Family Integrity # 456 — SPCS Media Release 23 June Dr Seuss’s guide to John Key on CIR

Family Integrity # 456 — SPCS Media Release 23 June Dr Seuss’s guide to John Key on CIR


This is great! Key needs to wake up.


Craig Smith

Family Integrity

Media Release: 23 June 2009

In response to:



The Society has contacted the famous children’s book author Dr Seuss for comment, following today’s sensational media reports that Prime Minister John Key has compared the wording of the forthcoming ’smacking law referendum’ (CIR) to those of his imaginative iconic ”green eggs and ham” children’s stories.

Dr Seuss, speaking from his apartment on 97th Street, lower Manhattan, New York, said:

” In my humble view, few New Zealanders who know their ABCs should find difficulty understanding your Citizen’s Initiated Referendum [CIR] Question ‘Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?’”.

Quoting his famous elephantine character, Horton (from Horton Hatched the Egg) he said of the CIR: “It means what it says, and it says what it means, Even an elephant could deliver an answer and get 100%”

John Key is on record as stating that the CIR wording is “a bit ambiguous and could be read in a number of ways”.

Dr Seuss described this criticism as “rather ham-fisted and influenced by over-consumption of greens”. He added that ”it would backfire resulting in Key getting egg on his face politically speaking – if you know what I mean and mean what I said”.

Dr Seuss, who gained his PhD from Cornell University. submitted this written advice to Mr Key:

Mr Key: Let’s examine the nature of the question which focuses on smacking as just one example of the use of ‘reasonable force applied in child discipline’ – carried out by a parent in the context of “good parental correction” [for wrongdoing]. (Note: the use of the word “good” sets the context of the physical action by ruling out any other context involving abuse/bad parenting).

Mr John Key, please consider the following two questions my scholarly friend Dr Horton has provided and answer “yes” or “no”:

  1. Should the withdrawing of desert treats from a child on the odd occasion by a parent as part of good parental correction, be a criminal offence in New Zealand? (Yes or No).
  2. Should confining a child to their bedroom on the odd occasion as part of good parental correction, be a criminal offence in New Zealand? (Yes or No).

Just in case you find these questions “a bit ambiguous and could be read a nunber of ways” (your words) my assistant Horton Ph.D. (Cornell) has provided some assistance to you. He states:

“Both the removal of desert and confinement of a child to a bedroom are used by some parents as part of “good parental correction”. Clearly few would suggest that the parents who use such grossly restrictive and cruel sanctions should warrant police investigation of the parent and their actions be treated as a criminal offence. I suggest you should answer “NO” to both questions 1 & 2 rather than refrain from answering because you claim the questions are silly and ambiguous. You may not agree that such sanctions constitute what you, in your superior wisdom consider to be “good” parenting, however that does not mean that you can or should judge those who use them, as child abusers, deviants or criminals.

“Likewise with the smacking law question. Smacking – involving reasonable force in the circumstances – by its very nature is NOT violence if administered for the purpose of correction…. I sugggest you answer “NO” to the CIR question. To call all smacking violence and worthy of of criminal investigation is absurd. It’s like the strident catchcry of an extreme sick feminist who says that all sex is rape.”

Mr Key, given your intense and overwhelming interest, as claimed in the media, in hearing what ordinary “Joe & Joey Blog” New Zealanders think about the subject raised in the CIR, I suggest you refrain from comparing the CIR question on smacking law to my books on ham and eggs. If you persist in doing do so I will immediately take legal action against you for defamation. You may think that such comparisons are an imaginative and smug way of influencing the outcome of the referendum and/or buying favours with the Ham & Eggs Party and their political bedmates, but it is my humble view that in persisting with your ham-fisted PC- posturing you will indeed have, ham, greens and eggs all over your face, following the outcome of the CIR. How do I know? you may well ask. Answer: Horton told me so!


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