Media Release
For Immediate Distribution

Swedish Academic Slams National MP for Cowardly Attack in Parliament Jacob Sundberg, Professor of Jurisprudence Emeritus and Family Law at the University of Stockholm, and author (“Family Law under change”) has written to National MP Katherine Rich complaining about her cowardly and unsubstantiated attack on Swedish Lawyer Ruby Harrold-Claesson who recently visited NZ.

In Rich’s speech in parliament recently supporting Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking bill against the weight of public opinion, Rich slammed Harrold-Claesson as a ‘fruit loop’ and ‘false expert’, all said behind the cowardly protection of parliamentary privilege.

However, Professor Sundberg rejects Rich’s attack stating that she has “fallen prey to a smear campaign run in Sweden by some of her adversaries in the social bureaucracy and by their leftist chums in the Faculty of Law in Stockholm.”

Sundberg also slams Katherine Rich’s understanding and support of the Swedish experiment with smacking bans and says “Whether Sweden “benefited” from the reform as you put it, is very much in doubt as I see it. Certainly, it has undermined the family tie with a lot of mischief following. It has turned little children into informers upon their parents, and the social bureaucracy into a super-nanny with a kind of police powers as against the parents. The change in atmosphere may be applauded by leftist circles around, but it is certainly deplored by the families hit by the revolutionary zeal. No figures have ever been given showing any beneficial effect of the legislation.”

Katherine Rich should do her homework before making baseless and defamatory attacks against individuals, especially in the cowardly way she did behind the protection of parliamentary privilege.

Letter from Sundberg to Kathryn Rich:

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

if Section59 is repealed – or replaced…

28 MAY 2007 – Family First – Smacking Law Hits Labour in Polls Because of Inconsistency

28 MAY 2007

Smacking Law Hits Labour in Polls Because of Inconsistency

The Prime Minister, in her response to calls to lower the alcohol limit for driving, has said what many parents and family groups argued should be the approach to the anti-smacking bill.

In response to a question this morning on Newstalk ZB as to why won’t the government consider lowering the alcohol limit on drink driving, the PM’s response was

“…I am highly conscious of not drinking before driving. I think most people are. And the question you have to ask is are you then going to bring in a rule that fundamentally changes it for highly law abiding people when the problem is with those who drink far too much.”

We agree.

Kiwi parents would agree.

“This was the exact argument used by Family First regarding the anti-smacking bill, which has effectively targeted law abiding parents, while ignoring the root causes of child abuse,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First. “Why was the PM’s logic not used in the smacking debate?”

“As a result of shoddy and undemocratic lawmaking, ‘highly law abiding parents’ are now going to be criminalised, and threatened with investigation and intervention by CYF, because of a ‘fundamental’ law change that has no scientific support or international experience backing it up.”

“If we are serious about reducing our abysmal rate of child abuse, the target should be parents who physically and emotionally abuse their children or neglect their needs – a far cry from a smack on the bottom by a loving parent.”

“The Prime Minister should be consistent in her approach to law making,” says Mr McCoskrie.


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:
Bob McCoskrie JP – National Director
Tel. 09 261 2426 | Mob. 027 55 555 42

17 May 2007 – Commissioner For Children – Commissioner wants more integrated investment

We need to be watching for this very dangerous legislation which leads on from the Amendment of Section 59

Commissioner wants more integrated investment
Thursday, 17 May 2007, 6:12 pm
Press Release: Commissioner For Children

Media Release
17 May 2007

Children’s Commissioner wants more integrated investment in children

Children’s Commissioner, Dr Cindy Kiro congratulates all those politicians who voted to pass the Crimes Amendment Bill (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Bill and sent a strong and united message that is consistent with a legislative and policy context that prioritises a whole child approach and working towards improved outcomes for children.

“We now need to support this direction towards a better future with monatory policies that support this,” says Dr Kiro.

“Today’s budget does contain some good initiatives for children although its focus is somewhat ad-hoc and not as coherent as the provisions for older people. There should be a clear strategy underpinning investment in children.”

“It is good to see investment in education and better health outcomes for children and boosting the ability of community organisations to work with government to deliver services that support children and families”

“New Zealand children should grow up in a safe and secure family environment, free from all forms of violence. Additional funding of $11.2 million towards programmes to reduce family violence is money well spent.”

“I would like to see more investment in preventing youth offending. Ensuring that children are safe and nurtured, have the resources to develop to their full potential, and have their views considered in matters that affect them, is a fundamental responsibility of governments and communities and families. It also makes good sense, as it will lead to a better future for all of us. Investments in childhood are most likely to bring good returns to society as a whole. The best results occur when we intervene early in the child’s life before problems become endemic, and also when the likelihood of success is greater.”

I believe the establishment of an integrated framework for children and their families would provide a foundation for more co-ordinated strategies. An integrated framework would bring a systematic approach to monitoring the development of every child and young person in New Zealand through co-ordinated planned assessment at key life stages and supporting families to make sure children have the opportunity to reach their full potential,” says Dr Kiro.


17 May 2007 – The Dominion Post – New law won’t stop Bob from smacking

New law won’t stop Bob from smacking
PATRICK CREWDSON – The Dominion Post | Thursday, 17 May 2007

Bob McCoskrie smacks his children, and Sue Bradford’s law change won’t make him stop.

The national director of Family First New Zealand, a vociferous opponent of the Green MP’s bill to amend section 59 of the Crimes Act, said the “confusing legislation” that passed last night would not changed the way he disciplined his three children – just the way he described it.

“I’ll continue to do it in a reasonable way and I’ll continue to do it as a back-up when other non-physical methods of discipline haven’t worked.”

After obtaining an opinion from Queen’s Counsel Grant Illingworth, Family First cautioned parents yesterday not to incriminate themselves to police.

Mr McCoskrie said that, under the amendment, parents could still use reasonable force for the purpose of prevention, but not for correction.

“What the QC is saying is that if you ever do get prosecuted for giving a light smack, simply say it was for the purpose of preventing bad behaviour, not correcting bad behaviour, which shows just how ridiculous the law is.”

Supporters of the bill relaxed yesterday as it passed with greater political support than initially expected.

Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro said she was hugely relieved.

She had supported outright repeal of section 59 and had some reservations about how the amendment would be interpreted, but was happy a compromise had been reached to “allay the fears that had been whipped up among parents around criminalisation”.

Barnardos chief executive Murray Edridge said he was delighted, but the challenge now was to ensure parents were equipped to deal with behavioural problems without resorting to force.

In a rearguard action against the amendment, opponents yesterday took out full-page newspaper advertisements seeking signatures to force a referendum on child discipline at the next election.

The advertisements warned parents that they would be criminalised if they smacked their children, and said police had confirmed they would have to investigate any complaints made against parents who smacked or put their children in time out.

But Police Association president Greg O’Connor said he had been misquoted.

Police would continue to investigate complaints of assault – just as they always had – but putting a child in time-out would not land a parent in jail.

16 MAY 2007 – Family First – “I Was Preventing, Not Correcting, Bad Behaviour Officer!” – Advice to Parents

16 MAY 2007

“I Was Preventing, Not Correcting, Bad Behaviour Officer!” – Advice to Parents

A leading QC has recommended to parents that they never acknowledge that they are “correcting” bad behaviour once the Anti-Smacking law is passed in Parliament.

“Because good parents who use reasonable force to effectively correct offensive or disruptive behaviour or defiance from a child will be exposed to criminal liability and investigation under the new anti-smacking law, it is essential that they receive good advice and protection,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

Family First asked leading QC Grant Illingworth for his opinion regarding the new law.

Mr Illingworth said “The difficulty with the section is that it does not tell us what “correction” means. In ordinary language, and for most ordinary people, correction would include preventing a child from continuing to engage in offensive or disruptive behaviour and preventing harm to another child. But that cannot be the correct interpretation because it would mean that the section is self contradictory.”

“This means that “correction” will have to be given a somewhat artificial meaning that does not correspond with the ordinary use of language. The question is: what will “correction” be held to mean? This is a question of enormous importance because, if a parent intends “correction” then, even if the parent would otherwise have a defence, that defence will no longer be available by reason of s 59(2).”

“The moral of the story is that, in any investigation, it would be extremely unwise for a parent to admit that she or he was attempting to correct a child’s aberrant behaviour. And if that isn’t silly, I don’t know what is.”

Mr Illingworth responded to two scenarios presented by Family First, and how the new law could apply –

1. A child is having a tantrum in the supermarket because mum won’t buy that lolly, and mum gives the child a light smack on the bottom which brings the child under control. An observer reports the parent to the police. Does the parent have a defence under s59?

Illingworth QC – The mother who smacks the child lightly in the supermarket to stop a tantrum is arguably using reasonable force to prevent the child from continuing to engage in offensive or disruptive behaviour, so she has an apparent defence so long as her purpose is not “correction”.

2. A child throws a toy at his brother’s head. Mum tells him to go to his room. The child refuses. Mum grabs him by the arm and literally has to drag a screaming child, who is throwing his arms all around, to the room. The child tells his school teacher who rings CYF. Does the parent have a defence under s59?

The mother who drags her child to its room to stop violent behaviour towards a sibling is also arguably using reasonable force to prevent the child from continuing to engage in offensive or disruptive behaviour. She may, as well, be preventing further harm to the other child. She too has an apparent defence so long as her purpose is not “correction”.

“The bottom line is that we have created a confusing law,” says Mr McCoskrie. “This is bad news for good parents who wish to parent within the law. The good news is that we do not have a blanket ban on smacking – despite the misrepresentation by the supporters of the law change.”


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:
Bob McCoskrie JP – National Director
Tel. 09 261 2426 | Mob. 027 55 555 42

16 May 2007 – Stuff – Copeland quitting over smacking bill

Copeland quitting over smacking bill

By TRACY WATKINS – The Dominion Post | Wednesday, 16 May 2007

CLASH OF IDEAS: See link for photo: Gordon Copeland debating the child discipline bill outside Parliament earlier this year. It is believed the United Future MP is quitting the party as he does not agree with its stance on the issue.
Related Links

UPDATED REPORT: The government has been dealt a blow on the eve of the budget, with United Future MP Gordon Copeland expected to announce today he is resigning from his party in protest at the so-called anti-smacking bill.

NZPA understands that Mr Copeland is leaving over Green MP Sue Bradford member’s bill to remove from the Crimes Act the statutory defence of “reasonable force” to correct a child.

Mr Copeland, a Christian, has always opposed the legislation and while he voted for an amendment stating police had discretion not to prosecute inconsequential complaints he felt the bill still made criminals of parents who smacked their children.

He would form the party with former colleague Larry Baldock who has been running a petition against the Bradford bill.

The party would be called Future New Zealand – the name of the Christian party which the United Party previously merged with.

When Parliament sat at 2pm National Party deputy leader Bill English questioned Prime Minister Helen Clark about Mr Copeland’s decision.

He said the Government could now only rely on 59 votes in the 121 MP Parliament.

“What assurances can she give as the leader of the current coalition of Labour, United Future and New Zealand First that the Government commands a majority in this House?” he asked.

The Government’s only formal coalition partner is the Progressive’s Jim Anderton. It has support agreements with New Zealand First and United Future and a cooperation agreement with the Greens under which that party abstains on confidence and supply issues.

The Government may find it harder passing some legislation but its confidence and supply arrangements are secure as they were when Taito Phillip Field became an independent.

Miss Clark said that the Government continued to enjoy the confidence of the House.

– With NZPA

16 May 2007 – tvnz – MP quits over anti-smacking bill

MP quits over anti-smacking bill

May 16, 2007

United Future MP Gordon Copeland is set to quit United Future over the anti-smacking bill.

The decision leaves the government in a precarious situation. The recent defection of Taito Philip Field and now Copeland leaves the government in a true minority.

It is understood the MP is planning to start a new political party with a former one-term United Future MP Larry Baldock.

The catalyst for his departure is the anti-smacking bill, which will get its final reading on Wednesday. Both men vehemently oppose the amendment watering down the bill.

Copeland will stay on as an independent

Earlier this weka another United Future MP, Judy Turner, said she would oppose the anti-smacking bill when it had its final reading in parliament.

While she believes the compromise amendment reinforcing discretionary powers for police was a good move she is concerned it doesn’t also apply to Child Youth and Family.

Turner says not enough has changed at CYF to reassure her parents are safe from prosecution for lightly smacking their children.


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