Posts Tagged ‘Anti-smacking’

Hundreds march over government inaction

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Hundreds march over government inaction


Hundreds of Aucklanders marched up Queen Street today to protest at repeated government inaction on citizens-initiated referendums.

Organiser Colin Craig said the March for Democracy was being held to protest Government failure to respond to three citizens-initiated referendums: reducing the number of MPs; a more victim-centred justice system and amending the anti-smacking legislation.

On the march was the Thomsen family from Te Atatu Peninsula.

“I think it is important that the government knows that we have a voice,” said dad Ken, who marched with wife Serena, mother Orpa and children Daniel, 13, Asher, 11, Samantha, 8, and Sean, 5.

“The people that voted them in do need to be listened to,” Mr Thomsen said.

The protest was principally sparked by the anti-smacking law – almost 90 percent of people who voted in a referendum asking New Zealanders whether smacking should be illegal voted no.

The referendum cost $9 million and asked: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

The Chief Electoral Office said there was a 54 percent voter turnout. A total of 1,622,150 votes were cast with 87.4 percent in favour of repealing the controversial new law.

“We would like the government to take our voting and voice into much more serious account. We would like the government to return to their roots of representative government,” march organisers said.

“The recent ignoring of the recent Citizens’ Initiated Referendum, where 87.4 percent voters asked for change, is just one example of the trend away from listening to the people of New Zealand.”

“We the citizens of New Zealand demand that the government employ the principle of democracy; enacting laws in accordance with the wishes of the majority.’

Therefore, the march was demanding the smacking law be changed so that a light smack was not a criminal offence, said Mr Craig.

However, a review of the “anti-smacking” law has found no increase in the number of parents being investigated or prosecuted for light smacking.

The review was required by law two years after the change to Section 59 of the Crimes Act, which removed the defence of reasonable force for parents or guardians who hit their children.

In the report, Ministry of Social Development head Peter Hughes said he could find no evidence that parents were being subject to “unnecessary state intervention” for occasionally lightly smacking their children.

The number of police prosecutions for smacking remains at one, while there have been 14 cases of minor physical discipline resulting in prosecution.

Hughes said in his report he was satisfied that none of the prosecutions involved “inconsequential” smacks, with the victim being punched, slapped, or hit multiple times on various parts of the body in most cases.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said she thought the review went some way to comforting parents that the law was being interpreted in the way it was intended.

“However, in light of the Citizens Initiated Referendum on this issue, a further report is still being undertaken by Police Commissioner Howard Broad, Mr Hughes and (child psychologist) Nigel Latta,” Bennett said.

It is due with the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Police and Social Development and Employment before the end of the year.

That report will review policies and procedures to identify any changes that may be necessary to ensure that good parents are treated as Parliament intended and the provisions of the law are applied to those who abuse children.

Also on the march today were the proposer of the 99 MP’s referendum Margaret Robertson and Garth McVicar from the Sensible Sentencing Trust, representing the Norm Withers Law and Order Referendum.

Also marching was singer Yulia, who became a New Zealand citizen in 2005.

“As a young girl I grew up with the concrete dust of totalitarian based poverty and the ruin of a war torn post-communist Volgograd as my playground,” she said.

“Let us not take these freedoms for granted. Let us not forget the horrific price of totalitarianism. By marching for democracy we demonstrate that despite being from many cultures and backgrounds, we can get together and be one people under New Zealand democracy.”

Some of the more unusual placards included ‘Bring Back Dancing with the Stars’ and one calling for a referendum on former TrueBliss singer Carly Binding.

The march also had a group waving Maori sovereignty flags.

And as it moved up Queen St, the march passed a protest group from the Unite Union trying to organise a petition to raise the minimum wage.

Children’s Commissioner Dr John Angus said this week that the march was not in the best interests of children and parents would be better to spend more time with their children.

He said the march was also poorly named.

It was not about democracy but about re-instating a law that allowed parents to assault their children and claim a defence of reasonable force.

“I don’t believe that finding ways to define when and how children might be hit, at what age and what with, for purposes of correction is in any way connected to the best interests of children.”

But march organiser Colin Craig said parents knew better than Dr Angus what was best for their children.

“What worries me is that this tax-paid bureaucrat is trying to dictate once again to good parents what is best for their children.”

MSD report on anti-smacking law reveals more wasted paper

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

MSD report on anti-smacking law reveals more wasted paper

The Kiwi Party
Press Release

Kiwi Party Leader, Larry Baldock, said the Ministry for Social Development (MSD) report confirms there is no clear evidence anywhere that the law change is making children safer. If the Police and CYF continue to claim it is business as usual then how come politicians love to say, as the Minister has done again today, “that the law is working as intended!”

Mr Baldock asked, “Was the purpose of the law to make life difficult for good parents while achieving no significant benefit for the poor kids in this country who are being abused and killed on a regular basis?”

“Peter Hughes’ conclusion in paragraphs 2 & 79 basically reveals once again that he does not understand the reality of what has happened in the homes of good parents all over this country.

“He states, “In summary, I have not been able to find evidence to show that parents are being subject to unnecessary state intervention for occasionally lightly smacking their children.”

“On the contrary, State intervention occurred on a massive scale when 113 MPs passed a law making smacking a criminal offence.

When little Johnny or Susie comes home and tells Mum and Dad that the teacher told them they could report their parents to the police if they gave them a smack, that, Mr Hughes, is state intervention of the highest order and is why a massive 87.4% ‘NO’ vote occurred in our recent referendum.

“In paragraph 42 of the report Peter Hughes informs us that CYF has not altered its policy since the introduction of the ‘anti-smacking law’.  All that that confirms is that his department has had an anti-smacking policy in force for some time.  This will come as no surprise to those New Zealanders who have had dealings with CYF social workers and staff.


Larry Baldock

Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse Essential

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009


29 October 2009

Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse Essential

‘How many more children have to die before we do something?’

Family First NZ is repeating its call for a Commission of Enquiry into the unacceptable levels of child abuse and deaths in NZ.

The call comes following the suspected child abuse death of Wanganui toddler Karl Perigo-Check Junior which is the 18th case since the passing of the anti-smacking law.

“We must take pro-active action and tackle head-on the difficult issues of family breakdown, drug and alcohol abuse, violence in our media, mental illness, low maternal age, and other key factors identified by UNICEF, CYF and Children’s Commissioner reports,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First.

“Over the past 30 years we have allowed a succession of policies to diminish the importance of family structure and marriage. We have watched as politicians have given adults the right to silence, bail and parole while the rights of children to be safe have been ignored. We have allowed children to be raised in homes with an unacceptable level of drug abuse, family dysfunction and physical and emotional harm. And we’ve allowed the media to fill our minds with increasing levels of sexual and violent images in the name of entertainment and freedom of speech.”

“The 88% of voters who oppose the anti-smacking law are not people who are demanding the right to ‘assault’ and ‘beat’ children. They are simply kiwis who are exasperated with the fact that politicians and supposed family welfare groups are more interested in targeting good parents than tackling these much tougher issues.”

“Since the passing of the anti-smacking law, there has been a continual stream of child abuse cases and the rate of child abuse deaths has continued at the same rate as before the new law with at least 18 deaths since the law was passed,” says Mr McCoskrie. “Sue Bradford was right when she said that her law was never intended to deal with the problem of child abuse.”

“These latest cases are yet another wake-up call that children will never be safe until we are honest enough as a country to identify and tackle the real causes of child abuse.”

“An independent Inquiry free of political correctness and agendas would be an important first step,” says Mr McCoskrie.


Since Anti-smacking law was passed

1. 16 month old Sachin Dhani June 2007

2. 28-year-old woman charged with murdering a newborn baby found dead in the backyard of a Te Mome Road property in Alicetown – June 2007

3. 22-month-old Tyla-Maree Darryl Flynn June 2007

4. 3 year old Nia Glassie July 2007

5. Ten-month-old Jyniah Mary Te Awa September 2007 Manurewa

6. Two-month-old Tahani Mahomed December 2007 Otahuhu

7. 3 year old Dylan Hohepa Tonga Rimoni April 2008 Drury

8. A 27-year-old Dunedin mother of five admitted infanticide. On May 26 she lost control, banged the baby’s head repeatedly against the couch, choked her, then threw her on the bed and covered her with a blanket. May 2008

9. 7-year-old Duwayne Toetu Taote Pailegutu. July 2008

10.  16-month old Riley Justin Osborne (Kerikeri) boy Dec 2008

11. Three-year-old Cherish Tahuri-Wright (Marton) Feb 2009

12. Five-week-old Jayrhis Ian Te Koha Lock-Tata (Taupo) Mar 2009

13. One-year-old Trent James Matthews – aka Michael Matthews Jun 2009

14. Two-year-old Jacqui Peterson-Davis Kaitaia Aug 09

15. Three-year-old Kash McKinnon Palmerston North Aug 09

16. Baby death arrest Green Bay 26 Aug 2009

17. 22 month old Hail-Sage McClutchie Morrinsville 27 Sep 2009 

18. Karl Perigo-Check Junior Wanganui 25 Oct 2009


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:

Bob McCoskrie JP – National Director

Tel. 09 261 2426 | Mob. 027 55 555 42

Sign up now to received FREE email updates of issues affecting families – be informed!

Public meeting in Christchurch tonight 21 September 2009

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Hi All,

Public meeting in Christchurch concerning the Anti-Smacking Law, see below for details.

Unity for Liberty encourages all folk to attend these public meetings when they are in your area, I attended the first meeting in Auckland and found it extremely rewarding.

If you are able could you please forward these details on to any friends who may be in the area.


Craig Hill


We have organised our next Public Meeting;

John Boscawen has challenged Clayton Cosgrove to attend. 27000 voted No in his electorate of Waimakariri and 16000 voted for him in the last General election… John is also inviting Kate Wilkinson, the National List MP.

The details are

Monday 21 September, 7.30 p.m. St. Bede’s College, Performing Arts Centre, 210 Main North Road, Papanui, Christchurch City


John Boscawen, ACT M.P., David Garrett, ACT M.P., Larry Baldock, Leader of the Kiwi Party and Referendum Organiser. Other speakers to be advised.

For details of future meetings


Or phone 09 531 5531

Meeting in Mt Roskill Monday night 7 September 2009 – 7:30pm

Saturday, September 5th, 2009
Meeting in Mt Roskill Monday night


The way

The way forward on

Section 59

Hi everyone, if you are in the Auckland area your support at this meeting this Monday night would be greatly appreciated,

Regards Larry

ACT New Zealand MP John Boscawen will host a public meeting to discuss Section 59 of the Crimes Act –  the so called ‘anti-smacking law’ – the recent referendum results, and his Private Member’s Bill recently drawn from the Ballot which seeks to amend Section 59, making a smack for the purpose of correction, no longer illegal.

All media are invited to Hay Park School, 670 Richardson Road, Mt Roskill from 7:30pm, Monday September 7 2009 to hear presentations from guest speakers:
Bob McCroskrie – Family First,
Mr Jim Evans – Emeritus Professor of Law at Auckland University
Larry Baldock – Kiwi Party Leader, former MP and organiser of the referendum petition.
Labour Leader and Mt Roskill MP Phil Goff


Mt Roskill Candidate and National MP Jackie Blue have been invited to attend, but are yet to confirm.

Venue: Hay Park School, 670 Richardson Road, Mt Roskill, Auckland.


Date: 7:30pm, Monday, September 7 2009


John Armstrong: National won’t be smacked twice

Monday, August 31st, 2009

John Armstrong: National won’t be smacked twice

4:00AM Saturday Aug 29, 2009
By John Armstrong

No matter what spin the anti-smacking brigade puts on last week’s referendum, the result is still mind-boggling.

The referendum’s opponents have naturally sought to downplay the 88 per cent “no” vote as not unexpected, arguing that people were confused by the referendum question which was anyway heavily loaded to increase the “no” vote, while only 56 per cent of eligible voters actually bothered to return their ballot paper.

However, the turnout was marginally higher than that recorded in the first MMP referendum in 1992.

In some electorates, it was as high as 66 per cent, which is the same level as that registered in the Maori electorates at the last general election and not all that far short of overall turnout, which in recent elections has hovered around the 80 per cent mark.

The assumption of voter ignorance is the typical sort of patronising claptrap used by the liberal elites to conveniently explain away something that disturbs their comfort zones.

Faced with predictions of mass confusion following the introduction of GST in the 1980s, a Labour MP at the time noted most people had no problems filling out a TAB betting slip which was equally complex.

Ditto with the smacking referendum. Voters understood exactly what they were doing. Politicians ignore the outcome at their peril.

Those in National’s senior ranks are most definitely taking note. The highest “no” votes were registered in provincial and rural seats held by that party.

Once it was clear that the turnout was going to be much higher than predicted, the Prime Minister ensured he had a response prepared. This amounted to more monitoring of the existing law to ensure it is working as intended.

That was obviously not going to satisfy the referendum’s organisers, who were seeking the repeal of the relevant section of the Crimes Act.

While Sue Bradford’s amended initiative remains the law, National has taken on board the message from the referendum that voters are drawing a line in the sand against any more measures which might be termed liberal, socially progressive or nanny state-ish.

In marked contrast, National’s reform agenda for the economy and social service delivery is meeting little resistance. For example, Bill English has now mentioned on several occasions three dreaded words that usually spell political death – “capital gains tax” – without his world caving in.

That is not to say the Finance Minister is about to bring in such a tax.

But the lack of opposition is emboldening the Government to move faster on the economic front than it might otherwise have done, another example being National’s willingness to allow mining of minerals on parts of the Department of Conservation estate.

National’s shift to the right in such policy areas is one reason there is less concern within the party about Act’s current muscle-flexing over the anti-smacking law and Maori seats on the Auckland “Super City” Council.

Act is clearly seeking to fill a gap left on the right by John Key’s relationship-building with Maoridom and his unwillingness to ditch the anti-smacking law.

If nothing else, the politics surrounding the latter is proof there is a God – and that he or she has a sense of humour.

How else to explain the private member’s bill promoted by Act’s John Boscawen, which allows parents to give their child a “light” smack for corrective purposes, making it onto Parliament’s order paper for debate.

The odds on the measure securing the sole spot available were a staggering 28-1 against. Beating those odds in the ballot of private member’s bills – plus the timing just days after the referendum result – suggested divine intervention.

The Prime Minister is said to have been torn initially between voting down Boscawen’s bill and allowing it to go as far as being scrutinised by a select committee.

The referendum result weighed heavily on Key’s mind. However, it is understood that colleagues who had previously been supportive of legalising smacking argued for Boscawen’s bill to be killed as swiftly as possible.

They and Key did not want the public distracted by what would have been a lengthy sideshow as MPs grappled with the complexities of defining what was acceptable and not acceptable in terms of a “light” smack.

National is relaxed about Act getting a pay-off in the polls from Hide appearing principled by saying he would resign his Local Government portfolio rather than steer legislation through Parliament with which he could not agree.

Act has struggled to register above 1.5 per cent support since the election, while backing for National is up to 10 percentage points higher than the party got at the ballot box last year.

While Act appears to have decided to be less supine in its four-way relationship with National, the Maori Party and United Future, it has to ensure it does not overreach itself and become the docked tail wagging a very large National dog…….

To read  the rest go to:

Massive NO to Anti-Smacking Law Politicians Must Listen

Friday, August 21st, 2009

87.6%    87.6%


Family First Media Release Friday 21 August

Massive NO

to Anti-Smacking Law

Politicians Must Listen

1. Amend Law
2. Establish Non-Political Commission of Enquiry into Child Abuse

Family First NZ is welcoming the result of the anti-smacking Referendum and says that it is now time for the politicians to respect the people they represent and amend the anti-smacking law.

“87.6% of voters have called for a law change by voting NO in the referendum. The National government should move immediately to amend the law,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“John Key cannot ignore this result. To put 87.6% in perspective, at the general election last year 45% voted for National, 34% voted for Labour and 6.7% voted for the Greens. 87.6% is more than these three combined.”

“The attempt by politicians to dismiss the Referendum as ‘ambiguous’ and irrelevant has also been rebuked by the voters. A 54% response rate in the Referendum is still significant especially when compared to just 47% voting in the recent Mt Albert by-election, an average of just over 40% voting in the recent local body elections for their mayors and city councils, and a 55% response rate which changed our whole voting system to MMP.”

“The attack on the referendum seems to have rarked up voters because they feel like it was more of the previous ‘we the politicians know better than you and we’re not listening’ attitude. NZ’ers hoped that we had moved on from that approach.”

Family First is calling on the government to immediately amend the anti-smacking law under urgency so that good parents are not treated as breaking the law for light smacking, and then to establish a Royal Commission of Enquiry into Child Abuse which will identify and target the real causes.

“The 87.6% who voted NO are not people who are demanding the right to ‘assault’ and ‘beat’ children. They are simply kiwis who want to tackle the tougher issues of family breakdown, drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, violence in our media, poverty and stress, and weak family ties.”

“The anti-smacking bill has been a spectacular failure because it has failed to identify and target the real issues and has had no effect on our child abuse rates. It was simply about a political agenda rather than practical solutions,” says Mr McCoskrie.

Anti-smacking referendum: No vote wins

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Anti-smacking referendum: No vote wins


Last updated 20:03 21/08/2009

New Zealanders have overwhelmingly voted for the anti-smacking law to be canned.

A total of 1,622,150 votes were cast with 87.6 percent in favour of repealing the controversial new law.

The Chief Electoral Office said it would now complete checks and count voting papers still to be received, before releasing the final result.

The preliminary results from the $9 million citizens-initiated referendum which asked: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” have just been released.

Both sides of the campaign had earlier admitted this was the more likely result.

Labour deputy leader Annette King said the referendum had allowed everyone to have their say.

“It’s now up to the Government to determine what the next steps are. Labour is yet to see evidence that the current Act needs to be changed. It is going to be reviewed at the end of the year and we will wait to see the outcome of that.”

The referendum followed a controversial law change in 2007 led by Green Party MP Sue Bradford, which repealed Section 59 in the Crimes Act, a clause which made it legal for parents to use reasonable force to discipline a child.

Those leading the “Vote No” campaign had argued the law had achieved nothing and was not targeting the real causes of child abuse in New Zealand.

The “Vote Yes” advocates wanted the law to be kept, saying fears that innocent parents would be criminalised had not eventuated and that children deserved the same protection against physical harm as adults.

Both Prime Minister John Key and opposition leader Phil Goff have indicated they were comfortable with the law and the referendum would not necessarily change that.

The law change made it illegal for parents to use force against their children but affords police discretionary powers not to prosecute where the offence is considered inconsequential.

Anti-smacking side concede loss likely

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Anti-smacking side concede loss likely


Larry Baldock

HOT ISSUE: Larry Baldock with boxes of petitions in 2008. The petition, circulated nationwide, led to the referendum.

Campaigners on both sides of the smacking debate believe a referendum result due out tonight will be a victory for those who opposed a controversial 2007 law change.

We will bring you results of the referendum as soon as they are available this evening.

Preliminary results from the controversial $9 million citizens-initiated poll are due at 8.30pm this evening  although they are not binding, and the government has not signalled any intention to act on the result.

Those behind the referendum, which asks: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” believe the majority of respondents will have voted no. As of last Friday, 1,330,900 votes had been cast.

“I’ve been working on this for 32 months and to get the final result it will be great,” Kiwi Party leader Larry Baldock, who initiated the referendum, said.

“I think it will definitely be a majority no vote.”

The referendum follows a controversial law change in 2007 led by Green Party MP Sue Bradford which repealed Section 59 in the Crimes Act, a clause which made it legal for parents to use reasonable force to discipline a child.

The law change made it illegal for parents to use force against their children but affords police discretionary powers not to prosecute where the offence is considered inconsequential.

Mr Baldock said the 2007 Act should be repealed, and is so confident the majority of Kiwis feels the same that he has already organised a party at an Auckland motel for supporters, where they will gather to await the result.

Vote Yes spokeswoman and former NZ First MP Deborah Morris-Travers said the group that opposes smacking did not expect the vote to go their way.

“We’ve always expected that the majority vote would be a No vote because, of course, thats how the question is put. It’s a loaded question.”

However, she said the campaign had allowed them to (miss-educate)  educate people about the law and address (spread) some of the misinformation that surrounded it.

She pointed to the latest police statistics which, she said, proved concerns in the community that large numbers of parents would be criminalised for smacking were unfounded.

(No any good family that comes before the Police and CYFs is unnecessary and traumatic for the family)

The figures from the latest six-month review showed police attended 279 child assault events in the six-month review period between last October and April.

Of those events, 39 involved “minor acts of physical discipline”, with four resulting in prosecutions. Eight of those involved smacking.

During the previous review period, police attended 258 child assault events of which 49 were “minor acts of physical discipline” and nine involved smacking.

Police said there had been little impact on their workloads since the law was enacted.

“It’s hardly thousands and thousands of parents are being criminalised because they are absolutely not,” Ms Morris-Travers said

(One good family criminalised is too many – especially if it is your family)

She said she had detected a sea change in people’s attitudes and New Zealanders needed to give the law a chance.

“They can have confidence in [the law] and they can have confidence in the way the police are administering the law,” she said.

The No campaigners would be making recommendations on how the law should be changed and hoped Prime Minister John Key would act quickly, Mr Baldock said.

Mr Baldock said little had been gained from the legislation so far.

“If you look at all the time and money and, you know, angst thats been expended on this for the past three or four years and for what gain?” he said.

However, both Mr Key and opposition leader Phil Goff have said they are comfortable with the legislation as it stands and a No vote would not change that.