for saying that Swedish children are badly behaved. Well, I am not the only one who finds that Swedish children are badly behaved. See for eg Roger Lord’s article “The children are embarrassing Sweden” http://www.nkmr.org/english/the_children_are_embarrassing_sweden.htm, and Linda Skugge’s article “We are bringing up a generation of monsters” http://www.nkmr.org/english/we_are_bringing_up_a_generation_of_monsters.htm. Also, contact the Swedish Foreign Office in Stockholm and ask them to supply you with the correspondence between the former Head of the Legal Department, Hans Corell, and the Swedish consuls in continental Europe concerning “Swedish youths’ behaviour during the sport holidays in the Alps”. 1991-01-22 is the date on one of Hans Corell’s letters.

To normal thinking people, a well-behaved child is a joy to its parents, friends and the community at large; a badly behaved child is an abomination. The Daily Mail, March 13, 2007, has published the article, “The terror aged ten”, about the 10-yr old boy who drinks, smokes pot, steals and terrorises his neighbourhood. See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=441819&in_page_id=1770
Some of those who have commented on the article think that the boy’s parents should be made answerable for his behaviour.

Sue Bradford has extensive, personal experience of being arrested by the police, detained, tried in courts of law and sentenced to prison. It seems that she wants decent, loving, caring parents to share her experiences.

I am convinced that New Zealand has enough intelligent, level-headed politicians so they will not want their fellow citizens to have to make the same mistakes that Sweden has made. Bradford’s Bill is not being progressive; it is being destructive and repressive. The French reporter, Jean-Francis Held, wrote the article “Smacking: Those Swedes must be crazy!”

I hope we will not have to read the article: “Smacking: Those Kiwis must be crazy!”

By the way, if the New Zealand MP’s want to follow Sweden’s example, then I can inform you that we had a change of government in October 2006.

Gothenburg, Sweden
March 19, 2007.

19 March 2007 – Coalition Against Nanny State’s Anti-Smacking Law – March on Parliament To Protest Anti-Smacking Bill

March on Parliment To Protest Anti-Smacking Bill
Monday, 19 March 2007, 12:39 pm
Press Release: Coalition Against Nanny State’s Anti-Smacking Law
Anti Smacking Bill

Public March on Parliament To Protest Anti-Smacking Bill

“Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Abraham Lincoln once used these golden words to describe the purpose of politicians in a free society. Yet with polls now showing over 80% of New Zealanders in opposition to Sue Bradford’s proposed anti-smacking bill, it is clear that our current government no longer understands why they have been elected. In accordance with another cornerstone of a free society, freedom of speech and freedom to dissent, Coalition Against Nanny State’s Anti-Smacking Law (CANSAL) will be staging a peaceful march on Parliament to remind our politicians just whom they are elected to serve.

Sue Bradford’s bill, proposing to remove the right of parents to use a smack as a form of correction for children, will turn loving parents into criminals. The bill strikes at the very foundations of the family structure. Will parents who choose to smack be ‘ratted out,’ Soviet-style, by teachers or neighbours? The proposed law would compel the police to get involved in cases where they have no place – wasting valuable time and resources – and give them no discretion, as they themselves have said, as to whether they use common sense in deciding whether to arrest. Indeed, being that one of the jobs of MPs when passing laws is to make them unambiguous, it is outrageous that the police are now going to be put in an even more uncertain position. This will subject the police to more and more public anger – hardly what they need.

I, like many other New Zealanders, was smacked as a child when I deserved it. To think that my parents could have been taken away from me for their actions in correcting me is incomprehensible. What we have now is government of the people, by the Politically Correct, for the Politically Correct. The bureaucrats have stolen our cash, they have interfered with our property, and now they are trying to invade our homes. It’s time to push back. The present law allowing “reasonable force” should be left intact.

The protest march will start at Civic Square at noon on Wednesday 28 March.


Coalition Against Nanny State’s Anti-Smacking Law

March 2007 – Time to Protect Our Children From The State

March 2007 – Time to Protect Our Children From The State
Time to Protect Our Children From The State
A Time for Action

Dear Friends,

Since I begun public ministry 13 years ago, I have (quite deliberately!) refrained from making comments which obviously support or oppose any political party. The two main reasons for this have been a belief that largely the issues are not nearly as significant as they are made out to be by our media (Jesus rising from the dead is the real news), and also because on almost every issue a certain liberty of opinion amongst Christians appears to me to be warranted.

It is no small thing therefore that I write to express my political opinion and encourage you to at least consider sharing it or be sympathetic with those who share it. I do acknowledge Christians may in good conscience disagree with me; I hope that expressing my opinion does not create an environment where any opposing view is considered ungodly. I also acknowledge that I am not writing to express ‘the opinion of St John’s’, but merely my own opinion.

Nevertheless, I have felt convicted that there is an issue before the New Zealand government of sufficient magnitude and impact upon the lives of Christian people that I must express a political opinion. It relates to the private members Bill which has been introduced by Sue Bradford which has become known as the Anti-Smacking Bill.

Let me explain my reasons for opposing this Bill.

As a Christian person I try to pray at least weekly for the Prime Minister of New Zealand and all those in authority – particularly in government – in our country, that they will govern in such a way that Christian people can ‘live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness’. The Bible encourages Christians to do this in 1 Timothy 2:2. What this means is that I pray that the government will make decisions that Christians are able to submit in good conscience without having to defy the government’s authority. That is what is meant by living ‘quiet’ lives: it is not talking about Christians turning their music down low; rather it speaks of Christians not having to defy their authorities in order to obey God.

It is my belief that this change in the law will make it impossible for some Christians to live ‘quiet’ lives in all godliness and holiness any longer. For some Christians, they will in all good conscience have to defy the laws of the country, believing in good conscience the Bible so urges them to discipline their children with a smack if necessary that it would be unloving to do so; and they must obey God and not human authorities at this point. This will put them in breach of the law, and put them in danger of things like having a criminal record for abuse against children, having their children taken off them and/or imprisonment. In short, it enables the state to imprison Christians for doing what they believe is godly.

There is clearly some disagreement over whether smacking to discipline is harmful or beneficial, and certainly some Christian parents do not believe it is beneficial to use force to discipline. The argument usually is ‘hitting is always wrong’; ‘it is teaches children to use violence’, etc. Let me explain briefly therefore why some Christians (me included) believe smacking to discipline their child is actually what God encourages them to do as loving parents.

Christian parents are encouraged to raise their children ‘in the training and instruction of the Lord’ – Ephesians 6:4. This clearly involves teaching the information about the Christian faith, but clearly it involves far more than that too. It involves ‘training’. There is a book in the Old Testament, the Book of Proverbs, which is an entire book from a father to his son giving him wise advice about how to live his life. Several times the writer makes the point that ignoring discipline is foolish, and can lead to poverty and shame, while heeding discipline can lead to honour (13:18). The question then comes about how to teach a child discipline. Here the writer of proverbs says that to spare a child physical force to discipline actually spoils a child, while a parent who loves their child will be careful to discipline him. That is, they won’t randomly ‘use violence’. Rather, they will use physical force to discipline their child in exactly the same way a coach will encourage physical hardship to discipline a sportsperson. The writer of the proverbs acknowledges that it is easier for a parent to avoid doing this but that it won’t harm the child nearly as much as neglecting to do it.

The picture proverbs gives then, is clear. Using physical force to train a child teaches them how to appropriately relate to authorities. It teaches them that to defy authority will ultimately have physical consequences, and will discourage them from foolishly thinking they can do things their way and get away with it without consequences. This has benefit for their relationship to all authorities (which is actually a very good thing for governments!), including God. Proverbs 23:14 says, ‘Punish with the rod and save his soul from death’. These words are not to be taken precisely as a guaranteed formula – here is how to ensure your child goes to heaven. However, implied in the verse is that to train your child that rebelling against authorities brings punishment will be helpful in encouraging them to not rebel against God. In other words, it is part of ‘training and instruction in the Lord’. For some Christians, then, to avoid using physical force to discipline their child is not a negotiable; for them, it would be unloving and to abuse their children by neglect if they were not to be able to use force to discipline their child.

Sue Bradford’s Bill is aimed at ruling out the use of force to discipline a child. Force will be able to be used when a child is in danger, but not for discipline. The current amendment to the Bill of Chester Borrows before the House is trying to make it clear that using force to discipline is acceptable, and tries to define what is acceptable force (only an open hand for a smack). Currently it is believed the Borrows amendment will pass. The law will therefore make it illegal for parents to use force to discipline their children and some Christian parents will therefore be breaking the law to do what before God they believe is loving. The State is therefore given the power to imprison them and take their children off them.

There is discussion as to whether or not the law change which Sue Bradford is suggesting will result in this. However, I believe it is naïve to think otherwise. It may not happen the moment the Bill is passed; but more likely it will happen a generation after the Bill is passed. That changes in legislation work this way can be seen in the changes to laws about corporal punishment in schools. That law was changed 20 years ago. It would have been unthinkable at the time to close schools where all the parents had agreed that their children could receive corporal punishment. Yet today two schools with otherwise excellent reputations face closure because of this law change. When Sue Bradford was asked about what should happen in this situation she simply said, ‘I believe the law should be upheld.’ It is naïve to think that in 20 years time from now when a parent is charged with assault for smacking their child that exactly the same thing won’t be said: ‘The law should be upheld’.

There is also discussion as to whether or not the police will bother to prosecute parents who smack their children to discipline them. Those promoting the Bill are insisting they will not. We ought not assume they are not being deceptive. In the same week they have said the Bill will make smacking illegal but that it is not an anti-smacking Bill. Very significantly, the police have said they will have to investigate any claim that is made. And while they may not have the time to investigate these claims, it is more likely that Child Youth and Family Services will. They are not required to acquire as much burden of proof as the police in order to act on reported child abuse. It is far too important an issue to simply trust the lame reassurances of those who have introduced the Bill that parents will not in time be criminalized. The Bill has been introduced quite deliberately to make the use of physical force to discipline children illegal.

In response to letters I have sent to Members of Parliament, some members have sent me an article titled, ‘It has always been illegal’. The thrust of this article is that smacking a child has always constituted assault and putting children in timeout has always constituted kidnapping. It has only been the common sense of the police that has meant that people have not been charged with assault or kidnapping. This argument to me seems deceitful, however. If smacking is already a crime, then the law does not need to be changed – rather police behaviour needs to be addressed. The fact is that it is not currently illegal. The police know that Section 59 provides a defence for parents who smack children and so they would be wasting their time to bring them to court. Its repeal will mean that parents smacking to discipline their children will have no such protection and so police would have more reason to act on complaints about smacking.

This then raises another very important issue which the Christian understanding of humans gives very important insight. It is that humans in positions of power cannot necessarily be trusted. For me personally, I am more prepared to trust that parents will be eager to treat their own children with respect than I am to trust that government officials respect parents. There may be all sorts of reasons why government officials would not respect the rights of parents (after all, the government is passing the current bill against the majority of parental opinion). On the other hand, parents look after their children for hours on end, year in year out and without pay. This shows a love for their children which state officials cannot match.

These two reasons, then, make me very anxious about the legislation: Christians seeking to live godly lives will be breaking the law and the government officials cannot be trusted to treat them fairly.

But there are further reasons also.

The legislation shows dramatic hypocrisy from the state which is quite terrifying. The state reserves the right to use force to exercise its authority, yet it denies parents this right. If the government truly believed that it was wrong to use reasonable force then it would be consistent and first and foremost refrain from using reasonable force itself. It will abolish the police force and replace it with a counseling service! The state is not living by its own rules, which is terrifying (police have been given more powers recently to use Tazar guns). If it truly believed that ‘a strong message needs to be sent that it is not right to hit anyone’, then first and foremost the state ought to rule out using force itself.

Some argue that it is wrong that the state doesn’t protect small children from the assault which it protects adults. It is suggested that hitting a child is always violent and therefore it is always wrong. We see the complete nonsense of this position on the sporting field. To insist that always hitting a person constitutes assault would mean that rugby coaches would not be able to demonstrate how to tackle. Nor would police be able to use force to arrest anybody. Further, the state is again being hypocritical at this point. If it wishes to give children equal rights before the state, then children must be given the vote first. This is clearly not happening which shows further hypocrisy of the state.

A particular inconsistency with the Bradford Bill is the fact that it permits using ‘reasonable force’ when children are in danger and several other situations. This acknowledges (to use the inflammatory language of some) that violence is perfectly acceptable in certain circumstances. The issue then is not that ‘violence’ is unacceptable. Rather the distinction is that it is quite legitimate – even necessary – to prevent harmful behaviour, but it is illegitimate to be used to train in non-harmful behaviour. The ‘splitting hairs’ nature of this distinction is why advocates of this Bill say one minute it will make smacking illegal and the next that it won’t. (If they can’t work out a straight answer to the question of smacking, how will parents know what to do at 3am in the morning?) To make it possible for parents to be made criminals and have their children removed from them on the basis of such a fine distinction is again to give frightening power to the state. After all – who will decide if the child was putting their hand in the toaster or simply banging the toaster? Most likely, a CYFS worker. Even in todays newspaper (18/03/07), strong criticisms are being made about the mishandling of matters by the CYFS; to hand this department the decision of whether or not a child should remain with their parents simply on the basis of whether or not they smack to discipline their child is to give them a responsibility far beyond their ability to cope.

Of course the ultimate hypocrisy in the state insisting it is defending the rights of children by saying it is not right to hit a child is that the state also says it is perfectly acceptable to kill a child, provided they are inside a mothers womb. The only difference is the age of the child. One day a child can be killed on a whim, the next it is not allowed to be smacked for disciplinary purposes. The hypocrisy of the state to condemn parents who smack at this point is breathtaking.

Whether or not a person agrees with children being disciplined by smacking, I believe they ought to share these grave concerns about the powers the state is giving itself. In the end it legalizes a far greater child abuse than smacking: that of taking parents off children who smack their children to discipline. To give themselves the power to do this under the mistaken banner of ‘acting on child abuse’ ought to cause fear in all citizens. A proven way to act on child abuse is to reduce substance abuse; if the state was serious about using legislation to prevent child abuse, it would again the legal age of drinking. Instead it has done the opposite. Other issues such as family breakdown are also far more related to child abuse; again, the government could make marriage legislation tighter if it was serious about legislating to help reduce child abuse. Instead, all it is doing is making criminals of good parents.

Some disagree with this and say section 59 can be used as an escape clause for abusive parents. It needs to be kept in mind that Section 59 has only been used to vindicate parents less than 10 times in total. We would be unwise to simply conclude the force used was ‘unreasonable’ in these few cases. Section 59 has protected untold numbers of children from having their parents unfairly prosecuted or suffer the agony of dangerous allegations.

There are further reasons however why I believe smacking as a means of discipline ought not be outlawed.

The first is the educative purpose of the law. While those in favour of this legislation know that for a time at least parents may not be prosecuted for smacking their children to discipline them, they also know that the law serves an educative purpose as well as a legislative one. That is, it will no longer be legal to teach people to smack their children in order to discipline them; at the same time, all information given to parents about disciplining children will speak against smacking them for disciplinary purposes. This is why legislation that is passed in one generation in controversial circumstances is often quietly agreed to by the next generation. Opposing views become illegal. It will become harder to teach what the Bible says about using physical force to discipline.

Even leaving the Bible aside, in the case of smacking, it could easily be argued that it is not in the best interests of New Zealand to suppress education about smacking. Where smacking has been banned in Sweden, it has been accompanied by an increase in violence against children. I understand Otago University has conducted a study that shows that smacking may produce better outcomes in children; some suggest it actually prevents adults from resorting to damaging abuse. While no study is perfect, and evidence could be used the other way, the current legislation removes the right of the parent to determine what they believe is best for the child. I would argue a parent has a right to chose how they wish to train their child as they love their child more than the state does. Furthermore, to take this right away from them actually discourages parents from taking responsibility for their children which in fact will ultimately be more harmful for society. A far better approach to reducing child abuse would be to encourage parents to take responsibility for their children by avoiding substance abuse, for example.

Parents who do abuse their power are in exactly the same position before the law as police who abuse citizens; there is legislation to deal with them. There is clearly a difference between a policeman who legitimately uses force to enforce the rule of law and a policeman who abuses citizens in enforcing the law. Exactly the same difference can be observed between parents who smack their children and parents who abuse their children.

This leads to the final factor which has encouraged me to ‘go political’ over this issue, which is the ability of the New Zealand parliamentary system to enforce legislation which is clearly against prevailing opinion. This is clear evidence of the state exerting its authority over citizens. It is an alarming trend to see much legislation being passed which is opposed by more than three quarters of the ‘electorate’. This has led me to do some (fairly basic research) into the political system. As far as I can see, voters in the MMP system do not have a great deal of power; legislation can frequently be passed which most disagree with. The only hope restraining the state and the legislation it is enforcing is to not vote for those who bring in the legislation at the next election. As I write, the Sue Bradford Bill has not been passed but it is assumed that it will. It seems to me that the only recourse that is left to me is to write to all the members of parliament who are intending to pass the Bill that I will not vote for them if they pass it, or their party if it votes for it as a block; and also that I will be discouraging people from voting for them.
That may be the last hope I have to resist the state from taking away my child.

In my nearly twenty years as an eligible voter, there has not been a political issue of anywhere near this magnitude. For the first time that I am aware of, godliness will be made illegal. For this reason, I am therefore prepared to support any person or party who seek to repeal it and I am prepared to oppose any person or party which endorses it.

Therefore, this week I have written to all the Members of Parliament to tell them how I will vote and that I will be encouraging others to do the same.

Those who have supported this Bill are:
The Labour Party
The Greens Party
The Maori Party
2 Members of New Zealand First
Jim Anderton
Peter Dunne

Those who have opposed the Bill have been:
National (a few national members have voted in support of the Bill)
2 United Future members
4 members of New Zealand First.

I have encouraged these members to adopt as policy the repeal of the Sue Bradford Bill at the next election (assuming it will pass).

I would encourage you to do the same, and to carry through on your promise at the next election.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Peter Collier

Posted by Peter Collier at 9:09 PM 2 comments

Letter to The Press 16/03/07
Dear Sir,

The proposed Bradford legislation has not only revealed attitudes about children in New Zealand. It has also revealed the demeaning and hypocritical attitudes of the powerful elite behind such legislation. ‘It is only through [seemingly invasive] legislation that real social changes have .. become embedded in society’ writes Raf Manji. In other words, don’t worry about having to convince people with persuasive arguments; completely ignore what the citizens are saying. Instead, make it possible to lock people up and forcibly take their children off you them for disagreeing with you. Then self-righteously and patronizingly complete the hypocrisy by telling them to not be lazy parents, to listen better and to not use violence.

I’ll accept the state’s right to tell me to listen instead of using reasonable force when the state gives up its right to use reasonable force, preferring instead to only ever listen more carefully. The Bradford Bill has created a new form of violence in our society: citizen abuse. Victims have only one avenue of support: to never again vote for a person or party that has perpetrated such abuse.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Collier

19 March 2007 – Borrows Confident Of Smacking Support

19 March 2007 – Borrows Confident Of Smacking Support
Borrows Confident Of Smacking Support
Monday, 19 March 2007, 8:38 am
Article: Agenda

National MP Chester Borrows says he is confident his amendment to Sue Bradford’s ‘anti-smacking’ bill will gain the support of Parliament.

Speaking on TVOne’s Agenda programme, Mr Borrows was confident his amendment bill would pass.

When asked if he thought he had the support to get his bill through the House, Mr Borrows replied;

“Yeah I think we can, it depends on what support we get and who’s prepared to stand up and be counted.”

He suggested Prime Minister Helen Clark should act on her 2005 election comments and vote for the bill.

“If the PM really wants to achieve what she said in 2005 she’ll be voting for my amendment, and not Sue’s [Bradford] bill.”

17 March 2007 – The Press – Being smacked no big deal – poll

17 March 2007 – The Press – Being smacked no big deal – poll
Being smacked no big deal – poll
The Press | Saturday, 17 March 2007

An overwhelming majority of people smacked as a child report that the discipline had no lasting emotional impact, according to a special Press website poll

The continuing poll on www. press.co.nz showed that by Monday lunchtime, some 70 per cent of the 1500 respondents had been occasionally smacked by their parents and felt it was “no big deal”.

Just 4% said they were occasionally smacked and really resented it.

About 21% said they were smacked hard and never thought about it, while around 5% said they were smacked hard and the trauma was still there.

The findings of the poll were borne out by a large number of emails sent to www. press.co.nz. And many criticise the anti-smacking legislation now before Parliament.


We 5 boys were “smacked hard”, stock whip and razor strop. There are no criminals amongst us and we all respect people in authority even to this day. If this Bill is passed, then in line with the Treaty of Waitangi, we can take a retrospective claim against the Government for damages, yeah right. Does one have to have 72 convictions against one to get any Bill through Parliament.

Both my husband and I were smacked as children, it was no big deal. A smack never hurt anyone, except the child’s pride. There is a big difference between giving a child a smack, and “beating them up”. The problem with a lot of kids today is that there is no discipline in the home, therefore no boundaries. Thats why there are kids today, out of control and what are they going to be like as adults? If we were starting out again, we would think twice about having children.

My parents were diligent in teaching me right from wrong and how to grow up to be a responsible member or society with respect for the elderly and for others. The occasional hard smack I received was for mainly disobedience, lying, or any form of dishonesty. This proved to me that my parents really loved and cared about me, and I am extremely grateful that I have had parents who did not let me go my own way. These qualities that I was taught of love and respect we have passed on to our own children who have their own children now and who come and thank us for the way we taught them even with the occasional smack. Smacking did more good than harm and I would hate to see it outlawed. What kind of a rebellious generation would be looking after us in our old age then??

I am one of those people who received appropriate smacking as a child from my parents and am not in the slightest concerned about it. Boarding school was another story, because there was not the same level of love for me as an individual, and so at times the smacking felt like it had an element of injustice in it. Certainly did not kill me though. I have raised 3 kids, all at university now. One doing a phd, another in medical school. Third just started her B Coms. All have been smacked and all are turning out balanced, contributing, functional adults. I am rightly proud of my kids and would not have it any other way!

I was smacked as a child. It did me no harm, and definitely acted as a deterrent to me misbehaving. My mother said she disciplined me because she loved me and administered the smack in a self controlled calm way. It is a quick, simple, effective form of punishment. I read in the press that Sue Bradford’s daughter was yelled at when correction was required. What would you prefer – a household where everyone one is yelling verbal abuse at each other or a peaceful house where the children are behaving (most of the time!)? I’m not saying that smacking is the only way to discipline our children. Taking the cellphone away form our eldest daughter works as well!

Careful calm smacking is the quickest, and most effective way to teach a child that painful consequences can ensue upon certain proscribed acts. This method is no longer used once an action’s consequences can be explained and conceived by the child when older. If the young child learns to ignore prohibitions with impunity, then he or she carries on doing whatever they want until they find that their body is taken in hand by physical force by another authority, the Police and court system. We now see the terrible consequences of our young people being unable to consider the consequences of their actions or exercising self-control. Many parents now are not mature enough themselves to smack judiciously and wisely, but making those who are mature enough liable for prosecution will further exacerbate the situation, and give the children who need firm authority the most just the weapon they need to triumph against their first experience of authority.

We strongly oppose the anti smacking bill of Sue Bradford Children need to be corrected. Its a parents duty.

I think the biggest issue inside this debate is that children are incapable of reasoned actions and consequene awareness. They need to learn at an early age that immediate obedience is required of parents, grand parents, school teachers. Why? because in a life threatening or dangerous situation, when a command is given for that child’s safety, the trained child will respond and be safe. The child who is accustomed to negotiation and debate will not respond quickly enough. The amount of times I have seen parents giving instructions, to be completely ignored is quite frightening. The concern of some, for the safety of a few, will have the long term effect of placing even more young lives in danger. And the abusers of children are not , nor ever have been the parents who use loving physical punishment.

I think the no smacking bill is silly. It will not stop the people that are beating their kids with fists etc, and their are laws to deal with that if a child is found to have been beaten. I was smacked as a kid, it help reinforce the fact that i did wrong. Time out does not work, it would have had not impact on me (or my sister). The smacking was never excessive. But if a kid starts pulling items off the shop shelves on to the floor, a parent should be able to give a kid a short smack with a verbal correction like “no”. There are very few people that were given smacks as kids that are now murderers and rapists. Most of our current serious criminals either had no discipline or are the ones that were beaten very badly. If this bill passes we will in 7 to 15 years see a rise in youth crime.

i am a 70 year old who was disciplined as a child at home and at school if and when i deserved it. it certainly did me no harm but taught me to respect my elders and other peoples property. this respect carried through to my working life and served me well with regard to promotion. it also promoted respect from those people in my charge. this lack of respect is the biggest problem the young people of today face. it is the reason why there is such a big problem with youth crime and lawlessness. this all started in the schools many years ago when teachers taught their charges that they had individual rights and to stand up to thier parents if they tried to discipline them. so now we are all paying for that ill discipline fostered by the education system. it is time the government bought back Compulsory Military Training for all 18year olds female and male. this teachs you to respect and bond with your compatriots, to work as a team and to always have the others back. children need discipline to do well in thier future and for so many that, even now, is to late.

My wife and I were occasionly smacked and no big deal.

Sue Bradford asserts that discipling children by smacking is a violent act committed generally when the parent is angry. She confesses that she shouted at her own children and I would suggest that such shouting is as much if not more of an act of angry abuse as any smack. The things that stay with us through life are far more likely to be the vicious things said by parents and teachers rather than any smack. My parents will have given me a deserved smack as a child but I do not recall these incidents. I do remember, however, the belittling things said by my parents and my teachers. It would be interesting if The Press could go into archives and remind readers of the times when Sue Bradford as professional protester spent much of her time hurling abuse at the police and politicians. It is hypocritical to see her setting herself up as some type of model mother of the nation.

Despite the latest comments by Helan, Sue and Company that they are not banning smacking, the fact is they are and if the Police, Welfare or whoever take action you are gone. I was a long serving Police Officer, just a gentle push or even shouting at a person is assault if they believe they are in danger of harm. Parents have no defence apart from the discretion of the prosecuting authority. Remember the hysteria over repressed memories and the sexual abuse thing, SIPS were in there grabbing kids and breaking up families living out their own bad experiences. Lock up the abusers but leave our families alone Helen and Sue!

Here are my views; Sue Bradfords bill is just what Helen said last year on Shine TV, “against human nature” (shame she has changed her mind, and now it is not against human nature! this woman speaks with a forked tongue) children need clear boundaries, discipline, and love. an occasional smack is fine. Labour the Greens and the Maori Party have got it completely wrong. Issues like this should not be decided in such a political way, rather the best interests of the family and society should come before the interests of politicians. I am disgusted that they think they have the rigth to reach into peoples homes like this.

Thanks for an opportunity to comment. I am very uncomfortable with this bill being raced through. I believe it will arrive as a very unclear bill. And will criminalise many parents whose children are not in danger. Even if not prosecuted, they will be criminals. In testing and applying this bill, it will tie up police and CYF resources, potentially to an unreasonable degree. CYF services are already overstrained. It’s not that I endorse smacking as a child-rearing tactic. I do not like the underlying assumption that force is okay. Yet, – “Section 59′ DOES NOT give shelter for abuse of children; even if some cases defended under this have leaned towards “letting off” parents. I believe the current bill has been badly crafted, and is en route to becoming a bad piece of legislation. Current legislation is adequate and could be utilised better. I think it would be much better to spend some time in bringing the awareness of the people of New Zealand towards the philosophy underlying this bill, and to have a more reasonable process, for enacting a better bill.

17 March 2007 – New Zealand Herald – Bradford’s opponents taking to city streets

17 March 2007 – New Zealand Herald – Bradford’s opponents taking to city streets


Bradford’s opponents taking to city streets

Street marches are being planned around the country in a bid to turn the tide against the bill that would prevent parents from using reasonable force to discipline their children.
And pulpit messages against the anti-smacking bill, or at least urging church members to have their say, are expected to be delivered tomorrow.

Parliamentary debate stalled on Green MP Sue Bradford’s bill on Wednesday night, and will resume on March 28.

The bill – presented by opponents as a ban on smacking, a description rejected by its supporters – has polarised the community but appears likely to become law.

A posting on the Solo website, founded by right-wing political commentator Lindsay Perigo, advertises a march to Parliament on the day of the bill’s next debate.

Bob McCoskrie, national director of the Families First lobby group, which opposes the legislation, said yesterday that street marches in main centres were among moves to try to persuade MPs to vote against the Bradford bill.

“We’ve had lots of calls for a street march and we are considering that. That’s from around the country.”

Families First was negotiating with the author of the Solo posting and might join forces to organise marches in Auckland and other cities.

“We’re looking at simultaneous marches on the 28th. We need to get the pressure on early. There is huge energy. In just about every centre, we know of people itching to sign the petition.”

Two petitions are running on the issue, one of which asks if smacking as part of good parental correction should be a criminal offence. They will force a national referendum if they gain about 303,000 signatures.

Mr McCoskrie said other strategies being used were to lobby Labour MPs who “understand family life and what it’s like to be a parent”, asking them to demand from their caucus the freedom of a conscience vote in Parliament.

“We are fundraising to put the petition forms in major daily newspapers so that people have easier access to them because we are being inundated with inquiries as to how people can get access to the forms.”

Destiny Church spokesman Richard Lewis said copies of the petitions were in its churches. Destiny strongly endorsed it, and members were signing.

He said church leaders had frequently spoken to members about the bill, which the church opposed.

Geoff Macpherson, a Christchurch pastor in the Grace Presbyterian Church – which told MPs last year it opposed the bill because it “seeks to override our God-given responsibilities” – said yesterday that he expected to speak about it at church tomorrow but members were free to make up their own minds about the legislation.

“I think on Sunday I will be encouraging people to be aware they can get involved in the process and they should think about contacting their MP or writing an email.

17 March 2007 – The Southland Times – Southerners speak out against bill

17 March 2007 – The Southland Times – Southerners speak out against bill

Southerners speak out against bill

An overwhelming majority of southerners are opposed to a private member’s bill that could outlaw smacking as a means of disciplining children.

Most parents and children questioned yesterday by The Southland Times spoke against Green MP Sue Bradford’s bill, saying smacking was a necessary form of corrective behaviour.

But there was a limit to how far parents could go, they said.

One of the children spoken to, West Gore Primary School pupil Corina MacKenzie, 10, felt parents should not be allowed to smack children all the time – “just sometimes when they are really bad”.

Her mother Karen MacKenzie believed enforcing the law under the changes would be hard on police.

“Who’s to say what a light smack is?” The guidelines were not clear.

Invercargill’s Cameron Forde, 8 said : “I hate it (smacking).” Cameron said his mother often sent him and his siblings outside to play instead of smacking.

However, Cameron’s dad Phil took a different view. ” I think the idea of the Government being concerned about it (smacking) is good but to me it’s another instance of the Government telling New Zealanders what to do.” Meanwhile, a petition has been circulating in Queenstown over the past few days calling for a referendum on whether smacking should be a criminal offence.

The petition is the initiative of former United Future MP Larry Baldock. He spoke in Queenstown last night and will speak in Roxburgh tonight.

Otago MP Jacqui Dean said people had arrived in her office “shaking with rage” over the proposed new smacking legislation.

People were just starting to get their heads around the possibility of “CYF delving into our lives”.

National Party deputy leader Bill English said the people pushing the bill had implied that anyone opposed to it was in favour of violence against children. “If I said I’d smacked one of my kids after breakfast, they (police) would ask me if I did it for correction and if I did I would be prosecuted for assault.”

15 March 2007: from 3 March 2007 blog – Investigate Magazine June 2006 – THE SMACKING DEBATE: QC’S OPINIONS




INTRO: It is now a matter of public record that repealing s59 of the Crimes Act will make parents technically guilty of assault if they smack their children, but Investigate has discovered something even the Bill’s supporters hadn’t considered: it will also open parents to prosecution if they physically put a child into time out. IAN WISHART interviewed leading Queens Counsel about the legal dangers of the anti-smacking Bill:

To say it is shaping up as one of the ‘social engineering’ fights of the Government’s third term would be an understatement. The Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill promoted by Green MP Sue Bradford is pushing for a simple repeal of s59, the clause that gives parents a defence of “reasonable force” for the purposes of disciplining a child’s behaviour.

In a letter to the organization Family Integrity last year, police headquarters not only confirmed that even a simple smack would be an assault, but suggested that because the Crimes Act already has increased penalties for crimes against children, an assault on a child would be more serious than an assault on an adult, in police eyes.

But while commentators on both sides of the divide have discussed whether police would lay charges or not, no one has explored whether other forms of discipline could also run foul of the proposed new law.

To explore that specific issue, we asked a number of top QCs to comment on whether a parent who carried or dragged a resistant child to ‘time out’ would also be breaking the law:


I would be opposed to the [repeal of s59] because I think that the provision works entirely adequately as it is. If one puts political correctness to one side, and just deals with these cases on an objective and pragmatic basis, the law has stood the test of time and I would have thought most reasonable people would know full well when the line is crossed between reasonable discipline on the one hand, and crossing that line on the other.

So I would be opposed to it, and as one looks at the test now it is left to a jury to determine reasonableness. And being a fan of jury trials anyway, and being a fan of the commonsense of juries, that’s where I would leave it.

Q: What if a parent forcibly manhandles a 7 year old to another room to enforce time out. In your experience, could that be a prima facie assault?

A: Unquestionably! Not under the present statute of course, but those protections aside any unwanted touching, even threat of touching, can be an assault. It is so defined in the Crimes Act.

Q: What about the act of shutting a child in a bedroom or a garage for ten minutes to calm down. If the protection of reasonable force is removed, could that open a parent up to punishment for forcible detention?

A: Could do, I’d have to look at that more closely because that is a technical question, but it could do. If you remove the protection then you’re left with a child being a normal individual, and it would be no different from doing that to some stranger, I suppose.

Q: What advice would you give to law makers?

A: My advice would be ‘don’t repeal it’. I would be asking for examples where it doesn’t work well, or where it hasn’t worked.

Q: Do you have a fear that it could be used in marital break-ups, or as a reason to get CYFS involved in a family?

A: Well it could do. Although I don’t pretend to be a family lawyer I’m well aware of the fact that in these situations as you describe them, frequently false allegations are leveled, generally by women against males, and allegations of sexual abuse and that sort of thing in order to win custody battles and so forth. This will simply give them more ammunition.


The thing that tends to mask the situation in the NZ environment is the fact that questions of assault as far as civil law are concerned have become less prominent because of the accident compensation legislation. As you will be aware, under the ACC legislation you can’t generally sue someone for personal injury caused by accident, and accident is widely defined to include situations in which you’re assaulted by somebody. So in New Zealand, even serious assaults don’t get before the courts except in quite unusual
situations as a matter of civil liability.

Now, s59 is dealing only with criminal liability, and I suspect it is a lot more complicated than it appears on the surface, because taking away a criminal law defence doesn’t necessarily change the underlying civil law principles. So there are two layers that must be considered. One is the criminal layer, the other is the civil layer. And in order to sort that situation one would have to give it quite a bit of thought and work through the principles.

But to confine the analysis to the criminal law only, if you simply take away a defence of reasonable force then every touching of another person becomes an assault, and you then open up a vast area of potentially criminal conduct. You criminalize a whole lot of conduct which to normal people would be utterly ridiculous to criminalize in relation to the way you treat your kids.

So I think it is a very important step, and I think it is something that has serious, wide-ranging implications and something that has to be considered very very carefully indeed.

I think you do have to distinguish between civil and criminal. Conduct that is not regarded as criminal, or not pursued and charged as criminal, can be taken into account even now in a Family Court context. It doesn’t really matter to the Family Court whether you characterise something as criminal or not criminal, it’s a question of whether it represents proper treatment of the child. It’s going to the fundamental question of what is for the welfare of the child, what is in the child’s best interests. They’re looking at the situation through a different legal telescope.

I think the real problem is that arguably almost every form of physical contact with your children becomes an assault as a matter of the criminal law. If you take away s59, that’s the issue.

And if the child uses force against you, what force can you use against the child? That’s the real crunch issue. There may be lots of situations in which, very appropriately, a parent should avoid using force because it is unnecessary to do so. But there are some situations in which it is necessary and those situations would not necessarily fall within s48, which is the self defence provision.

That’s one area in which use of force in self defence and defence of another is justified and will remain justified. But if you think about it, children can use force against their parents, and the parents won’t be able to use force against the children, unless it is self defence.

S48 says ‘Everyone is justified in using, in the defence of himself or another, such force as in the circumstances he believes them to be it is reasonable to use.’ But it’s got to be in the defence of himself or another. It can’t simply be a child doing something naughty which involves the use of force, and preventing the child – for example – smashing up the living room.

It’s not the defence of yourself or the defence of another. If your child goes beserk and starts smashing the furniture you might not be allowed to touch him. And if that’s the result of revoking s59 – that you’re exposed to a criminal charge of assault if you restrain a child in those circumstances, then that’s completely nuts.

Q: Advice to the legislators as they consider this?

A: Obviously it will go to a select committee and they’ll have the task of going through the various scenarios that could arise if this measure is adopted. That’s the appropriate process, and the normal process when an important change is being considered.

But I think from my own part, having given it only a relatively short period of consideration, that simply to wipe out s59 could create some situations which are completely undesirable.


Q: The police are already on record as saying any smack would be a prima facie assault. Presumably that means that any physical contact for the purposes of discipline, such as a mother taking her child by the arm and forcing him into time out, would also be a prima facie assault?

A: Theoretically that must be right. It would come down to an exercise of discretion. But there could be savings in the legislation, such as safety of the child or removing a child from harm’s way. Where it get’s sticky is the very point you mentioned: if someone actually picks up a child and carts them off, because the difference between that and admonishing them, or hitting them, is so marginal as a matter of law I think it can only be dealt with by discretion. I think it’s a very significant point.

Someone who will simply not leave a situation where the parents are sitting outside in the car, waiting for the child to get in the car, and having difficulties because the child is refusing to get in the car, what’s a parent supposed to do? Leave the child on the side of the road, or pick them up and physically put them in the car?

Now if that’s not for their care and protection, what is it? There’s no defence to it.

And I think there’s a failure to recognize the difference between smacking as such, and physically taking, with some force, children – because they can be quite big at 11 or 12 and you might have to deal with them in that way.

To me the question is, if you cannot discipline a child physically, you remove the defence to what is otherwise an assault, the physical handling of a child of itself is not necessarily a discipline and would be treated like any other contact between two people. But in a relationship between parent and child there will often have to be physical interventions.

Now you could not possibly classify an assault as a deliberate application of force to a child, where that is to save the child, or take it to safety. You could not in my view possibly treat that as an assault where the child, for the child’s own sake, should be removed from one place to another. Where a child is out of control, for example.

So I think there must become a series of defences available where what is done is not for the purposes of inflicting force, but is a warrant to apply force for reasons which are for the good of the child.

Now we don’t really have that available to us in law, but if you take assault as an example: you step in to assault someone else to defend someone – that’s defence of another, and that’s a defence. You step in to save someone from committing suicide, that’s a defence. You step in to save someone from any act of self-harm, or the danger of walking across a road against traffic – that’s a defence.

The reason it’s a defence is that it’s not an intentional application of force except by the warrant that you have to do so for the good of that person. Now I think that will become the proper test in law – that where the force is applied for the good of that child, not as a discipline but in order to protect the child in some way, or deal with the child where the child is out of control, but not to inflict force for the sake of that, is the distinction to be drawn as a matter of law.

Q: Grant Illingworth feels that where there are going to be issues is where your child is out of control – not necessarily a danger to themselves or anyone else – but nevertheless –

A: Impossible to control!

Q: .impossible.

A: I think that is exactly the point! The time out situation is the key, because if you narrow down all the examples that you mention, it comes down to this proposition: to protect the child? Absolute defence. To discipline the child? No. To take the child out of a situation where it is causing pandemonium? Questionable, because we don’t have a marked defence on the statute for that purpose. That’s why I think the law will develop a defence that, for the sake of the child as much as for the whole family, the child
is removed from a situation where the child for example is just screaming its head off and is just so out of control they’re at a risk of harm.

The example you give, of trashing a house, is much more difficult, because the law in my view must allow a colour of right to prevent anyone doing that. You don’t have to stand by and watch your house being trashed by anybody. I think you’re entitled to protect your property, protect your person. What you can’t do is go beyond the bounds of what the law allows.

I think if you can say that the intentional application of force was warranted, not for the purposes of discipline but for the purposes of restraint, I think the law will have to recognize it as a defence. So what I’m anticipating is that the law will develop a colour of right, it will have to.

Q: What about where a toddler or seven year old is just being outright disobedient, defying boundaries and authority, and in need of discipline, but not in need of restraint for their own safety?

A: Assault has always had various defences of the kind we’ve just been through, and to me it is about marking a boundary about what is effectively a legitimate form of restraint.

I think the law would have to develop a defence, the same way colour of right developed, that what you were doing – a technical assault – was justified because of the circumstances that were presented to the parent.

Q: Courts or parliament?

A: I think the courts will probably be the right place to deal with it. I think a District Court judge familiar with dealing with assault issues generally will see how this fits into a pattern of defences to assault.

I mean, technically there are not many defences to assault. You don’t get charged with assault for taking someone in a headlock who’s threatening someone else, because that’s defence of another, but the trouble is those things don’t generally have application to children. We’re still talking about a form of restraint for a reason to do with the way people live in their homes. And there is the conundrum: how do you take the defences, and
they’re well established, that apply outside and say it applies to the relationship between a parent and child inside a house?

I think you’ve hit it on the button. The crucial question is going to be, child hitting another child – grab the child and take it away, that’s not assault. Child causing pandemonium, screaming its head off and threatening its own stability. You couldn’t possibly be charged with assault for taking that child to another room provided it’s reasonable force. That’s not discipline, that’s control.

It’s the point at which it moves to discipline that I think the law has no answer at present. Because if you can’t smack a child, what can you do by way of discipline to say ‘you’re behaving very badly, I do not like your language, you’re going to go and sit in that room there!’

‘I’m not going!’

‘Right, I’m going to pick you up and put you in there’.

That’s technically an assault. What’s the warrant for it? We have no statutory defence to it.

On the other hand there is a tremendous amount of common sense in the police and the courts, so you’re not going to see thousands of parents prosecuted for this. But yes there will be test cases, and the law will evolve.

A simple smack would definitely be a prima facie assault.
Touching a child for any disciplinary purpose, such as forcing them into time out, would definitely be a prima facie assault.

Touching a child for the purposes of his or her own safety, or the safety of others, or the safety of property, would be authorized by s41 and s48 of the Crimes Act, and therefore not an assault

Queens counciWhile police would have a ‘discretion’ as to whether to charge, in practice many police stations are already calling in CYF, who take a blanket “no smacking’ approach and would be within their powers to remove children from parents, even if insufficient evidence existed to convict.

Posted by Ian Wishart at March 3, 2007 05:14 PM

15 March 2007 – nzherald.co.nz – Garth George: Be afraid parents, your children will dob you in


Garth George: Be afraid parents, your children will dob you in

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on March 15th, 2007

Source: nzherald.co.nz

5:00AM Thursday March 15, 2007
By Garth George

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences.

So wrote C.S. Lewis, that towering 20th century intellect, who left for generations of children the wondrous Chronicles of Narnia, which in their movie form will entrance generations more.

He was writing, of course, of the Sue Bradfords of this world and their ilk, those self-righteous meddlers whose arrogance is surpassed only by their ignorance.

But you can bet there were more than a few parliamentarians – Labour ones in particular – who yesterday studiously ignored “the approval of their consciences” to vote against amendments to Ms Bradford’s anti-smacking bill.

How sad it is that grown men and women are so terrified of offending she who must be obeyed that they scurry for cover like children confronted with an irate parent.

Perhaps, though, it isn’t so surprising since anyone who has watched or listened to parliamentary debate will have realised that many parliamentarians are indeed childish, behaving in the House like a bunch of irritable, rowdy, ill-mannered and badly-behaved tots.

But such is the way of things in New Zealand politics today and it seems the Bradford bill will enter the statute books and the law will become an even bigger ass than it is. So the time has come to warn parents of a couple of the awful things they might expect as a result.

The first – and probably the worst – threat to parents will not be the police but the Child Youth and Family Service.

Craig Smith, of Family Integrity, says section 2 of the Bradford bill makes the correction of children a criminal offence if one uses any hint of force whatsoever.

That can be a gesture, a threat to withdraw privileges, intimidation, an appeal to conscience or any kind of physical force.

Mr Smith says the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act gives a CYFS social worker, operating on his or her own, authority to use whatever force is needed to enter private homes and take children away.

“The social worker doesn’t need proof that abuse has taken place; he or she only needs to suspect that “ill-treatment” is “likely” to happen.

And CYFS is not accountable if a mistake is made, says Mr Smith.

“If there is uncertainty whether the parent’s actions were corrective or merely preventive, the bill says the corrective interpretation must prevail, putting parents outside the law.

“A core responsibility of parenting, the correction of children, is thus thoroughly subverted.”

The second danger is that that before the law has been long on the books some children will begin reporting their parents to the police when they don’t like parental discipline and correction.

Bob McCoskrie, of Family First, says prominent QC Peter McKenzie has given a legal opinion that highlights the danger of children dobbing in their parents in which he says that “complaints may be made by children who have resented their means of correction or denial of privileges”.

That, says Mr McCoskrie, is consistent with international experience. He quotes Superintendent R. Logan, police deputy borough commander in Hackney, east London, and Britain’s most senior black policeman, as saying that parents no longer use physical punishment because they fear they will end up in court facing an assault charge.

The results, the superintendent is quoted as saying during an inquiry into patterns of crime among black men, had been a decline in respect, a rise in family breakdowns and an increasing number of children being put up for adoption.

Mr McCoskrie says that in Sweden, where smacking was banned in 1979, the Nordic Committee for Human Rights had reported “Children have been informed of their rights so they use their rights to demand more freedom to do as they please. They report their parents with the aim of obtaining freedom, unaware of the consequences of their report to the social authorities or the police.”

The committee reports that when children realise the seriousness of their accusations they try to withdraw them, but are held to their stories – without any consideration of the damages that the children incur to themselves.

It adds: “The resentment 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 [and] seriously damaged the parent/child relationship.”

So, all you good, faithful Kiwi parents: Be afraid, be very afraid.


15 March 2007 – New Zealand National Party – Commissioner should stay out of politics

15 March 2007 – New Zealand National Party – Commissioner should stay out of politics


Commissioner should stay out of politics

Thursday, 15 March 2007, 5:02 pm Press Release: New Zealand National Party
Judith Collins MP
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman
15 March 2007
Children’s Commissioner should stay out of politics and stick to her day job

The Children’s Commissioner, Cindy Kiro, should stop promoting Labour Party propaganda and get on with her main job of dealing with complaints relating to children, and the monitoring of Child Youth and Family, says National’s Welfare spokeswoman, Judith Collins.
Ms Collins is commenting after Dr Kiro today issued a press release calling on MPs to ‘show resolve and support’ Green MP Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking bill.

“The Children’s Commissioner has the delegated statutory authority to deal with CYF complaints under the Children’s Commissioner Act of
2003,” says Ms Collins.

“Unfortunately, since Dr Kiro’s admission on 21 February that she ‘needs to lift (her) game’ in this area, she has continued to define her role as the promotion of legislation that will criminalise good parents who give their child a light smack with their hand as a means of correction.

“Dr Kiro has frankly lost the plot.

“She needs to concentrate on the 13,000 children that CYF say are cases of substantiated child abuse and let good parents get on with the job of parenting.

“A light smack on the bottom for correction does not harm a child as Dr Kiro should recall from when she was a parent of young children.”


14 March 2007 – www.challengeweekly.co.nz – Parents: be afraid, be very afraid – CYFS is now the big threat


Parents: be afraid, be very afraid – CYFS is now the big threat

Source: http://www.challengeweekly.co.nz/story1.htm

Wednesday, 14.03.2007, 04:31pm (GMT12)

By staff reporters

The director of lobby organisation Family Integrity says the real threat to parents if Green list MP Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking bill is passed is not the police but something far worse – the Child Youth and Family Service. And Family First is warning politicians that an outcome of voting for the anti-smacking bill is that children will report their parents to the police when they don’t like parental discipline and correction.

Craig Smith, of Family Integrity, says section 2 of Sue Bradford’s bill makes the correction of children a criminal offence if one uses any hint of force whatsoever. That can be a gesture, a threat to withdraw privileges, intimidation, an appeal to conscience or any kind of physical force. “CYF will come threatening to take the children away. Nothing could be more traumatic to a child, especially since the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act, section 39, gives a single social worker, operating on his or her own, authority to use whatever force is needed to enter private homes and tear children from the mother’s arms.

“The social worker doesn’t need proof that abuse has taken place; he or she only needs to suspect that ‘ill-treatment’ is ‘likely’ to happen. And CYFS is not accountable if a mistake is made.”

Mr Smith says Section 1 of the Bradford bill lets a parent slap a hand over a child’s mouth if he or she is about to repeat an offensive swear word. But if the parent says, “Don’t do it again or you’ll be off to bed without dessert,” the parent has just committed criminal assault, worth as much as two years in jail.

“If there is uncertainty whether the parent’s actions were corrective or merely preventive, the bill says the corrective interpretation must prevail, putting parents outside the law. A core responsibility of parenting, the correction of children, is being thoroughly subverted.

“The Bradford bill appears to be the product of a fevered mind, corrupted by power, attempting to force its philosophy of child autonomy and minimal parental authority and maximum state powers of intervention upon us all to advance the utopia of a radical feminist agenda where so-called ‘patriarchal structures’ such as the nuclear family are completely destroyed or neutralised,” Mr Smith said.

Bob McCoskrie, national director of Family First, says prominent QC Peter McKenzie has given a legal opinion that highlights the danger of children dobbing in their parents in which he says that “complaints may be made by children who have resented their means of correction or denial of privileges”. “And this is consistent with international experience,” Mr McCockrie says.

Superintendent R. Logan, the deputy borough commander in Hackney, east London, and Britain’s most senior black policeman has said 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 had 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: “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 with the aim of obtaining freedom, unaware of the consequences of their report to the social authorities or the police …

“When 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.”

Mr McCoskrie says that if politicians pass the Bradford 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, “a totally unacceptable situation for parents who need a level of authority to raise their children in the best environment possible.”

14 March 2007 – The Dominion Post – Police prepare rules to act on smacks


Police prepare rules to act on smacks

By TRACY WATKINS – The Dominion Post | Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Police chiefs are preparing to send out guidelines for dealing with complaints about smacking as a bill outlawing the use of physical punishment looks set to become law.
The guidelines for dealing with complaints under the new law are likely to be delivered to police officers as soon as it comes into effect, which will be days after its final vote, as early as a fortnight from now.

Police headquarters said yesterday it could not comment on the final shape of the guidelines because they were still in draft form and dependent on the final shape of the law.

But Police Association president Greg O’Connor said police guidelines in their current form made it clear they would have no choice but to act on smacking complaints.

“We believe that under the policy as it exists it will be referred to as domestic violence.”

Unless there was a change to the guidelines once the law was passed, police would have no discretion.

“If it is family violence and there is evidence of violence, the policy is quite clear, the offender must be arrested.

“That means an admission or a witness saying they saw someone smack. Police will have no choice but to arrest a person acting on a complaint.”

The bill’s passage appears almost certain now that the Maori Party’s four MPs say they will vote against a “smacking clause” put up by National MP Chester Borrows, which will be voted on tonight. Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples acknowledged yesterday the decision of his MPs would not be popular with many people.

“But we’re asking New Zealand to be brave – to look at the possibility of a culture where we don’t hit our children and that we can actually find an alternative way of bringing up our children.”

The clause would have rewritten the bill to allow parents to smack their children so long as they did not leave bruises and the effects were only trifling.

The champion of the so-called anti-smacking bill, Green MP Sue Bradford, said yesterday the Borrows amendment had posed the biggest threat to her bill and the Maori Party decision meant she had the numbers to pass her legislation into law.

Yesterday, she issued a legal opinion from Law Commission president Sir Geoffrey Palmer rejecting claims from the bill’s opponents that it would criminalise parents for lifting a child on to a time-out mat.

Mr Borrows was refusing to give up, saying he thought he could still sway the minds of some MPs. However, that would require either NZ First MPs Doug Woolerton and Brian Donnelly or United Future leader Peter Dunne to change their votes, and all three yesterday confirmed their support for Ms Bradford’s bill.

Prime Minister Helen Clark welcomed the Maori Party’s stance, and defended Labour’s decision to make the issue a party vote, rather than a conscience vote.

“We believe it’s such a serious issue and it’s so important to deal with violence against children that as a government, we believe the right thing to do is to back a change in the law which will help. As a party, we have decided this is the position we will take.”

13 March 2007 – Family Integrity – Strangers Can but Parents Can’t


13 March 2007 – Family Integrity – Strangers Can but Parents Can’t

Press Release
For Immediate Distribution

Strangers Can but Parents Can’t

Bradford’s misguided Bill to repeal Section 59 is incredibly short sighted in a number of ways. One is that she failed to notice Section 60 of the Crimes Act, right next door to Section 59. Section 60 justifies the use of “reasonable force” toward children, elderly and anyone else at the captain’s or pilot’s command by even passengers and crew on a ship or aircraft “for the purpose of maintaining good order and discipline”.

Will that force be considered justified if used by parents in the home, in the car or in the shopping trolley? Isn’t “maintaining good order and discipline” also “incidental to good care and parenting” (which Bradford says is to be legal), or will it be defined as correction (which Bradford will insist makes it a crime)?

It is not at all clear what Bradford means by “correction”. Is it not reasonable that parents should have as much authority in their homes and vehicles and shopping trolleys as captains and pilots have on their craft? Or will this Bill land us in the situation where strangers in the form of passengers and crew can use reasonable force on my children to maintain good order and discipline on the ferry ship in the calms of Wellington harbour, but my wife and I are not allowed to use it on our own children in our own van to maintain good order and discipline while driving through the chaos of Wellington highways.

This ridiculous Bill is focused on criminalizing the benign corrective force used by nearly every good and caring parent in the country…..while doing nothing whatsoever to weed out the dysfunctional child abusing households. 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

13 March 2007 – newzealandconservative.blogspot.com


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

More Green hypocrisy

Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking legislation is a classic example of late liberal interventionism, and is just the sort of state interference which traditional conservatives are opposed to.

There has been no public campaign calling for a ban on smacking or any serious social crisis that would justify such a top down initiative.

The problem the anti-smacking bill is designed to solve, is apparently only occurring among one section of one ethnic group- in this case low-income Maori.

However, the liberal left deems that all ethnic groups must now be told how to discipline their children instead of leaving Maori to deal with their own issues.

The introduction of unpopular liberal reforms from above is a relatively new phenomenon.

Prior to the late 1960s, progressive reforms were either introduced for serious pragmatic reasons, such as to deal with an economic crisis like the Great Depression, or because of sustained popular activism from below.

The introduction of religious toleration was in large part a response to the carnage caused by the 30 Years War, while universal suffrage in Britain was won through the persistent campaigns of the Chartists in the early 19th Century.

What makes Bradford’s meddling in the private lives of the country’s citizens particularly galling is that she is a member of a party that claims to be dedicated to conservation. Unfortunately, this doesn’t include conservation of mainstream social norms.

Its high time the Greens made up their mind whether they wish to focus on conserving the environment or indulging in anti-conservative social engineering. Given that not all environmentalists are left-liberals, it is highly disingenuous of the Green party to be claiming to do the former while also trying to do the later.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *