Posts Tagged ‘Families Commission’

Some Correction Needed, But John Key says it’s OK!

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

From Family First NZ

Some Correction


But John Key says it’s OK!

Prime Minister John Key and Nigel Latta say the anti-smacking law is working well, that there is no evidence of good parents being criminalised, that Family First has been misled by parents , and that light smacking shouldn’t be a criminal offence .

So here’s some questions:
* Why did CYF formally apologise to this family for the way they handled a smacking complaint?
CYFS says sorry to ‘traumatised’ family
NZ Herald Jul 31, 2009

* Why did this parent get prosecuted ?
‘I asked for help but instead got conviction’
NZ Herald Jul 28, 2009 A Wellington solo father says he went to Child, Youth and Family Services for help – and ended up with a conviction for smacking his daughter.

* Why was this family investigated and referred to a government agency?
School dobs mum to CYF for hand smack
Sunday Star Times Oct 28 2007
* The law (and Plunket / Barnardos / Childrens Commissioner / Families Commissioner) says a smack is illegal . But John Key says its acceptable and shouldn’t be a criminal offence . Who’s correct ?
“Lightly smacking a child will be in the course of parenting for some parents and I think that’s acceptable,” Mr Key said. Asked if he had just said it was acceptable to lightly smack a child, Mr Key replied “Yes, I think so” and said the law was clear that such matters should not be treated as a criminal offence [that is only true if the smack is not ‘for the purposes of correction’ and is given for one of the permitted reasons. “It’s up to individual parents to decide how they’re going to parent their children. My view is that it will depend on the circumstances and how you want to raise your child,” Mr Key said – Source NZ Herald
(By the way, we agree!!)
* Why didn’t the report interview and seek feedback from kiwi parents as to what effect it has had on their parenting?
* Why didn’t the report address the issue of children dobbing in their own parents , and threatening to report them to the police or CYF?
* Why didn’t the report address the concern expressed by police and youth workers regarding the increasing rate of assaults by young people on their parents ?
* Why didn’t the report address the procedural conflict between the smacking law which allows ‘discretion’ versus the family violence policy which demands zero tolerance?
* Why didn’t the report address why so many cases of what are supposed to be serious ‘assaults’ are receiving inconsequential punishments , and why so many investigations are ending up with a warning and in many cases, no action at all?
* Why didn’t the report address the effect of criminalising an action (light smacking for the purpose of correction) which most NZ’ers simply don’t believe should be treated as a criminal offence under the law.

When we get some answers we’ll let you know!

But please be aware – the latest report does not answer these important questions .

Have a great week

Bob McCoskrie
National Director

Latest Smacking Law Review Offers No Comfort

New Deputy Commissioner Will Speak For Families

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009


25 November 2009

New Deputy Commissioner Will Speak For Families

Family First NZ is welcoming the appointment of Parents Inc’s Bruce Pilbrow as Deputy Families Commissioner.

“Bruce Pilbrow will bring some much needed balance at the Commission and rather than talking at parents, it will hopefully start listening to the voice of families and advocating for them in a relevant way,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Unfortunately it isolated itself by ignoring some of its own research and the voice of the overwhelming majority of parents when it supported ramming through the anti-smacking law without representing the concerns and views of parents.”

“Pilbrow’s politically incorrect views on the smacking law – ironically shared by almost 90% of the country – shows that he’s willing to move past the rhetoric and ideology, and objectively examine the facts and experiences of families.”

“The appointment suggests that the government is willing to have a diversity of opinion in the Commission. This can only strengthen the important debates to be had around family issues,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Issues such as the benefits of marriage, the harm of long term daycare for very young children, an independent CYF Complaints authority,  the sexualisation of children in marketing, drug and alcohol abuse in our communities, and broadcasting and advertising standards are all big issues for families which the Commission needs to tackle head-on,” says Mr McCoskrie.

Family First would still like to see the appointment of a Minister of Families at the Cabinet table.


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:

Bob McCoskrie – National Director

Mob. 027 55 555 42

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Family Integrity #483 — We Need Your Feet!

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

A special request.

We need you! – your energy – and your networking ability – to get the message out!

The March for Democracy will be held
1.30pm Sat 21 November, Queen St Auckland

and will be calling on the government to amend s59 of the Crimes Act so that the law does not treat light smacking for the purpose of correction as a criminal offence, and to respect the democratic voice of NZ’ers.

Please mark this date in your diaries as we make a stand for families and for democracy in New Zealand.

Would you please consider distributing this info amongst your contacts and spreading the word?

Colin Craig, an Auckland businessman who is funding the march, says “I find it deeply disturbing that such a clear message from the people of this country to government has been ignored. My forefathers fought for a democracy and in a democracy the government does not pass and retain laws that nearly 90% of the people don’t want. It is my turn to help fight for the rights of ordinary New Zealanders.”

He’s absolutely right – but he’s not just moaning about it.

He’s putting his money where his mouth is. He wants to host the biggest public march NZ has seen – and we need to get in behind him.

When families speak with such a loud and united voice, as they have on the issue of the anti-smacking law, the politicians must not be allowed to ignore it. It is significant that politicians are willing to accept democracy when it is to their benefit but are willing to blatantly ignore it when it highlights wrong decisions. Voters clearly called for a law change – not comfort and more reviews of a rejected law change.

An average of 83% in the polls over the past 4 years have consistently opposed the anti-smacking law. The high threshold of 285,000 signatures was met for having the Referendum (in fact 310,000 valid signatures in the end), 87.4% of those who voted supported the law change, and yet within a couple of hours, the result was completely dismissed.

A Private Members Bill by ACT MP John Boscawen drawn just 3 days later, against all the odds, was then unilaterally ‘kicked for touch’ by the Prime Minister.

This is now far greater than just the smacking issue. It’s an issue of democracy in New Zealand, and the dismissal of the views of an overwhelming majority of voters by our elected representatives.

It may not be the smacking issue that ‘presses your button’. But imagine if an issue you were passionate about – that had the overwhelming support of the public – was simply ignored, belittled, and dismissed by the politicians. Is that the kind of representative democracy we want?

It appears that political parties are keen to accept petitions in their favour – United Future on daylight saving,  Labour on night-classes – and support binding Referendums – National on MMP, Labour on the Super City, and the Greens on the Monarchy – but when it’s a Citizen’s Initiated Referendum, they suddenly go deaf!

Families need to speak up for democracy – and this is our opportunity.

Official Website :

Thanks for your consideration.

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Monday, June 29th, 2009
CIR Update no.32

Only 55 days to referendum day! August 21.

Greetings, Another busy week as media continued to carry more news of the impending referendum.

Congratulations to Bob McCoskrie and team on a successful launch of the website. If you haven’t seen it yet I encourage you to take a good look. Lots of useful downloads and information. Simon Barnett has done a great job fronting it with a 90 sec video, and has been prepared to make his stand for the principles he believes in.  Thanks Simon, Jody and family.  We are proud of you!

Also Muriel Newman’s NZCPR weekly newsletter was entitled “A smack in the face of democracy.” Muriel wrote a great article and invited me to be her guest commentator. Click on the link above if you haven’t received it direct. None of these events were co-ordinated or planned but the timing turned out to be great.

The controversy over Christine Rankin’s appointment to the Families Commission has helped keep media interest alive this week with stories about her being required by the PM to not actively campaign for a ‘NO’ vote.  You may have heard Chief Families Commissioner Jan Pryor say on National Radio that there had been robust debate amongst commissioners previously about the Families Commissions official position on the anti-smacking law. Since in her own words she said the debate was robust, there is a clear indication that the seven previous commissioners were not all in support of the law change.  Hear the interview here

Now with two new Commissioners that we believe would be opposed to the anti-smacking law, it would be very interesting indeed if the Families Commission had a fresh debate and vote concerning it’s official position of support for the law change.
You can hear my interview with Geoff Robinson here.
Perhaps if you were of a mind to write to the Chief Families Commissioner to urge them to re-open the discussion it would be a good way of supporting Christine Rankin.

Last week we had several meetings with media and creative production teams to finalise plans for Radio and TV advertising campaigns for vote NO.  Under the laws governing CIR anyone wanting advertise to promote one of the answers to the referendum question cannot spend more than $50,000.  View Sec 42 of the CIR Act

It is fairly obvious already that the Yes vote coalition has been spending up large to spread their half-truths and misinformation. I will give you some examples of this next week.

We need your help to make our campaign to the finish line in this long battle to make sure ‘the voice of the people is not drowned out!’ We have raised approx one third of our budget so far. Can you help us raise the rest of the total of $50,000? Whether you can afford $10, $20, $50, $500 or much more, whatever the amount, it will be an investment for the future protection of families in New Zealand.

You can send your checks made out to CIR Referendum, P.O. Box 9228, Greerton, 3142 Tauranga or direct Internet banking to our solicitors, McKenzie Elvin Trust account

For CIR Referendum Trust        02 0432 0393 450-02

Or donate on line with credit card via our Kiwi Party website donation page DONATE
100% of all donations will be used for the advertising campaign. The ads will not be mentioning the Kiwi Party.

Finally this week, a woman who writes under the pseudonym of Nonen Titi, has self published a book called ‘The Happiness Inquisition.” This fictional novel attempts to portray what the possible ramifications of the anti-smacking law will be in our communities and I found it a worthwhile read. You may find it useful to give to a friend to help explain why this law is bad and must go.

To view the book cover and make any orders click on her website link. The cost is $10 incl postage in NZ.

Warm regards,
Larry Baldock

Sue Reid: Smacking laws were never about the real issue of child abuse

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

This was in the NZ Herald .

It is a shame that we have a Families Commission that is driven by ideology rather than listening to families.

Chief commissioner Jan Pryor espouses her beliefs that “positive parenting should never include a smack” (Herald, April 3).

Her so-called justification for the anti-smacking laws are inflammatory and continue to vilify good parents who may use a smack as part of good parental correction.

As a mother of two young children, I resent the constant barrage that fully funded, power-packed organisations such as the Families Commission can constantly deliver from their lofty soap-boxes.

One can be left wondering who represents mums like me who are focused on the task of raising good, law-abiding and positive contributors to society. Like many other mums, I know that I wish to parent within a sensible legal framework and we owe it to good parents to get this law right.

The new flawed law has tried to link a smack on the bottom with child abuse of the worst kind and has put good parents in the same category as rotten parents who are a danger to their kids and to society.

Not surprisingly, the child abuse rate has continued unabated, with 12 child abuse deaths in the 21 months since the law change – the same rate as before the change. The smacking laws were never about addressing the real issue of child abuse but to undermine and criminalise good parents.

Contrary to Pryor’s comments, the new law did introduce a new criminal offence – smacks for the purpose of correction, no matter how light, are a crime.

Police reports show four prosecutions in a six-month period for “minor acts of physical discipline” and report a 200 per cent increase in families being investigated – yet fewer than 5 per cent were serious enough to warrant prosecution.

And there has been a huge 32 per cent increase in CYF’s notifications, but the cases warranting further investigation haven’t increased – in other words, valuable resources and time are taken away from the front line to deal with the real cases of abuse.

Family First NZ has plenty of evidence on its website of families being investigated and traumatised for complaints of light smacking, including parents who are referred to CYF by so-called helping agencies when they are simply seeking help, and of children ringing CYF to complain about their parents – imagine what that is like for a family.

Pryor asks families to seek help but in a culture of being labelled “lowest common denominator”, this will do nothing to support and foster good parenting.

She says “there is no legal justification for the use of force to correct a child’s behaviour”, so why does “positive parenting” not include correction? As a mother I need to be able to teach my child right from wrong and it is an ongoing process to “correct” my child’s behaviour – society expects me to fulfil this role.

We can all lament the daily cases in the media whereby individuals have not “corrected” their behaviour and have become a blight on society. Many parents would testify to aspects that are less than positive in the training of a child for the adult world.

I am sure the child does not see “time out” in a positive light nor see grounding as positive. Parents are often seen in negative light when they proceed with knowing best what will work for their child.

The role of parent is set apart from other relationships such as in the workplace or a sports team. Parents have the reserved responsibility to raise, train and shape the will and character of their child to maturity. Adults have already mastered that task – so the argument that Pryor puts forth about smacking another adult is null and void.

It is important to progress through to a referendum in July. This issue continues to be a strong, unresolved matter for most parents. After all, this was a citizens’ initiated referendum and the democratic process needs to complete its cycle by asking the voting public, “should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence?”

People who don’t like the question in the referendum simply don’t like the answer they come to.

Organisations such as the Families Commission would better serve families when they consider the attitudes, needs and requirements of families rather than using their government-funded weight to impose a flawed ideology on to good, healthy, functioning families.

* Sue Reid is a researcher and writer for Family First NZ.

Human Rights Commission Acknowledges Uncertainty of Anti-Smacking Law

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009


26 May 2009

Human Rights Commission Acknowledges Uncertainty of Anti-Smacking Law

Family First NZ says that the Human Rights Commission has acknowledged the uncertainty of the anti-smacking law.

In response to a formal complaint by Family First NZ that the anti-smacking law is vague and uncertain, the Human Rights Commission has acknowledged the potential uncertainty of the law but was not convinced that the earlier version of section 59 ‘provided any better guidance than the present legislation’.

“This is despite agreeing with Family First that ‘individuals must be able to regulate their conduct with a reasonable degree of certainty as to the legal consequences of acting one way rather than another’, says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “They still prefer the amendment due mainly to its adherence to UN requirements.”

“Recent research by Curia Marketing Research found widespread confusion about the effect of the law. 55% of the respondents said that smacking was always illegal, 31% said it wasn’t, and 14% didn’t know. A recent Families Commission report showed that immigrant families are confused by the anti-smacking law and see smacking as a viable option for correcting their children.”

The Commission argues that parents who disagree with any prosecution can judicially review the police for a decision to prosecute.

“But most parents would be completely unaware of this option, and would be skeptical that it was likely to offer any solution.”

Parents have been given conflicting messages by the promoters of the law. Legal opinions have contradicted each other, and on top of that there is ‘police discretion’ but not CYF discretion to investigate. Parents have a right to a clear and precise law. This current law has created confusion. Good parents are being victimised and the real causes of child abuse ignored,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Parenting is not for cowards but this law is making it pretty scary.”


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:

Bob McCoskrieNational Director

Mob. 027 55 555 42

Children’s Commissioner Survey Says Nothing New

Saturday, November 15th, 2008


Children’s Commissioner Survey Says Nothing New

Family First NZ is welcoming a Children’s Commissioner survey which says that only 20% of those surveyed disagreed with smacking in certain circumstances.

“This is consistent with all other polls done throughout the year including research commissioned by Family First – that there is an 80% opposition to the anti-smacking law because most people know that smacking for the purpose of correction is not child abuse,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The 43% support for the law change would include a large number of people who are optimistic about the police discretion clause introduced at the eleventh hour.”

“However, recent evidence suggests that their optimism may not be justified. Only yesterday, a father who was charged with smacking had all charges dropped just before the court case was due to start.”

“This is not the first time this has happened,” says Mr McCoskrie. “And there has also been plenty of evidence of good parents being convicted, investigated and reported as a result of a law that the authors and supporters cannot definitively tell parents as to whether smacking is, isn’t, has been or hasn’t been banned as a result of the law change.”

However, Family First is concerned that only 80% said that children should be protected from assault.

“This figure should be 100%. But the Children’s Commissioner has simply caused confusion by misrepresenting the effect of the law and the difference between assault and a light smack.”

“This is yet more wasted government funding on information that has told us nothing new, done by an office trying to justify its existence,” says Mr McCoskrie.

Family First is calling for the Families Commission and Children’s Commission to be replaced by a Minister of Families in Cabinet.


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:

Bob McCoskrie – National Director

Mob. 027 55 555 42

Nats to give cash from family body to churches

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Nats to give cash from family body to churches
Dominion Post and Christchurch Press 09 September 2008

A National government will axe the Families Commission and give the savings to community groups, including churches, leader John Key has told a Family First forum. …
The National leader was questioned on the removal of section 59 of the Crimes Act, which took away the defence of reasonable force for parents who hit their children. National supported the legislation but has been under pressure from lobby groups such as Family First to repeal it. One man asked Mr Key whether he would restore his right to “discipline my child lovingly”. Mr Key said that he sought a compromise on section 59 because it was clear that Labour was going to force the bill through anyway. He repeated his previous pledge that if he saw evidence the legislation was not working he would repeal it. “To this point I haven’t seen such evidence.” But he added that if an upcoming referendum – which calls for parental correction through a smack to be lawful – gave a strong mandate for change then a future government would need to listen to the result.
Mr Key was also asked whether he supported a law change on abortion. He said it was a conscience issue, but he did not support any change to the existing law.

Concern about Bias of Families Commission Confirmed

Sunday, August 31st, 2008


August 2008

Concern about Bias of Families Commission Confirmed

Family First NZ says the appointment of the just-retired Chief Families Commissioner Rajen Prasad to the Labour party list confirms concerns that the Commission wasn’t independent enough to truly represent families.

“We were always concerned that the Commission wasn’t independent enough to represent the voice of families on important issues, for example the anti-smacking law,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Despite an overwhelming number of families opposed to the law change, the Families Commission blindly supported the legislation. The appointment of Rajen Prasad to the Labour party list suggests that the Commission was more concerned with listening to the government’s agenda than to the concerns of families.”

Other perceived biases included

· the shutting down of research by the Rotorua People’s Advocacy Centre which was funded by the Commission, and which highlighted the concerns of solo parents on the DPB. The research was muzzled by the government through the Ministry of Social Development and the Families Commission because they didn’t agree with its conclusions

· the inability of the Commission to acknowledge and promote the benefits of marriage and importance of family structure, especially as it relates to domestic violence, child abuse, and poverty

· silence on whether the government emphasis on early childhood education is in the best interests of very young children, and families in general

“The plethora of Commissions that we have in NZ will only be of benefit when they are independent enough from the government of the day to represent the sector that they are supposed to without hidden agendas or future career opportunities.”

“The concerns we expressed about the independence of the Families Commission, or lack of it, appear to have been confirmed,” says Mr McCoskrie.


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:

Bob McCoskrie JP – National Director

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