Open letter to Sue Bradford from Larry Baldock Referendum Petition Organiser

Open letter to Sue Bradford from Larry Baldock Referendum Petition Organiser
9 August, 2009

Sue, I watched the forum on Maori Television Friday night with you, Dr Hone Kaa and Bob McCoskrie.  How I wished I was there to respond to the drivel you continue to repeat in defence of your anti-smacking law.  “Adults can’t hit each other so adults shouldn’t be able to hit children,” is probably the main argument you and your supporters use to justify your law that is now criminalising good parents all over this country.

Let me tell you why you are wrong and why your argument is flawed from the very beginning.

Firstly, some adults can hit others without breaking the law. They are called police and we give them this authority because we know that in some circumstances someone must use reasonable force to correct the unacceptable behaviour of some adults in our society. If I were to throw a wobbly and begin to refuse to submit to the laws of this country, and act in a threatening manner to persons or property, the police could hit me with a baton, taser me with 50,000 volts of electricity, handcuff me, and backed by the justice system, even enforce my timeout in a correctional institution if necessary for a number of years.

It is probably widely known in NZ that you have disliked this authority that is entrusted to our police ever since your early protesting days when you sought to assault some of our good men in uniform. Truth be known you probably would like this authority to use reasonable force for the purpose of correction to be taken away from the police as well as from parents, but most of us in this country are comfortable leaving such power in their hands.

So let me say it again, it is not true that it is always against the law for an adult to use force against another adult if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances. Sounds very much like the old sec 59 doesn’t it!

Your second error is made when you constantly bleat on about how children should be treated the same as adults in law because this neglects that fact that sec 21 & 22 of the crimes Act has always treated children differently by giving them specific exemptions from prosecution for any criminal activity they may commit.

We do this for two reasons. Firstly, because they are not mature enough mentally and emotionally to be held accountable to adult laws. Your line of argument for equality would demand that when a two year old at Preschool lashes out and hits another two year old the police should be called to arrest them for assault, then prosecute and jail them like adults. That of course would be ridiculous.

And secondly this exemption was given for children because it was widely accepted by society that they should not have their behaviour corrected by the police, but rather by their parents who would be in a much better position to do so.

Now, as a consequence of your ill-considered law that has removed any legal authority for parents to ‘use force for the purpose of correction,’ we have empowered children and disempowered the parents that society reasonably expects to be responsible for their children’s correction and training for adulthood.

Thirdly, this argument of yours is stupid because it does not recognise the difference in relationship between a husband and wife as two mature adults, and the relationship between adult parents and their children. This constant referral to an old law that permitted a husband to correct his wife adds nothing to the real debate about parental correction. Of course these laws of inequality between men and women should have been changed and it is a shame it took so long.
Women’s suffrage was also slow in coming and the recognition of the equal right of women to vote was an important victory.  Your argument for equality between adults and children though, could lead to a suspicion that you might think that 3 and 4 year old children should vote as well. Perhaps this is a little close to the truth as I have read how the ‘yes vote’ campaigners have been calling for the opinions of children to be heard in the anti-smacking debate already.

A husband is not responsible to make his wife go to school, a wife is not responsible to make her husband eat healthy vegetables, take a bath, etc (though some may argue they have to anyway) therefore the pleas you make for equal rights cannot be logically argued.
Actually as most of us parents know, children have far more rights than we do because they get food, clothing and shelter all free of charge without having to lift a finger to work for it or pay for it.  And as parents we would say this is right and good, as we willingly become their slaves 24/7, because they are the most precious gifts we are ever entrusted with.
Their value and worth are priceless. But with the awesome responsibility parents carry for the welfare of their children, they should be trusted in the same way as our police are entrusted with the authority to use reasonable force for the purpose of correction when needed, without the interference of the state.

Sue, when my wife and I were traversing the country collecting signatures from thousands of good Kiwis from all walks of life, do you know what they were most upset about?

They wanted to know when it was that you earned the right to become the ‘mother of the nation.’ What possesses you to think that you know more about raising children than the hundreds of thousands who have raised healthy, well adjusted, law abiding citizens in this country. Though they have been smacked and corrected they have not grown up violent and disrespectful, and this argument you make about smacking creating violent adults is not supported by any sensible research that distinguishes between reasonable force and a beating and abuse.

In this wonderful free country of ours you are of course entitled to your views, and you can parent your kids and give advice to them on how they raise your grandchildren as much as you like, but don’t try and tell me my mother was a child abuser when she corrected me as a child.

You know Sue, we have clashed a few times in debates on different topics over the past few years. I have never yet heard a proposition from you that really stood the test of common sense and proper scrutiny. How I would love to debate the anti-smacking issue with you again before all the votes are cast. Perhaps there may be some media organisation that could serve the public of NZ by setting up such a contest.

A contest between just you and me. You, as the author of the anti-smacking law and dedicated supporter, and me, the organiser of the referendum petition and dedicated opponent.

You said you would be willing to meet for a debate with me anywhere anytime. Let’s do it. The taxpayer will cover your travel; I’ll take care of my own.


Larry Baldock
Kiwi Party Leader



3 responses to “Open letter to Sue Bradford from Larry Baldock Referendum Petition Organiser”

  1. This man of the moment Mr Baldock has spoken out well. Now this would be a live debate worth watching. I am sure many of us in NZ would like to take her on in a Live Media setting. All along Sue Bradford Buddies backed by Tax payer funds like many Government agencies persisting pushing pointless parenting policies with the intent of brainwashing 9 in 10 Kiwis to think their way or else. A SMACK IS NOT THE BASH a smack will not bruise or maime our precious little babies it is a sting. However we Parents just have not moved on we, the MAJORITY of our population, will have the very last say this time by Voting No hence ensuring Section 59 Reasonable Force for correction is reinstated again.The Johns are the Key, Boscawen and Tamahere know this wicked waste of money from this self appointed Mother of all Mothers is a disgrace our PM will hear us speak loud and clear with one voice this PM will not ignore us. Bob McCoskrie has all the evidence it will be sorted asap.This Father figure must listen to the people who voted him in and not ignore us like Miss Helen Clark.

  2. I find the content of the letter above to be well composed and thought provoking. One need only look at the effect of the dissolution of family structure and responsibility [in countries such as South Africa and microcosms such as the Bronx in New York] on steady increase in crime rate and the exponential growth of savage violence in such crime – this being the supported view of respected psychologists. The biggest problem in such environments is the engendered attestation of personal rights [most notably by criminals] and the total disregard of the notion of related responsibility. These two concepts can only be learnt in the bounds of a loving, disciplined family.

    The breach of the natural order in the bounds of the sanctity of the family discussed so eloquently by Larry Baldock, continue past the idiocy of the arrest of little children on the playground. Such expectation in fact lends itself to the proposition that children should fend for themselves sexually, mentally and emotionally against the wiles of any predator. The assumption that children should be treated equitably with adults would also lead to the idea that even young children should work for a living, to be accepted in our socialistic families.

    The Bradford suppositions also lend themselves to added burden on the resources of the country. If parents are stripped of the responsibilities of parenthood, then it follows that the Government should be responsible for the day-to-day expenses normally covered by expectation by the parents of such children – these being food, clothing, water and electricity and even special treats and holidays.

    The general ideas and consequences discussed above go against the fabric of society, as does the criminalising of effective parenting. Mankind is inherently geared toward self-destruction, and only through continued positive reinforcement, backed up by the respect of authority, in turn backed up by consequential discipline can society be maintained or progressed.

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