Posts Tagged ‘Voting’

Persecution of Parents To Be Investigated by National

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008


5 November 2008

Persecution of Parents To Be Investigated by National

Family First NZ is welcoming comments by senior National MP Judith Collins that if elected, National will check whether the anti-smacking law has resulted in needless prosecutions and persecution of parents.

“We have stacks of evidence and testimony that good families have been targeted by this flawed law and that it has failed to deal with actual child abuse,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “Families have been referred to CYF by schools, neighbours, members of the public, their children, and even their children’s friends for non-abusive smacking. And some families have also undergone police investigation.”

“This has caused huge stress and anxiety to families who are simply trying to raise good law-abiding kids in an appropriate way.”

“All the records show that police and CYF notifications have sky-rocketed yet there has been no corresponding increase in actual child abuse being discovered or prevented.”

“For people like Sue Bradford and Helen Clark to try and argue that it is not an anti-smacking law is to deny the reality of how it is being treated by the authorities, and what their intention was from day one.”

Family First NZ has already sent a large file of cases to National leader John Key highlighting good families being persecuted and prosecuted as a result of the flawed law, and will continue to collate evidence of the harmful effects of this law.


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:

Bob McCoskrie – National Director

Mob. 027 55 555 42

Stick that could yet beat Clark

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Stick that could yet beat Clark

The smacking bill passed with a hefty majority in Parliament, but it has left a deep schism through middle New Zealand. Politicians from both major parties are resolutely refusing to make it an election issue, but it just won’t go away

By EMILY WATT – The Dominion Post | Friday, 24 October 2008

The ironic thing about the so-called anti-smacking law is that it may just cost Helen Clark the election. This, despite the fact that both the major parties seem to be trying to ignore it on the campaign trail.

No matter that National also backed the bill when it passed in May 2007 with a healthy majority 113-8.

And it appears to be irrelevant that it wasn’t even Labour’s idea, but a bill that was championed by Green MP Sue Bradford.

For disillusioned Labour supporters already grumbling about the nanny state, the smacking legislation was a step too far. Helen Clark – childless herself – was suggesting she knew more about raising their kids than they did. It was meddling, pure and simple.

Soon after the law was passed, Labour’s support, which had been sitting comfortably at 40 per cent, dropped while National’s grew. Up to 120,000 Labour party faithful may have decamped as a result.

The law was built on a bedrock of good intentions: an attempt to reduce the appalling child abuse statistics, the desire to provide children with the same protection from assault given to adults, and to change the law after several high-profile cases, including one involving a mother acquitted by a jury of “disciplining” her son with a horsewhip and cane.

As Canterbury University associate professor in law John Caldwell points out, it is not an “anti-smacking” law at all, but lists four circumstances in which smacking is acceptable, including when it is part of the normal daily tasks of good parenting and preventing a child from using disruptive behaviour.

“I’ve personally been a bit baffled about why it’s continued to be called the anti-smacking law,” he says. “I think there’s widespread misapprehension [about the bill].”

Yet its passage was preceded by months of vitriolic debate that drove thousands of opponents, led by the Destiny Church, to descend upon Parliament to defend their right to smack their children.

It raised hackles in the House, too. Gordon Copeland quit United Future over the issue – then missed the vote and had to have his vote recorded later.

Though police insist officers are using a “commonsense approach”, opposition has remained staunch.

Opponents presented 390,000 signatures to Parliament this year and have forced a referendum on the law asking: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

Miss Clark has done her best to kick the problem into touch by refusing to hold the referendum on election day. She says there was no time to prepare, and it is likely to be put to a postal vote next year.

Political commentator Chris Trotter says the law has had a devastating effect on Labour. Based on polls conducted around the time of the law, he estimates that between 100,000 and 120,000 Labour party faithful have deserted, mostly for National, because of it.

“The anti-smacking legislation, I think, really hit people where they lived. It really did feel as if the state was coming in the front door and telling parents how they should raise their kids.”

The National Party, which also supported the bill’s passage, seemed to have escaped untarnished in the fallout.

After leader John Key helped to work out a compromise clause with Miss Clark, his party learnt its full support to the bill. Mr Key received kudos for a masterly political breakthrough.

He has ruled out changing the law if he becomes prime minister unless there is evidence of good parents being prosecuted. But he told the Family First conference last month that he would consider changing the law if the referendum results were strong.

Ms Bradford says opponents of the bill purposefully muddied the waters by focusing on smacking rather than abuse of children. She believes about half the country was supportive of the bill.

Miss Clark did not go down the legislative path blindly. She would have known how deeply unpopular the bill was, but has said it was an issue she simply couldn’t turn away from.

Trotter says the prime minister has always been rigorous at looking at the big picture, “but on this one, she let her heart rule her head”.

“But if she goes down because of that, she’s gone down for something worth going down for.”


National leader John Key and Labour leader Helen Clark were both asked in The Dominion Post’s readers’ questions whether they would look again at the law on smacking if the referendum was in favour of change.

John Key:

“The purpose of putting up the compromise position that we did was to ensure that the law would be administered as we thought was appropriate, which is to give parents some leeway for lightly smacking a child. Inconsequentially smacking a child was something that the police would not investigate. So our view is, as long as the police continue to administer the law as the compromise intended, and we don’t see examples where good parents are criminalised for lightly smacking a child, then we think the law’s working.”

Helen Clark:

“It seems to me that, when Parliament votes 113 to 8 for something, that’s near unanimity. I think Parliament as a whole was exercised about violence in the family and wanted to send a strong signal. Parliament did not want to send a signal to the police that matters of little consequence should be dragged before a court and the reality is that they’re not being dragged before a court.” She added that there was a high level of ambiguity in the referendum questions.

Home discipline still a hot topic

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Home discipline still a hot topic

4:00AM Saturday Oct 25, 2008
By Carroll du Chateau

In a year when the morals and ethics of our political parties seem at an all-time low, voters are focused on policies sidling into our sitting rooms.

Many morally contentious issues are designated conscience votes by political parties, meaning their members do not have to vote along party lines.

The anti-smacking bill proposed by Sue Bradford of the Greens and finally cobbled together by Helen Clark and John Key started out as a conscience issue and ended up as a party vote for Labour, National and the Greens, who voted 100 per cent in favour.

Meanwhile, there was overwhelming opposition to the bill out in the community. Parents do not want the Government telling them how to parent. They say loss of discipline at home contributes to bad behaviour, out-of-control youngsters and, eventually, rising crime.

Many say the Government is sending the wrong message to the young.

“The idea that smacking should be against the law is ridiculous,” says Rodney Hide who, as leader of Act, stands for individual freedom and personal responsibility. “The fact that a small smack on the bottom should be up there with bashing kids with a pipe offends me.”

Mr Hide’s position is echoed by Richard Lewis of the Family Party (a Christian offshoot of last election’s Destiny Party) and Bob McCroskie of Family First. While Mr McCroskie’s organisation is a pressure group rather than a political party, it has signed on as a Third Party and is spending a chunk of its allocated $120,000 to push family values – and undermine this legislation.

Mr McCroskie says the law sends an underlying message that parents aren’t really in charge. “Kids are saying, ‘You can’t tell me what to do!’ We need to establish parenting within the law and parents don’t feel they’ve got it.” He talks about a consistent message (feeding through legislation) that we don’t rate parents.

“We don’t recognise parenting as a career choice. The message is, ‘If you want to be a contributing member of society, get yourself a real job.”‘

He is talking about paid parental leave, 20 hours’ free childcare and all the other measures designed to make it easy for mothers to go back to work.

Mr Lewis insists the old legal defence in smacking cases “never protected anyone from child abuse. I think this bill exposes parents unfairly. There are reports of children turning up to school with innocent scrapes and bruises and being asked, ‘Did your parents do it?”‘

Sue Bradford fervently disagrees. A mother of five, she insists she is a staunch defender of the family. “It’s the ability to beat your children that undermines the family.” She also defends the Parental Notification Bill, which allows teenagers under 16 to have abortions without their parents being aware of them. “My belief is that a woman’s body is her own.” ‘

Less high-profile is the ethical issue around the refusal to pay parents and family caring for disabled children and adults, while professional carers qualify for funding. The practice was challenged in a tribunal hearing brought against the Ministry of Health by the Director of Human Rights Proceedings on grounds of discrimination against parents and families.

While all parties except Labour express concern at the unfairness of the law, only the smaller parties are prepared to change it. United Future would introduce a caregivers’ allowance; the Maori Party would ensure disabled people and whanau could access support; the Progressives favour funding “as fiscal conditions permit”.

Labour, meanwhile, is committed to steering away from the issue, instead pledging to provide $37 million on extra daycare and respite services, family caregiver support, extra funding for home-based support services plus wider criteria for the DPB so low-income couples and sole parents could receive extra support to care for sick or disabled children.

One ethical area where the larger parties are taking a risk is with gangs. Gangs are seen as an integral part of our social fabric and stopping people gathering together breaches ethical boundaries. The proliferation of P has Labour and National talking about cracking down on gangs – again putting them out of step with Christian parties who claim the Government should focus on eliminating drug dealing rather than the gangs themselves.

Another matter bothering Mr Hide is the issue of self-defence “Some things are worse than being charged: A, being a wimp and B, being dead.”

* Since the law came in

Sixteen months after the law change in May last year, eight parents have been prosecuted. One received diversion, one was discharged without conviction and six cases are yet to be resolved.

This, says John Key, supports the view that the law is being well administered by police.

A petition for a referendum on the legislation, which asked the question “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” gained 390,000 signatures, 310,000 of which were judged valid. To trigger a referendum, 10 per cent of registered voters (285,000) need to sign it. The referendum will be held next year.


From a link above:

National: Anti-smacking legislation to stay.

National Adopts ‘We Know Better Than You’ Attitude

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008


22 October 2008

National Adopts ‘We Know Better Than You’ Attitude

Family First NZ is labeling comments made by National leader John Key in the Dominion Post today regarding the anti-smacking law and Referendum as disappointing and deaf to the views of the overwhelming majority of NZ parents.

“It was hoped that National would respect the views of parents both when the law change was being discussed and when the 300,000-plus voters signed the petition demanding a change to the law and a Referendum,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “However Key’s comments today suggest that the attitude of ‘politicians know best’ is rampant not only in the Labour and Greens parties but also the National party now.”

In the interview, Key said “We’ll have respect for what the referendum says, but it wouldn’t make us change our mind” and we’ll “change the law if the law isn’t administered in the way that I think this Parliament intended it to be.”

“The problem is that what Parliament did under the orders of both Helen Clark and John Key was to vote against the will and mind of the huge majority of NZ’ers.”

“Polls continue to show overwhelming opposition to the anti-smacking law because it has failed to deal with actual child abuse, has targeted good families with investigation, prosecutions and persecution, yet has been trumpeted by supporters as a success because nobody has been imprisoned.”

“NZ needs laws that target actual child abuse, prevent child abuse deaths, and that target the major contributing causes including drug and alcohol abuse, family breakdown, and rotten parents – as highlighted by the tragic Nia Glassie case.”

Family First has already provided documented evidence to John Key that good families are being both persecuted and in some cases prosecuted as a result of the anti-smacking law.

Marriage Breakdown Costing Taxpayers At Least $1 Billion a Year

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

MEDIA RELEASE – 20 October 2008

Marriage Breakdown Costing Taxpayers At Least $1 Billion a Year

In the first research of its kind in NZ, a new report estimates that the fiscal cost to the taxpayer of family breakdown and decreasing marriage rates is at least $1 billion per year and has cost approximately $8 billion over the past decade.

The report “The Value of Family – Fiscal Benefits of Marriage and Reducing Family Breakdown in New Zealand” was commissioned by Family First NZ and prepared by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER).

“The study shows that the decline of marriage, NZ’s high teenage fertility rate, and our rate of solo parenthood is not just a moral or social concern but should also be a concern of government and policymakers,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “The report states that even a small reduction in family breakdown and increases in marriage rates could provide significant savings for taxpayers.”

The report says that family breakdown and decreasing marriage rates are seldom considered in debate on social policy issues.

“The focus has been on ‘child poverty’ but this misses the real issue – that is, poverty among families with children, and the way that divorce, unwed childbearing, teenage pregnancy and sole parenting contributes to that poverty. For example, sole parents have the lowest average living standards of all economic family unit types.”

The report also refers to International research which suggests that the private costs of divorce and unmarried childbearing include increased risks of poverty, mental illness, infant mortality, physical illness, juvenile delinquency and adult criminality, sexual abuse and other forms of family violence, economic hardship, substance abuse, and educational failure.

“It is significant that this report comes during an Election period where the issue of family breakdown and decreasing marriage rates is barely registering a mention or a policy. Yet this report makes it quite clear that strengthening marriage and reducing family breakdown is a significant public concern, both in human costs and economically,” says Mr McCoskrie.

The report suggests the use of a range of programmes and services to reduce unwed pregnancy among teen mothers and to help prepare couples for and support them during marriage.

“We must do much more to strengthen marriages and help families succeed,” says Mr McCoskrie. “The investment will pay for itself.”

The Full Report is available from 20 October at


ACT campaign launch: We provide the spine

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

ACT campaign launch: We provide the spine

12 October 2008

ACT has launched its election campaign with leader Rodney Hide saying only his party can put some backbone into a National-led government.

Act’s launch at the Alexandra Park Raceway in Auckland started a day of launches which also sees Labour, National and United Future begin their official campaigns.

Mr Hide told about 400 supporters Labour had squandered good economic times and had done little to deliver policies that would carry New Zealand through the current world economic crisis.

National, on the other hand, was so busy trying to steal votes off Labour it had mimicked most of its policies.

ACT was needed to force any change, he said.

“This election I am asking you to ensure the next National government makes a difference.

“It’s that simple. A party vote for ACT will ensure John Key makes a difference.”

Mr Hide went on to spell out ACT’s core policies.

Its economic prescription was exactly the kind of medicine New Zealand needed in the face of the global market crisis.

“There are small businesses now going to the wall because they are being squeezed paying for an ever-fattening government.

“Families are struggling to make ends meet with taxes, rates and other charges,” he said.

“The way to facilitate the necessary transition is to cap government expenditure in real terms, free up the labour market and radically reform the Resource Management Act.”

Other economic policies included immediately cutting the top tax rate and dumping the emissions trading scheme.

Mr Hide also spelt out ACT’s tough anti-crime policies including the abolition of parole and a three-strikes policy, which would give a sentence of 25-years to life to anyone convicted three times of a violent offence.

He said there should also be better legal protections for people who defended themselves or their property.

He cited the case of Auckland dairy owner Virender Singh who has been charged over an altercation in which he defended himself from youths allegedly looking to rob his shop.

ACT would also turn the clock back on “nanny state” initiatives supported by Labour such as the phasing out of incandescent light bulbs and Green MP Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking legislation.

Another Smacking Poll – Same Response

Sunday, September 28th, 2008


29 September 2008

Another Smacking Poll – Same Response

Family First NZ says that the NZ Herald poll showing 86% opposition to the anti-smacking law is further proof that the law is fundamentally wrong and should be changed.

“This is not 86% of NZ’ers who want to ‘thrash and beat’ their children as was suggested by the prime minister last year,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “This is simply NZ’ers saying that a law supposedly designed to tackle child abuse should not end up targeting good parents raising great kids.”

“Appropriate smacking for the purpose of correcting, training and teaching should never be a crime exposing parents to possible police investigation and CYF intervention.”

“The law is fundamentally flawed because it fails to deal with the problem it was supposed to – child abuse – and implicates law-abiding parents in the process.”

The latest poll follows a string of similar polls in 2008 including:

u 74% parents should be able to smack Research International Feb 2008

u 85% want law changed to allow light smacking Curia Research – poll commissioned by Family First May 08

u 85% anti-smacking law should be scrapped TVNZ Website poll June 08

u 81% say there should be referendum on smacking legislation at this year’s election NZ Herald Poll 25 June 2008 Total Votes: 4624

u One year on, do you think the anti-smacking Bill has proved to be effective? No 87% Unsure 7% Yes 7% Littlies Magazine online poll July 2008

“The guarded support for the ‘compromise’ amendment is parents simply hoping that the police may use some common sense in applying this flawed law. Yet evidence has shown that this is not the case, and many parents are more concerned about the way CYF are using the law for unwarranted intervention in good families.”

“The message is loud and clear to the politicians,” says Mr McCoskrie. “We don’t need a costly referendum to tell us what we already know. Simply change the law so that good parents are not criminalised, and then start targeting the real causes of child abuse including drug and alcohol abuse and family breakdown.”


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:

Bob McCoskrie JP – National Director

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

Don’t Vote Greens

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Andy Moore has set up Don’t Vote Greens. He has just  posted this video.