24 April – 30 April 2007

30 April 2007 – spinneretta – The Idiocy of Bias

April 30th, 2007

You’d think I’d be inured to political stupidity by now. It appears I am not.

In a wonderful piece of self-gratulation, Tariana Turia (Maori Party) blamed Christianity and colonisation for the introduction of smacking to the Maori people as a form of discipline.

I’m no fan of Sue Bradford’s bill, I freely admit. But neither am I a fan of someone who appears to be placing the blame for a problem in the here and now – child abuse in some Maori families[*] – on the actions of colonising Europeans over two hundred years ago!

Let’s backtrack.

First, Sue Bradford’s intention was to make the use of violence unacceptable against children. A goal I applaud. She’s chosen to do it by attempting to repeal section 59 of the Crimes Act, which allows reasonable force as a defense when under charges of ‘over-disciplining’ your children. Unfortunately, politics has got in the way, and we’re left with a big ugly mess, given incredibly bad press, very little public support, and very little public understanding.

Second, it’s true that statistically speaking, Maori families have higher reported rates of family violence. I agree that that’s a situation which needs change. I agree that the colonisation of New Zealand changed the Maori people irrevocably. It introduced the concept of Christianity. Shall we examine some Christian principles?

The Bible says that children should be disciplined. We all know “Spare the rod, spoil the child”. But child abuse was never, never, what Christianity preached. I’m not even Christian, and I have better understanding than that! Jesus himself loved children. He taught peace, taught respect for one’s fellow man. Taught that a husband and wife should love and respect each other, and in turn teach and care for their children in a loving way.

Shall we also look at historically provable things the Maori, as a people, did prior to European colonisation of them?

Wiped out the Moriori (historically debatable, I admit)
Had bloody wars between tribes
Drove the moa into extinction
Hardly the record of a peaceful people whose whanau were only corrupted by the heinous introduction of the European settlers.

Further, has it escaped Tariana Turia’s notice that many European families, both now and in the past, also had parents who were perfectly capable of disciplining their children without physical violence?

Think about how society has changed, too. Remember the time where it took a village to bring up a child? Where parents had support from the surrounding community, were near their parents, their siblings, in constant communication with their friends and families, had support networks to rely on? How many parents today bring up their children as best they can, with parents and families many miles away, both having to work each day, without their whanau surrounding them?

So, here’s my advice, Tariana. Think about what you can do to support the people you represent, here and now. Instead of trying to foist away the blame for today on people two hundred years ago, look for ways to make it better tomorrow.

Of course, my voice means nothing. I’m only one of the …… Pakeha who corrupted your people. Shall I make sure the door doesn’t slap me …… on the way out?

(* I specify Maori abuse as Tariana Turia is representative of the Maori party. I am thoroughly aware that Europeans and other racial groups are represented in the statistics about child abuse. Thanks.)

30 April 2007 – Right To Life New Zealand Inc – Search and Destroy – Down Syndrome

Search and Destroy – Down Syndrome
Monday, 30 April 2007, 10:49 am
Press Release: Right To Life New Zealand Inc
29 April 2007

Search and Destroy – Down Syndrome

Right to Life deplores the decision of the Minister of Health the Hon Pete Hodgson to request the National Screening Unit to advise him on how to implement a national screening programme for Down syndrome. A programme for screening all pregnant women for Down syndrome is a search and destroy mission. Those women who tested positive for Down syndrome would be encouraged to abort their child. The sole purpose of this programme would be to define who shall live and who shall die. This is unjust discrimination against the disabled. Every child at conception is endowed by its creator with an inalienable right to life. A child does not lose its right to life because it has a genetic condition.

The Minister of Health has a responsibility to protect life and to promote the health of the community; his action reveals that the government does not welcome the birth of children with Down syndrome. Its response is to sanction and fund the killing of children with Down syndrome; this is eugenics which promotes a humanistic quality of life ethic which decrees that only the perfect have a right to life. The Minister in this action is promoting a culture of death. The right to life is a sacred principle of civilisation; it is an indispensable guarantee of the individual worth of the persons within it, its universal denial would fail to recognise the dignity of man.

There are many people who are born with Down syndrome who have a good quality of life and who make a valuable contribution to the family and society.

Right to Life welcomes the Minister’s decision to discontinue risky diagnostic tests that have been leading to the miscarriage of dozens of unborn children.

This proposed national screening programme should be seen in the context of the public debate on the government supported repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act that would outlaw the smacking of children. The Prime Minister has said that her government wishes to give a clear message to the community that violence against children is unacceptable. Violence against children begins in the womb. The government is giving the message that they support the killing of unborn children, including those with Down syndrome, but that after birth you may not smack them.

30 April 2007 – nzherald – Survey may force Maori Party shift on Bradford bill

Survey may force Maori Party shift on Bradford bill

Monday April 30, 2007The fate of Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking bill appears to rest with the Maori Party caucus which will discuss it tomorrow in the light of a poll showing overwhelming 80 per cent opposition to it by Maori.

The party has backed the bill but the resounding Maori opposition may create pressure to back a proposal by National Party leader John Key to allow “minor and inconsequential” smacking.

It is believed to have been a consistent topic of concern raised at the consultation hui the four Maori Party MPs have held up and down New Zealand during the three-week recess.

If the Maori Party decides to back the Key amendment, it would have the numbers to pass.

But Sue Bradford has said she would withdraw it in those circumstances.

The bill, which returns to the House on Wednesday, outlaws the use of physical force against children for purposes of correction. It allows it to prevent a child from engaging in harmful, disruptive, illegal or offensive behaviour.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia indicated at the weekend that the party would continue to support the bill, despite 80 per cent of Maori in the Marae Digipoll survey opposing it. But she could not be contacted last night to discuss the Key proposal.

She said at the weekend the present law allowed a legal defence against abuse. “We will not support abuse. We have got to show leadership. If we are looking at all the statistics we have got the worst statistics in the OECD. ”

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia was also committed to supporting it, saying he saw the “other side” of smacking. “I visit the refuges.

“We know that we have rampant violence in some areas for a whole host of reasons within our families. We must address that.”

Mr Key said he had spoken to Mrs Turia on Saturday night about his proposal and said she had a very clear understanding of the law. She would discuss it with the caucus tomorrow.

“We can’t do it without the Maori Party,” Mr Key told the Herald.

He believes the Maori Party might be more tempted to back the amendment since the Marae poll.

He also said if Sue Bradford’s bill passed and it was challenged in a citizens-initiated referendum at next year’s election he would be inclined to change the law to reflect his own proposal.

Former United Future MP Larry Baldock said last night that he had had 163,150 signatures since March 1.

That makes it likely he will get the requisite 300,000 (10 per cent of registered electors) by March 1 next year in order to get a referendum.

“They had better prepare themselves for a referendum – and the bill hasn’t passed yet.” The petition asks:

* Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?

* Should the Government give urgent priority to understanding and addressing the wider causes of family breakdown, family violence and child abuse?

Mr Baldock said he had tried to discourage his own associates from attending the Destiny Church rally at Parliament on Wednesday, when the bill returns for further debate.

“This is not a church issue. This has never been just a bunch of Christians who want to retain the right to smack their kids. It is 80 per cent of New Zealanders.”

kiwiblog – Letter from John Key to Party Leaders on Smacking

Letter from John Key to Party Leaders on Smacking

from http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz

Even though Sue Bradford has said she will not back it, John Key has written to all party leaders seeking support for his compromise amendment. That amendment will defuse all the controversy from the bill and it will probably then pass with 110 or more votes.
The Key letter is:

I am writing to seek your support for a proposed amendment to the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill currently before the house. As you may know, I met with Sue Bradford MP to discuss this amendment with her on 25 April, and she has indicated she will not support the amendment.
The amendment proposes removing the new subsections 59(2) and 59(3) and inserting a clause justifying the use of light smacking that is “minor and inconsequential”, while leaving in place the general prohibition on force for the purpose of correction in the purpose clause of the bill. A copy of the proposed amendment is attached.

This amendment will allow good parents to feel reassured that they will not be criminalised by the new legislation, rather than relying on Police procedure to avoid investigation and prosecution. The clause will also provide clear guidance to the Police that light smacking of a minor and inconsequential nature should not result in prosecution.

It is unfair to rely on the Police to exercise their discretion to make this legislation work, simply because we as a Parliament lack the courage to codify the law in the way we expect it to be enforced. The reality is that there will be widely differing interpretations of this law, and of any procedures and guidelines attached to it, by Police around the country.

We all agree that the purpose of this legislation is to reduce New Zealand’s terrible rate of harming children, but we all probably agree that we do not want to see good parents criminalised for engaging in actions no one considers criminal. I simply believe it is bad law for Parliament to pass a piece of legislation outlawing an activity absolutely, and then expect the Police not to prosecute minor breaches.

My proposed amendment achieves the outcome that I think we are all after, and I seek your support for this change to the bill.

The amendment John Key proposes, to replace the 59(2) and 59(3) is:

Every parent of a child and every person in the place of a parent of a child is justified in lightly smacking the child in the course of their parenting duties if the smacking used was minor and inconsequential, notwithstanding Section 3 of the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Act 2007.

If an MP votes against that amendment, it will make it pretty clear they are voting to ban correctional smacking.

26 April 2007 – By Audrey Young – Labour left between

Audrey Young: Labour left between a rock and a hard place
5:00AM Thursday April 26, 2007 By Audrey Young
National leader John Key played pragmatic politics this week and Green MP Sue Bradford played principled politics.


In a sense, both were playing to their parties’ strengths.

In a sense, neither can be condemned for that.

It leaves the anti-smacking bill exactly where it was: legislation that will outlaw the use of physical force to teach children a lesson or for “correction”, but with two different predictions about how the law will be applied.

Supporters are certain the police will not prosecute parents who smack their children lightly – just as the police don’t press assault charges now for such action.

Opponents caution that a new law that specifically bans force to discipline children will invite prosecutions for a light smack.

Key offered a significant compromise this week on his party’s previous position on the anti-smacking bill.

He accepted the bill’s primary function – to ban the use of force against children for correction on one proviso that it explicitly allow for “minor and inconsequential” smacks in the course of parenting.

What he proposed this week was no more than the assurances given by Prime Minister Helen Clark and Bradford that parents who smack lightly would not be criminalised.

Instead of trusting their predictions of police interpretation, Key wanted the proviso written into the law.

While there is an inherent contradiction in what he offered – banning physical punishment but allowing it a little bit – it is no more of a contradiction than that already existing in Bradford’s bill.

Bradford rejected the compromise because it was inconsistent with the principle driving the bill.

She wants to put children on the same footing as adults and to remove the notion that it is excusable to use any form of violence on them – children – other than a few exceptions outlined in the bill such as to save them or others from harm.

To define in law what level of violence was allowed against children would be like trying to define what level of violence was allowed by men against women.

And anyway, Key’s compromise is a watered-down version of the amendments proposed by National MP Chester Borrows, which are set to be voted down next Wednesday.

Bradford is a mother of five. She has said from the first reading that it was not her intention to criminalise ordinary parents, that her target was those who hit or beat their children seriously.

The difficulty is that her intentions conflict with the actual bill.

She may not want police to prosecute smackers but the bill leaves it open to just such a response.

It is almost inconceivable Parliament will pass a law that explicitly bans physical punishment and then expects the police to prosecute only extreme cases.

It would have been a lot plainer if Bradford had said something like “this bill outlaws physical discipline against children and, even though I don’t want the police to prosecute smackers, they may do so because smacking is violence on a milder scale”.

But if she had promoted a hard line, or a bright line in the law, she would have kissed goodbye to Labour’s bloc support and relegated it back to a conscience issue, which is probably what it should have been.

Key’s failure this week will not alter the likelihood of the bill passing narrowly. It would have given Parliament the satisfaction of having broad-based support for such a contentious law.

Key will try to get as much mileage as he can from here.

He will now approach Labour which will almost certainly dismiss it as a stunt.

Any acceptance by Labour would also prompt Bradford to withdraw the bill (which might provide private relief to Labour if it is haemorrhaging support from women over its decision to back the bill).

Key, whether genuine or not – and Bradford believes he is – has manoeuvred himself into an enviable position on this issue.

If Labour agrees to his amendment, he gets the credit for showing some leadership on the issue. If it tells him to get lost, it rejects what is seen as a sensible way through a difficult issue.

Even if he fails, he wins.

27 April 2007 – SPCS – Bradford Fails to Answer Questions on anti-smacking bill

27 April 2007 – SPCS – Bradford Fails to Answer Questions on anti-smacking bill

Society For Promotion Of Community Standards Inc.
http://www.spcs.org.nz 27 April 2007

Bradford Fails to Answer Questions on anti-smacking bill

The Society is very concerned that Ms Bradford appears unable or unwilling to answer key questions put to her regarding her unpopular private members bill that is opposed by over 80% of New Zealanders.

In an Open Letter to her dated 23 March (copied below) the Society sought urgent clarification on four matters relating to her contradictory public pronouncements on her bill that seeks to remove the defence of “reasonable force” for “correction” (that can be used currently by a parent against a charge of assault on a child), from Section 59 of the Crimes Act (1961). The explanation given by the Green Party for her lack of response is that she is “very busy”. Green Party worker, Ms Fran Tyler, has undertaken to give her the hurry up.

Tens of thousands of concerned parents who may face charges of criminal assault for lightly smacking their children for the purposes of corrective discipline, should Bradford’s flawed anti-family bill pass into law, await answers to the important questions the Society has raised. Bradford says the aim of her bill is to make it illegal for any parent or person in the place of parent to use any “force” for the purpose of “correction”. However, the bill does not specifically define what constitutes “force”.

On the other hand, she has agreed to retain the defence of “reasonable force”, but only for parents who she claims might face a charge of criminal assault for removing a child from harm’s way etc. But she is adamant that this defence cannot be used if the action is undertaken with the intent or purpose of “correction”: in whole or in “part”. In effect she has made an ass of the law. Current law provides a clear justification for the use of “reasonable force” by parents for correction. Bradford is seeking to make that which is perfectly legal, illegal, and thereby she undermines the authority of good and loving parents.


RE: Sue Bradford’s Private Members Bill dealing with Repeal of s. 59 that is opposed by 80% – 90% of New Zealanders polled.

23 March 2007

Dear Ms Fran Tyler

Please thank Ms Bradford for the answers she has supplied to the Society’s questions (1-4) re her bill.

[See: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0703/S00301.htm]. However, having studied her answers, we are unable to comprehend how her position can be logically coherent within a legal framework. All our members feel the same way.

Please present to her a few short follow-up questions seeking urgent clarification. We would appreciate her prompt assistance.

Re Queston 1.

If as Ms Bradford stated on TV One’s Agenda programme: “It’s actually illegal now to smack your child” – why has she in responsed to Q 1 by stating: “Some smacking is therefore illegal under the current law.” [Emphasis added]. We believe that it follows logically from the latter statement that some smacking is LEGAL; therefore the Agenda programme comment is inconsistent and misleading to say the least.

Questions: seeking clarification:

1.. How does Ms Bradford reconcile the apparent inconsistency between her two statements quoted and b.. What forms of smacking does she consider legal under the current Crimes Act? c.. Is it the smacking that is legal under current law or that which is illegal under current law that her bill intends to make illegal, or is it both forms? d.. Does Ms Bradford consider that it is unlawful under current law for a parent or person in the place of a parent to use “reasonable force” in the context of domestic discipline, for the purpose of correcting a child who exhibits extreme defiance and/or disobedience despite a number of clearly defined warnings to desist from wrong behaviour (see section 59 of Crimes Act)? e.. Is it the intention in her bill to prevent parents from correcting their children by using ANY actions that involve “reasonable force” in the circumstances? (vi) If so why, and why particularly has she sought to make illegal the use of ALL forms of force for correction carried out by the parent to achieve compliance from the disobediant/defiant child? Re. Questions 2-3

(vi) In the light of Ms Bradford’s negative answers concerning the lawful use of “reasonable force” in self-defence (s. 48) and by ship’s captains (s. 60), which we accept as correct; why did she state on Agenda “It’s actually illegal now to smack your child” when she knew full well that this is untruthful (s. s. 59) and has now done a U-turn on by stating: “Some smacking is therefore illegal under the current law.” (see above)? [Note the “reasonable force” defence provisions in s. 59, 60 and 48 serve the same purposes in protected those who use the force and those subject to the force].

Re Queston 4

(vi) Ms Bradford agreed to amendments to her bill which she now admits she did not feel were necessary, but agreed to in order to alleviate some doubts by some submitters – as she puts it “assertions by some submitters on the Bill that it [use of reasonable force for removing kids from harms waty etc.] may not be so justified”. In the light of these concessions to submitters, why is she opposed to a clarification of s. 59 (the Borrows amendment) so that judges can point jury members to a clearer definition of “reasonable force” as it applies to actions taken by parents in corrective discipline on children?

Yours sincerely

David Lane


Society for Promotion of Community Standards Inc.

P.O. Box 13-683 Johnsonville



How Caregivers will be Criminalised Under Sue Bradford’s ‘anti-smacking’ Bill
Press Release 27 April 2007 http://www.spcs.org.nz

If Green MP Sue Bradford’s ‘anti-smacking bill’ is passed into law, increasing numbers of childcare workers (e.g. creche and kindergarten workers) and those in the place of parents (e.g. grandparents, foster parents and guardians) will be charged with criminal assault by the police for lightly smacking children for “correction” purposes and will find themselves before the Courts defending actions which the vast majority of good parents consider perfectly justified as part of good domestic disciplinary procedures. As one leading New Zealand barrister, Mr Peter McKenzie QC, has reported in a comprehensive legal opinion on the effect of the Bill, some could even find themselves charged with criminal assault for applying “force” for removing troublesome and recalcitrant kids to “time-out” or “naughty-mat” zones because the discipline was done with the intention and for the purpose of “correction”. The intention of Bradford’s flawed bill, as clearly stated, is to make the use of all force illegal when used for “correction” by parents or those in the place of parents.

Sadly, the New Zealand public has too often seen the ugly face of badly applied law. Some cases have involved the domestic discipline of children (the case of the criminalising [for assault] of foster parents Don and Anne Eathorne through the actions of CYFS) and others involving public facilities where children are cared for by dedicated staff (The notorious Christchurch Creche case). An example of the latter, is the case involving a creche worker – Judith Anne Hende – who was wrongfully convicted and sentenced in a District Court for an assault on a child in her care and charged with wilfully and without lawful justification or excuse, stupefying a child (W) under her care. In 1995 the guilty verdict for stupefying was set aside by the Court of Appeal and the conviction was quashed. The Court directed that a judgment and verdict of acquittal be entered. Hende had been fined $1,000 by the District Court on the charge of stupefying a child.

More important to the debate over Bradford’s anti-family bill is the fact that when the Court of Appeal dealt with Hende’s conviction for assault, its ruling was that it be set aside and “the appellant be discharged without conviction”.

The Queen v Judith Anne Hende (CA196/95)
Coram: Eichelbaum CJ, Hardie Boys J and Henry J

Hearing 24 July 1995 (at Auckland)

On 18 September 1995 Judge Eichelbaum CJ issued the Court of Appeal’s Judgment that in part dealt with the assault charge against Ms Judith Anne Hende and he “discharged [her] without conviction”. Hende, the appellant, was a licensee of a creche and had appealed against her conviction and sentence for assault and other matters, by a District Court. The assault charge was laid by the police under s. 194(a) of the Crimes Act. It was alleged that she assaulted a child (S) under the age of 14.

Eichelbaum CJ stated in his Judgment:

“The particulars alleged were ‘hitting child when [the child was] going berserk’ … The only prosecution evidence of the assault was in the depositions of two witnesses who were unavailable to give evidence at the trial.” [Permission was granted by the Judge for the depositions to be read at the trial.]… “The second witness (the sister of the first) said she saw the appellant smack the child twice with her open hand on his bottom, two smacks one after the other on the same occasion. Cross-examined briefly, she agreed her memory about what exactly happened was a bit hazy, and that the smacks would not have hurt.”

“Given, however, that as to the nature of the assault the Court had only the bare words quoted [by the witness], there was no justification for treating the incident as involving anything more than a pat on the bottom. Although technically an assault, it did not merit the stigma of a conviction and the fine [of $250] imposed”

“…the appellant has been through a seven day trial and two hearings before this Court, and the events are now three to four years old”

This tragic case highlights how police, even after presumably applying careful discretion (we doubt it in this case), will readily lay charges for a mere “technical assault” for incidents involving a mere “pat on the bottom”, and allow such trivial matters to be taken to Court leading to the stigma of a conviction and a fine being imposed on an innocent child care worker. Police merely do their job when Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and similar agencies – the so-called “experts” in child advocacy – fail to apply commonsense, are consumed by their own misguided zeal and ideological bias and are goaded into action by parents with their own agendas. The Police regularly hand the troublesome matter from the basket labelled “Too Hard” – to the Courts – relying on the legal “experts” to decide. Police are too busy chasing serial rapists, child molesters, bank heist professionals, and those committing aggravated robberies and sexual assaults, to be bothered too much by cases involving children being patted on the bottom.

It is staggering and hard to believe that such trivial and ridiculous cases as those involving some of the charges laid against Judith Hende, end up in Court even without Ms Bradford’s bill becoming law! When it does become law – God forbid – the gloves are off! Agencies like CYFS will pursue all manner of trivial prosecutions against decent parents who seek to administer corrective discipline to their children for serious wrongdoing. They will use the police to hide behind. Bradford’s absurd and naïve claim that police discretion is the only filter needed to ensure that parents will not be criminalised for trivial cases involving light smacking etc. deserves the cynical response “Yeah Right!”.

It is noteworthy that on the charges of “ill-treatment” for which Hende was convicted by the District Court and sentenced to 200 hours community work, the appeal was allowed on a number of counts and a new trial was ordered by the Court of Appeal. A number of the key verdicts were therefore ordered to be set aside and a new trial was ordered.

The New Zealand public have overwhelmingly indicated via numerous opinion polls that they strongly oppose the repeal of section 59 and oppose Bradford’s “anti-smacking bill” – one that even if passed, will make no difference to rectifying the serious problem of child abuse in this country. The SPCS wants the serious problem of child abuse properly investigated by the government and the real root causes addressed urgently.

24 April 2007 – familyvalues – ‘The real school bully isn’t in the schoolyard’


‘The real school bully isn’t in the schoolyard’
Tuesday, 24 April 2007, 9:33 am
Press Release: http://www.familyvalues.net.nz
Mass gathering at Parliament Grounds
Wednesday 2nd May at 12.30pm
24 April 2007

‘The real school bully isn’t in the schoolyard’

Without provocation, the Government has forced Wainuiomata Christian College to disclose its disciplinary policies or face closure. Martin Keast, principal of Wainuiomata Christian College and Silverstream Christian School has reluctantly complied with the demand but states, ‘we do so under threat.’

In response to Mr Keast’s comments, Education Minister Steve Maharey, says: “The law is the law.’ Now lets take the anti smacking bill.

If this bill is passed, what will stop the Government (without any provocation) demanding from ordinary, law-abiding kiwi parents the same disclosure of their disciplinary measures in the home? After all, ‘the law is the law!’ Government’s planned national database to monitor all New Zealand children provides the framework to make this scenario a reality.

To that end, a mass gathering at Parliament Grounds will take place next week – Wednesday 2nd May at 12.30pm to oppose the anti-smacking bill. Speakers include Bishop Brian Tamaki, Pastor Peter Mortlock, Wellington Reverend Mike Weitenburg and former All Black and Wellington Hurricanes Captain Bull Allen.

Event details can be viewed on http://www.familyvalues.net.nz


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