3 – 15 May 2007

15 May 2007 – ACT – Hide Calls on Helen Clark and John Key to Allow Free Vote on Anti-Smacking Bill

Hide Calls on Helen Clark and John Key to Allow Free Vote on Anti-Smacking Bill

from http://www.act.org.nz/hide_calls_on_helen_clark_and_john_key_to_allow_free_vote_on_anti_smacking_bill

15 May 2007

ACT Leader Rodney Hide has written to Helen Clark and John Key urging them to allow their MPs a free vote on Sue Bradford’s Anti-Smacking Bill.

“It’s all very well for John Key and Helen Clark to decide that they want to criminalise parents who smack their children – but it’s wrong that they dictate that their MPs must vote for the Bill.

“I don’t believe that the majority of Parliament is for this Bill. I believe, given the choice, the majority of Labour and National MPs would vote with ACT against this Bill. But there’s only one way to find out: Have a free vote in Parliament. After all, if Helen and John think the Bill is so good, then they should have no problem allowing their MPs a free vote.

“Make no mistake this Bill criminalises parents who smack their children. The Bill states its purpose is to abolish the use of parental force for the purpose of correction. Clause 4 substitutes a new section 59(2) into the Crimes Act 1961 and declares:

“(2) Nothing in subsection (1) or in any rule of common law justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction.”

“The amendment that John Key and Helen Clark have agreed to does nothing to alter the fact that parents who smack their children will be breaking the law. All it does is confirm that the police have discretion as to whether they will prosecute parents who smack their kids.

“Smacking parents may not be prosecuted but they will still be breaking the law and Sue Bradford’s Bill makes good, loving parents criminals.

“It’s an atrocious Bill. That’s why we need a free vote” said Rodney Hide.


To access a copy of Rodney Hide’s letter to Helen Clark and John Key go to http://www.act.org.nz/files/m/downloads/Letter%20To%20Clark%20And%20Key.pdf.

Leader ACT New Zealand, MP for Epsom
Parliament Buildings Wellington Telephone 04 470 6630 Fax 04 473 3532
Electorate Office: Unit A, 11-13 Clovernook Road, Newmarket, PO Box 9209 Newmarket AUCKLAND
Telephone 09 522 7464 Fax 09 523 0472

May 1407 Clark and Key
14 May 2007

Right Honourable Helen Clark
Prime Minister
Parliament Buildings

John Key MP
Leader of the Opposition
Parliament Buildings

Dear Helen and John

On Wednesday 16 May we have the final vote on Sue Bradford’s Crimes (Substituted
Section 59) Amendment Bill.

I write to ask you to allow your respective MPs a free vote in the same way all other parties have allowed their MPs to vote as their conscience determines.

The Bill is controversial with public polls reporting 83 percent of New Zealanders opposing it.

In Epsom 68 percent of voters are opposed; only 21 percent in favour.

John, when you opposed the Bill, you asked the Prime Minister the following question:
“If the Prime Minister thinks Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking bill is such a good bill and that the 83 percent of New Zealanders who have consistently opposed it are so
completely wrong, why will she not simply give her caucus a free vote?”

It’s a good question. Of course, at the time the vote was tight. In fact, you suggested that Sue Bradford’s Bill would not pass if Labour allowed their MPs a free vote. Presumably the vote is less tight as you and some of your caucus are now supporting it. Surely we are now in a better position to have a free vote and see what Parliament actually thinks.

John, you once thought it was a good idea for the Prime Minister to allow her caucus a free vote, why isn’t it a good idea for you now to do the same? It would be good for our democracy and for political accountability if you would do so.

Prime Minister, you told Parliament last Wednesday: “…But I do think that in the case of the Bill on Section 59, the overwhelming majority of our Parliament has come together, not only to send a very strong message about not wanting the violence that causes death and injury in our homes but also to send a strong message of support to good, decent parents, who should not be marched off to court for matters that are so inconsequential it would not be in the public interest to have them there…”

If it is truly the “overwhelming majority” of our Parliament that has come together then you should have no difficulty accepting a free vote. The problem is if you don’t, it looks as if you and John Key are dictating how the majority of Parliament should vote. Not all of Parliament accepts this Bill just as much of the country does not. The only way to resolve it is to allow a free vote.

ACT is the only party which now opposes the Bill. We oppose it because it makes any mum or dad lightly smacking their toddler a criminal. That’s ridiculous. The Bill’s purpose makes this clear. It is to:

“Make better provision for children to live in a safe and secure environment free from violence by abolishing the use of parental force for the purpose of correction.”

Clause 4 substitutes a new section 59(2) into the Crimes Act 1961 that drives the point home:

“(2) Nothing in subsection (1) or in any rule of common law justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction.”

Once the Bill passes it will be against the law to smack a child and a parent lightly smacking their toddler will be committing a criminal offence as defined in the Crimes Act.

New subsection (4) which you have both agreed to doesn’t change this fact. That is why Sue Bradford has not withdrawn her bill as she said she would if it was watered down in any way.

All your joint amendment does is to confirm that the police have discretion as to whether they prosecute or not, discretion they have always had and have always exercised.

The fact remains that a parent smacking their child will be committing a crime, whether or not they are prosecuted. Good parents will be criminalised should this bill pass into law. It’s simply not right to criminalise parents in this way.

I once again ask you both to allow you respective caucus’ a free vote to test truly the will of Parliament.

Yours sincerely
Rodney Hide MP for Epsom
Leader, ACT New Zealand

14 May 2007 – United Future NZ Party – Turner to oppose Bradford Bill

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0705/S00321.htm Bill

Monday, 14 May 2007, 10:16 am
Press Release: United Future NZ Party
Monday, 14 May 2007
Turner to oppose Bradford Bill

United Future MP Judy Turner today announced she will be voting against the third and final reading of Green MP Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking Bill when it next comes up for debate in Parliament.

“I do believe that the amendment passed last week to clarify the police discretion to not prosecute when it is not in the public interest to do so, was a definite improvement,” says Mrs Turner.

“However, this provision does not apply to Child Youth and Family Services who, like the police, have statutory powers and can remove your children, limit your access, and eventually in the interests of permanency, place them with a new family.

“Some would say that it is pure hysteria to suggest that parents will lose their children into care if they lightly smack their children.

“Well I hope they are right. CYFS certainly don’t have to meet the same burden of proof as the police do to make an arrest, so discretion is even harder to determine.

“Currently this agency has no robust complaints service and because this is lacking there is little feedback across the department about the need to change social work procedures.

“They do acknowledge that most complaints are about social work provision, but there is no break-down of this to identify if there are any common themes in these complaints.

“Parents I have dealt with fear making a complaint in case they further jeopardise their case. They feel powerless and understandably emotional, often lacking the skills needed to make calm representation to staff at the local branch office.

“To date, not enough has changed in this department to reassure me that good parents are safe, and for this reason… I am not supporting the third reading of this Bill.


13 MAY 2007 – Family First – MP’s to Vote on “Most Extreme Anti-Smacking Law in World” – Expert

13 MAY 2007


MP’s to Vote on “Most Extreme Anti-Smacking Law in World” – Expert

Politicians will vote this week on the world’s most extreme anti-smacking law in the world, according to Dr Robert E Larzelere, Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Science at the Oklahoma State University, who was brought to New Zealand by Family First NZ as a scientific expert on child correction for the debate on Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking bill.

In a commentary written after his week in NZ earlier this month speaking with politicians and media, he says “…the imminent New Zealand smacking ban is more extreme than Sweden’s ban in three ways. Using force to correct children will be subject to full criminal penalties …. Sweden’s ban had no criminal penalty. In addition, New Zealand’s bill bans the mildest use of force to correct children, not just smacking. This removes most disciplinary enforcements parents have used for generations, especially for the most defiant youngsters. Finally, the required change in disciplinary enforcements will be the biggest change ever imposed on parents.”

Dr Larzelere also highlights concerns of immigrants to NZ with the law and says “The New Zealand bill’s proponents claim that missionaries were responsible for introducing smacking and bashing to the Maori and other South Pacific peoples. The irony is that they are doing the same thing they accuse missionaries of – imposing a European philosophy of child correction on native ethnic groups – this time enforced with criminal penalties.”

He warns that the law to be voted on this Wednesday by Parliament “…runs counter to scientific evidence, previous experiences with similar bans, and the wisdom of previous generations as far back as we can remember. It illustrates the world’s increasing inability to work out well-reasoned balanced positions rather than forcing people to choose between polarized extremes.”

Dr Larzelere compares our politicians’ efforts to ban smacking with US President George W Bush’s decision to invade Iraq and says Bush “…had an overly optimistic view about invading Iraq because they heard only one optimistic side of the scenarios. Now our country is in a quagmire with no good way out. For the sake of New Zealand’s children and future, I hope they have a better exit strategy than George Bush.”

Dr Larzelere’s full warning can be read at http://www.familyfirst.org.nz/index.cfm/Dr_Larzelere


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

9 MAY 2007 – Family First – Save the Children Report – Further Proof that Smacking Isn’t the Issue

9 MAY 2007

Save the Children Report – Further Proof that Smacking Isn’t the Issue

The latest report from Save the Children “State of the World’s Mothers 2007 – Saving the Lives of Children Under 5” is further evidence that the proposed ban on smacking is a ‘feel-good’ policy which has been adopted by 17 countries now without any identifiable or tangible benefit.

For the child death rate in the developed world, NZ currently ranks 21st. Of the top 20 safest countries, less than half have banned smacking. And the worst country for child deaths, Romania, banned smacking 3 years ago.

“Save the Children in New Zealand have trumpeted this report as further evidence that section 59 should be repealed,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ, “yet this report is simply further proof that groups like Save the Children, Barnardos and EPOCH are barking up the wrong tree in relation to child abuse.”

“The report quite correctly identifies the health and well-being of the mother, the availability of skilled health personnel during births, education and poverty as key contributors to children being at risk.”

The report reiterates the issues that Family First is highlighting. It says “Factors such as single parenthood, low levels of maternal education, teenage motherhood, substandard housing, large family size and parental drug or alcohol abuse increase the risks that a child will not survive to age 5.”

Mr McCoskrie says it is time that groups like Save the Children, CYF and UNICEF in NZ started reading their own reports and started advocating for dealing with the actual causes of child abuse, rather than attacking good families.


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

6 May 2007 – Family First – ANTI-SMACKING BILL

06 May 2007
Hi Barbara,


Can Parents Have Confidence in the Proposed Anti-Smacking Law?

But Clark said the proposed change was a “breakthrough” in that it provided assurance to good parents who were concerned they could be prosecuted for lightly smacking their children under the bill. She said the bill as it stood would have never done that, but inserting police guidelines into the legislation made that clear. – Helen Clark (NZPA 2 May 2007)

” National Party Leader John Key is pleased Labour will adopt a version of his amendment to the anti-smacking bill which he thinks will give parents confidence they will not be criminalised for lightly smacking their children .” – John Key (Media Release 2 May 2007)


The amendment simply says they may not be PROSECUTED for smacking their children – if the police thinks the force is “inconsequential” (whatever that means) and “not in the public interest” (but there is HUGE public interest by anti-smacking groups to ban all force.)

In response to an email from Family First to the Police Association, where we put a couple of scenarios of how a harrassed mother may deal with a child who is being defiant and a member of the public or even the child complains to the police, they said

“The important thing to remember is that in both cases, a complaint has been made and police have an obligation to investigate. A file will be created and it will be assigned to an officer to investigate. They will interview witnesses, etc, as we always do, to establish the facts to the extent they can. It is then that a decision will be made.

Had Section 59 been repealed, under police policy, if there was evidence of an offence, the offender would have to be arrested. Now there will be a test applied as to whether the force was inconsequential or not which essentially means police can and will exercise some discretion.

As to whether CYFS will be notified, the answer as I understand it to be, bearing in mind I speak on behalf of the Association not Police, is that there is likely to be a notification if it is established some force has been used. This is the practice where a complaint involving a child is made. ”


– despite the supposed compromise reached by Clark, Key and Bradford???

We believe that John Key and Helen Clark should make good their promise that parents will not be criminalised for lightly smacking their children. This should be explicitly spelt out in the legislation – not left to the Police. This would avoid good parents coming under the weight and stress of an investigation by the police and CYF if a malicious or unecessary complaint is made against them.


There are 3 things we’d like you to consider doing – if you agree with our concerns:

1. Email all NATIONAL MP’s and ask that John Key’s promise to parents is stated explicitly in the law – that parents will not be criminalised for light smacks. Also ask for a Conscience Vote on the issue

shane.ardern@parliament.govt.nz; chris.auchinvole@parliament.govt.nz ; david.bennett@parliament.govt.nz ; paula.bennett@parliament.govt.nz ; jackie.blue@parliament.govt.nz ; mark.blumsky@parliament.govt.nz ; chester.borrows@parliament.govt.nz ; natalie.roberts@parliament.govt.nz ; david.carter@parliament.govt.nz ; john.carter@parliament.govt.nz ;
bob.clarkson@parliament.govt.nz ; jonathan.coleman@parliament.govt.nz ; judith.collins@parliament.govt.nz ; brian.connell@national.org.nz ; jacqui.dean@parliament.govt.nz ;
lorraine.jones@parliament.govt.nz ; christopher.finlayson@parliament.govt.nz ; craig.foss@parliament.govt.nz ; jo.goodhew@parliament.govt.nz ; sandra.goudie@national.org.nz ;
tim.groser@parliament.govt.nz ; sue.reid@parliament.govt.nz ; john.hayes@parliament.govt.nz ; phil.heatley@parliament.govt.nz ; tau.henare@parliament.govt.nz ; alwyn.black@parliament.govt.nz ;
emma.holmes@parliament.govt.nz ; colin.king@parliament.govt.nz ; wayne.mapp@parliament.govt.nz ; murray.mccully@parliament.govt.nz ; allan.peachey@parliament.govt.nz ;
simon.power@parliament.govt.nz ; katherine.rich@national.org.nz ; eric.roy@parliament.govt.nz ; tony.ryall@parliament.govt.nz ; katrina.shanks@national.org.nz ;
clem.simich@parliament.govt.nz ; lockwood.smith@parliament.govt.nz ; nick.smith@parliament.govt.nz ; meg.dowrick@parliament.govt.nz ; lindsay.tisch@parliament.govt.nz ;
anne.tolley@parliament.govt.nz ; chris.tremain@national.org.nz ; nicky.wagner@parliament.govt.nz ; kate.wilkinson@parliament.govt.nz ; maurice.williamson@parliament.govt.nz ;
pansy.wong@parliament.govt.nz ; richard.worth@parliament.govt.nz ;
(simply copy these signatures and paste onto email)

2. Email all LABOUR MP’s and remind them that if the new amendment is as good as they say, allow a Conscience Vote for their MP’s

rbarker@ministers.govt.nz ; tim.barnett@parliament.govt.nz ; dbenson-pope@ministers.govt.nz ; mburton@ministers.govt.nz ; ccarter@ministers.govt.nz ; steve.chadwick@parliament.govt.nz ;
ritchie.wards@parliament.govt.nz ; ritchie.wards@parliament.govt.nz ; pm@ministers.govt.nz ; clayton.cosgrove@parliament.govt.nz ; mcullen@ministers.govt.nz ; dcunliffe@ministers.govt.nz ;
ldalziel@ministers.govt.nz ; hduynhoven@ministers.govt.nz ; rdyson@ministers.govt.nz ; russell.fairbrother@parliament.govt.nz ; darien.fenton@parliament.govt.nz ;
jan.gribben@parliament.govt.nz ; pgoff@ministers.govt.nz ; mark.gosche@parliament.govt.nz ; ann.hartley@parliament.govt.nz ; george.hawkins@parliament.govt.nz ;
dave.hereora@parliament.govt.nz ; marian.hobbs@parliament.govt.nz ; phodgson@ministers.govt.nz ; phoromia@ministers.govt.nz ; darren.hughes@parliament.govt.nz ;
shane.jones@parliament.govt.nz ; aking@ministers.govt.nz ; wlaban@ministers.govt.nz ; moana.mackey@labour.org.nz ; smaharey@ministers.govt.nz ; nmahuta@ministers.govt.nz ;
tmallard@ministers.govt.nz ; sue.moroney@parliament.govt.nz ; doconnor@ministers.govt.nz ; mahara.okeroa@parliament.govt.nz ; dparker@ministers.govt.nz ;
jill.pettis@parliament.govt.nz ; lynne.pillay@parliament.govt.nz ; mririnui@ministers.govt.nz ; ross.robertson@parliament.govt.nz ; dsamuels@ministers.govt.nz ; lesley.soper@parliament.govt.nz ;
maryan.street@parliament.govt.nz ; paul.swain@parliament.govt.nz ; jtizard@ministers.govt.nz ; margaret.wilson@parliament.govt.nz ; dianne.yates@parliament.govt.nz ;
(simply copy these signatures and paste onto email)

3. Continue to gain signatures for the Referendum.

There are already over 160,000 signatures on this petition demanding a Referendum on this exact issue “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a Criminal Offence in NZ”

You can download forms here http://www.familyfirst.org.nz/index.cfm/sign_the_petitions.html


Please feel free to email us with your feedback and opinion on this issue. Email bob@familyfirst.org.nz

Have a good week

Kind regards

Bob McCoskrie

www.familyfirst.org.nz | About us | Media Centre | Contact Us | Support Us |

nzcpr – The Tail is Wagging the Dog

New Zealand Centre for Political Research – http://www.nzcpr.com

The Tail is Wagging the Dog

The ramming through Parliament of the deeply unpopular anti-smacking bill is the clearest sign yet that under MMP the ‘tail is wagging the dog’. As Iain Gillies wrote in an editorial in the Gisborne Herald last month: “Widespread antipathy to Sue Bradford’s bill on parental smacking could unwittingly provoke renewed calls for a review of the MMP voting system. The motion does not figure much – yet – in either public discussion or the parliamentary debate, but may well get traction when voters consider to whom their MPs are beholden; their party hierarchy or the electorate (To read the article click here http://www.nzcpd.com/research.htm).

MMP was sold to New Zealanders as a system that would improve representative democracy in this country so that the views of the voters would hold more weight. Surely, no-one could have envisioned the situation we now find ourselves in whereby, in spite of overwhelming public opposition, a list-only minority party is being allowed to foist onto New Zealanders the sort of anti-family legislation that would make Karl Marx proud.

The anti-smacking bill is the brainchild of Green Party MP Sue Bradford. In a 2005 article entitled Vote Labour Now to Smash Capitalism Later, the Communist Workers’ Group states: “A Labour government may need the backing of the Greens. Commentator Chris Trotter said that the New Zealand Greens are probably the most left-wing Green party in the world that has made it into political office. On the face of it there seems to be some truth in this with people like ex-Socialist Action League member Keith Locke and ex-Workers Communist League member Sue Bradford”. (See Aotearoa Independent Media Centre http://indymedia.org.nz/newswire/display/37062/index.php)

So unbelievably, because of the support of the Prime Minister, a former Workers Communist League member is now set to impose her ideology onto New Zealand. British journalist Lynette Burrows in an article How to control adults by means of ‘children’s rights’ explains what’s behind the ideology:

“The question was always, why are the children’s rights people so concerned to make the parental right to smack their children illegal? Most of their organisations have been more or less devoted to the subject despite the fact that 90% of good and caring parents say that it is necessary at times. Now the answer is clear.

“It is a device which places most parents in the power of social workers. They are by training and tradition, marxist, feminist and anti-religious. They don’t much care for the family and lend their weight on every possible occasion to arguments and devices that show it in a bad light… The traditional family is still the safest place for any child to be – but you wouldn’t know it from official literature on the subject.

“Thus, anybody who wanted to further a marxist, feminist agenda could not do better than to have most families in thrall to social workers. It is not about the elevation of children’s rights at all. It is all about the crushing of adult ones”. (To read the article click here http://www.nzcpd.com/research.htm)

Complicit in this attack on parents is Helen Clark who, badly needing Green Party support after the abdication of Philip Field, has done everything in her power to get this anti-smacking law passed: she has prevented her MPs from exercising a conscience vote, she attempted to get the bill passed under urgency, she tried to adopt it as a government bill, and now, in what must be one of the greatest political coups in New Zealand’s history, she has duped the National Party, United and New Zealand First into supporting a Claytons amendment.

The new amendment provided by the Law Commission – under instruction from the Prime Minister – and tabled in Parliament by the Leader of the United Party, changes nothing. As the law now stands if a complaint is laid about a parent smacking a child, the police are required to investigate and to notify the Department of Child Youth and Family. As a result of such an investigation the Police already have the discretion over whether or not to prosecute: if the matter is minor and of no public interest then there will be no prosecution. The much-heralded new clause – which astonishingly gained the support of even those MPs who were vehemently opposed to Bradford’s bill – simply re-states the law as it stands. (To read the original Police advice to the Select Committee click here http://www.nzcpr.com/policeadvice.pdf).

What this whole exercise has shown, is that under MMP calculated cunning is the name of the game. As long as the ruling party can cobble together sufficient support in the House – using whatever trickery it can dream up – any sort of radical new law can now be imposed in New Zealand without public mandate. Nothing is sacred, not even our right to run our own families as we see fit.

Democracy is meant to be government for the people, by the people and of the people. It is meant to respect the rights and freedoms of each and every citizen. What we have under MMP is government by political unions – the political parties – which collude to seek electoral advantage so they can push their ideology into law in order to satisfy the special interest groups that provide their support. All that matters is whether they have the numbers: the question of whether a proposed public policy change will serve the common interest and the public good appears to have been subsumed by the desire to be seen to be winning a victory in Parliament.

Most of the time they get away with it, but this time, with public opinion polls showing that the views of over 80% of New Zealanders are being ignored by our MMP parliamentarians – who look set to pass the anti-smacking bill into law – then surely it is time to question the electoral system itself.

Peter Shirtcliffe has always held serious doubts about the suitability of MMP for New Zealand. He is the NZ Centre for Political Research guest commentator this week. In an article entitled The Nonsense of the List MP he explains:

“One of the most heavily-promoted arguments in favour of MMP was that its introduction would transform for the better the way in which Parliament worked. We were promised… greater sensitivity to the wishes of the Electorate”.

Peter goes on to say: “The signs of politically-driven control agendas are starting to show and objective common-sense solutions will not readily emerge from arrogant, unelected MPs who are at the same time seeking ways to use more taxpayers’ (your) money to fund their own organisations”.

Peter is not alone in believing that a further referendum on MMP is now warranted – although he does note that it is extremely unlikely that such an initiative would be generated by this Parliament. I suspect that a good many of the 1,032,919 voters who supported MMP in the 1993 referendum did so believing that if it didn’t work out, they were going to be given another chance to change it in a later referendum.

With the vexed question of how to best to safeguard ourselves from hasty, unwise or ill-considered legislation uppermost in our mind, maybe the time is now right for that long-awaited binding referendum on whether MMP has delivered to New Zealand a system of government that ensures that not only do our elected representatives reflect the will of the people, but they are also committed to protecting their rights and their liberties.

The poll this week asks whether you would support New Zealand holding a binding referendum on MMP.
To vote click here http://www.nzcpr.com/

Last week’s poll asked: Do you you support government funded legal aid for environmental activists driving a political agenda? The result: 3% voted Yes, 97% voted No! Hundreds of the comments submitted on this issue can be seen here http://www.nzcpd.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=179.

Please feel free to send this newsletter on to others who you think would be interested and encourage them to visit the website and register for the newsletter.

Don’t forget that we are always keen to consider publication of opinion pieces for the website Soapbox Series http://www.nzcpr.com/soapbox.htm– why not visit the page and send in your submission.

To contact Muriel about this week’s column please click here muriel@nzcpd.com

NZCPR Weekly is a free weekly newsletter by Dr Muriel Newman of the New Zealand Centre for Political Research, a web-based forum at http://www.nzcpd.com/ for the lively and dynamic exchange of political ideas. You can reach Muriel by phone on 09-434-3836, 021-800-111 or by post at PO Box 984 Whangarei.

5 May 2007 – Family Integrity – Politicians Party over Parental Sellout

Press Release
For Immediate Release

Politicians Party over Parental Sellout

No matter how you slice it, Bradford’s original intention in repealing Section 59 was to make criminals out of parents who dared to use any force, regardless of how light or reasonable, to correct their own children, a core responsibility of parenthood.

This amendment does not effect this intention one iota: which is why Bradford is so happy and did not pull the bill.

If this bill goes through, parents wanting to correct a child’s bad behaviour or speech or attitude or values or morals will be committing a criminal act if any force of any kind is used. This is way beyond smacking, which significantly isn’t mentioned anywhere in the bill. To correct a child is at the very least to force the parent’s will on the child, however that is done: physical force; appeals to cultural, social, religious or traditional standards; warnings of loss of
privileges, intimidation, etc.

And to show how encompassing this criminalisation is, neither Bradford nor anyone else has yet bothered to define what “correction” means, even though it is about to become the latest crime to be added to the Crimes Act. Neither is the term “force” defined nor limited to only physical force.

Every parent in the country is under threat.

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

kearney.blogspot – Meet the new bill, same as the old bill

Meet the new bill, same as the old bill


Yesterday’s ‘consensus’ changes http://stuff.co.nz/4045623a6160.html don’t change the legal effect of the anti-smacking bill at all.

It is always possible for the police to refuse to prosecute on the grounds that there is no public interest. If they can do it when the Prime Minister commits fraud they can certainly do it when a parent lightly smacks their child. However, the police have discretion as to whether they prosecute and the bill does not change that. When opposition MP Shane Ardern drove a tractor up the steps of Parliament, police did choose to prosecute. Now for light smacking, then will be able to prosecute as and when they choose, based on race, gender, previous convictions, political party membership or any other grounds they see fit.

There are a couple of misunderstandings now out there.

The normally sensible Audrey Young http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10437478 in the Herald declares that “The compromise explicitly tells the police not to prosecute inconsequential ‘offences’”. A simple reading of the text of the amendment is enough to see that this is not so. It explicitly says the police have discretion.

Dave at Big News http://big-news.blogspot.com/2007/05/i-support-smacking-amendment-as-most.html says: “It is the intent of Parliament that is most important – even more important than the wording of legislation itself.” This is a common misconception, even among law students. The intent of Parliament evidenced by Hansard etc. is looked at when an Act is ambiguous (it shouldn’t be but that is a story for another day). This Act is not ambiguous. It’s the police’s choice.

I suppose a defendant might seek judicial review of the decision to prosecute, but judicial review is weighted in favour of the government decision maker, even in criminal cases. To show that no reasonable decision maker would have found there was any public interest at all in prosecuting sounds like a very uphill battle. If the defendant suspects police bias against them for some reason it would be very hard to prove that as well.

I was wondering how Helen Clark could come out of this looking good but her amazing political cunning has manifested itself yet again. Two days ago her party was backing a bill opposed by 80% of New Zealanders. Since then, the bill has not materially changed, the opposition are now supporting it, and a smokescreen has been created that will likely persuade many of those 80% that the bill is not too bad, especially given the compliant nature of the media coverage.

lindsaymitchell – We’ll never know

We’ll never know


Harking back to yesterday’s suggestion by Larry Baldock that Clark was facing a caucus revolt, here’s where Harry Duynhoven was at;

Transport Safety Minister Harry Duynhoven last night revealed how close he came to crossing the floor over the Bradford bill.

Mr Duynhoven is one of Labour’s more conservative MPs, and was frequently challenged by National MPs to vote with opponents of the bill.

“On this issue I have been more torn than any other issue we have debated in this House,” he said.

“I have seriously considered whether I fitted still, whether my views and the basis of my value system were appropriate for the party I am in.”

Personally I don’t think he was on his own. But now we will never know.

With the amendment we will have the police defining what is acceptable. If they don’t want to make that call they can refer the case to CYF. What is CYF’s directive? As always they will be using their discretion based on evidence and testimony. So what happens before a case reaches court is pretty much the same.

Thereafter, the accused will have no defence of reasonable force and the court will have to decide what is and isn’t ‘inconsequential’. Things have just become a lot murkier. What was bad legislation has been turned into worse legislation and so it will be passed.

There will be more reports because the population, thanks to this extraordinary debate, is charged up about the moral rights and wrongs of smacking.

And given the result, it’s a debate that has been a waste of time. Except for the CIR petition that asks govt to do something meaningful about child abuse.

3 May 2007 – newstalkzb – Unrest in National ranks over smacking bill

3 May 2007 – newstalkzb – Unrest in National ranks over smacking bill

Unrest in National ranks over smacking bill

3/05/2007 14:16:14

There is disquiet among a large number of National MPs over their leader’s decision to strike a deal with Helen Clark over the anti-smacking bill.

Newstalk ZB’s political staff say news of John Key’s late night meeting with the Prime Minister came as a complete surprise to National’s caucus.

National and Tauranga MP Bob Clarkson says the anti-smacking bill is home invasion. He says the compromise reached with the Labour Party was a caucus decision.

Mr Clarkson says National has let Labour off the hook with the deal. He says he would have left Labour to be hung out to dry, as the public reacted to the controversial bill.

One senior National MP says most party representatives are going to hold their judgement on the move, after gauging media and public reaction.

Another says while National has been instrumental in brokering near political consensus on the issue, many MPs are unhappy they will end up supporting a bill which they are opposed to, as is the majority of the public.

Both agree that the decision could be a stroke of genius, or a serious setback and that only time will tell.

Maxim – Smoke and mirrors


Smoke and mirrors

Pundits hail a political consensus. National and Labour have done a back-room deal on an amendment to the “anti-smacking Bill,” and parents apparently no longer have anything to fear. But when the smoke and mirrors are rolled away, the effect of the Bill has not changed. The Bill would still mean that good parents who use mild correction are committing a criminal offence, regardless of whether they are prosecuted.

The amended Bill says that the Police will not have to prosecute “where the offence is considered to be so inconsequential that there is no public interest in proceeding with a prosecution.” But immediately preceding this is the statement, “Nothing … justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction.” In other words, parents who use mild physical force for correction, such as a light smack, will be acting outside the law and subject to Police scrutiny, investigation and possible prosecution.

The problems with this proposal are legion. To begin with, we should only call something criminal if it is worthy of prosecution and conviction. This proposal attempts to fudge the issue and falls foul of this standard. It also gives the Police wide discretion and raises the spectre of discriminatory enforcement. The requirement that prosecution be in the public interest may sound reassuring, but different prosecutors will take different views of what it means, and the Law Commission has said that Police have been known to continue with some cases which are not in the public interest. Significantly, the limitation would only apply to Police, not to other government agencies, and not to private citizens, who are able to prosecute for breaches of the criminal law.

The amended Bill is highly unsatisfactory, but seems likely to be passed in just a couple of weeks with almost no scrutiny or debate.

Read Maxim Institute’s Issue Snapshot Section 59: The consensus amendment

Hear John Key and a chance to comment

Hear John Key and a chance to comment


3 MAY 2007 – Family First Calls for Clark and Key to Allow Conscience Vote on Bill

3 MAY 2007


Family First Calls for Clark and Key to Allow Conscience Vote on Bill

Family First is calling on the leaders of the National and Labour party to allow a conscience vote for their MP’s on the final reading of the ‘anti-smacking’ bill in two week’s time.

“If this revised bill is as good as both John Key and Helen Clark are claiming, then they should have no problem allowing their MP’s to vote with their conscience as was previously promised,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First.

On March 22 of this year when Labour were attempting to place the bill under urgency, John Key said “The Labour-led Government knows the (anti-smacking bill) is deeply unpopular, so it plans to act against the wishes of the majority of Kiwis and ram the bill through under urgency. This is a deeply cynical abuse of power as Labour tries to clear the decks of this controversial issue. Helen Clark has refused to let her MPs vote the way they really think on this bill.” (http://johnkey.co.nz/index.php?/archives/60-Labour-shows-contempt-for-New-Zealanders.html)

Mr McCoskrie believes that MP’s within both the Labour and National Caucus are still deeply unhappy with this law change, and know that parents in their local electorates are not happy with them having to support the bill.

“A good law will have the support of MP’s, who in turn know that they have the backing of the people. That’s democracy. This bill still doesn’t have a public mandate.”


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

3 May 2007 – Rodney Hide – Confusing times


Confusing times
Thursday, May 03, 2007

I arrived back in the country jetlagged and flew onto Wellington to learn that an historic peace had broken out with Helen Clark and John Key agreeing to a compromise on the smacking bill.

Good on John Key I thought. He’s taken the high ground and made a difference. That’s what I thought. Until I saw the amendment.

It makes no difference. Of course, the police have the discretion whether to prosecute. If anyone knows that, it’s Helen Clark!! This amendment just confirms it and then adds the confusing terms “inconsequential” and “public interest”.

Then John Key wips the National Party caucus to vote for it. So now Labour and National are voting for Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking bill. The criticisms National made of the Bill still stand except now they are all voting for it.

But get this: I move Chester Borrows’ amendment last night because he wouldn’t. That defines clearly what is allowed and what is not. National voted against it, including Chester.

It must be the jet lag or something. I can’t figure it out!

UPDATE: Here are my speeches from last night. http://www.act.org.nz/

Here is an interesting exchange with Chester:
I ask Mr Borrows whether it is true that the police have a decision not to prosecute.

Chester Borrows: Yes.

RODNEY HIDE: So this does nothing to Sue Bradfordâ€(tm)s bill?

Chester Borrows: No

3 May 2007 – Libertarianz Party – Key Sells Out On Smacking

Key Sells Out On Smacking
Thursday, 3 May 2007, 10:06 am
Press Release: Libertarianz Party
Anti-Smacking Bill
Key Sells Out On Smacking

Party leader Bernard Darnton today confirmed that Libertarianz opposes John Key’s sell-out on the anti-smacking bill.

“John Key is utterly worthless. I have no idea why he doesn’t just join the Labour Party,” Darnton said in disgust.

“Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking bill effectively nationalises New Zealand’s children by removing parental discretion in how to raise them. It is ‘nanny state’ in its most literal form. Helen Clark’s amendment, which John Key has lapdoggedly pursued, does nothing to change that.”

Looking at EXPORTING?
“All this amendment does is give Police discretion in deciding whether a prosecution is in the public interest. As ministers of the current government already know, the Police already have that power.”

“The amended bill will not necessarily prevent the Police from prosecuting trivial cases. It will not prevent CYF from making its victims’ lives a misery. It will not prevent private prosecutions – against which there will now be no defence – from malicious ex-spouses. It will not make the tiniest bit of difference to those who already seriously assault their children.”



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