compiled from http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0703/S00238.htm
Sue Bradford: "It's actually illegal now to smack your child".
She made this erroneous statement in an attempt to refute the claims
made by critics of her bill, that if it is enacted into law, it will
criminalise good parents who smack their kids using "reasonable force"
for the purpose of correction. Bradford is wrong. It is NOT illegal now
for a parent to smack their children if the action does not contravene
the clear guidelines and purpose ("correction") set out in s. 59 of the
Crimes Act (1961) for the use of "reasonable force" (in "domestic
discipline"). S. 59 provides a clear justification for the use of
"reasonable force", in the same way the other sections of the Act
provide justification for the use of "reasonable force" (e.g. in
self-defence s. 48 and s. 60 Force used by Ship Captains).
Prime Minister, Helen Clark, has also deliberately repeated Bradford＊s misrepresentation of the law. She has called the section59 defence, that is currently in place in our law, "ridiculous".
In setting out her support for Sue Bradford＊s bill that repeals s. 59 of the Crimes Act (1961), prior to it going to the select committee, she told Paul Holmes on NewstalkZB on Monday June 13th 2005:
"On the other hand, to have an actual defence in the law [s. 59] where
someone can go and argue they used reasonable force, is also
Most New Zealanders disagree with her. For over two years nation-wide
polls have consistently shown that about 80% of New Zealanders want the
defence for use of reasonable force contained in s. 59 retained and not
repealed, the defence that Clark describes as "ridiculous".
"She [Clark] stressed [to Holmes] that the Government would not
legislate to ban smacking, saying it would be a "very silly thing to
In an interview with Bob McCroskie on Radio Rhema in 2005 Clark
expressed strong opposition to any ban on smacking:
Helen Clark: "...a lot of people are uncomfortable with the beating, ah, but they
don't want to see, ah, you know, stressed and harassed parents, ah, you
know, called in by the police because they, they smacked a child, so I
think there's a debate to go on..."
McCoskrie: "...right ... so, you don't want to see smacking banned..."
Clark: "Absolutely not! I think you're trying to defy human nature."
Clearly she has made a complete U-turn in recent days by using her party
whips (neither of whom have ever had children or even been married as
National MP Maurice Williamson highlighted in the House), to force all
Labour Party MPs to support Bradford＊s bill that Bradford herself has
conceded, bans smacking.
When accused by the National Party of doing a U-turn Clark denied it by
claiming that she has always opposed the banning of smacking and that
Bradford＊s bill has nothing to do with banning smacking, but only
removes the statutory defence against assault that applies to reasonable
force used in correction.
The New Zealand public will not be fooled by such deceit and dishonesty.
Helen Clark and Sue Bradford are hell-bent on stripping parents of the
only defence they have in law against a spurious charge of ＆assault＊
that may be brought against them for using "reasonable force" in
correction. They most definitely seek to ban smacking by legislative
means, despite their claims to the contrary, and refuse to concede that
lightly smacking a child for the purpose of correction will be banned if
Bradford＊s bill becomes law.
...Meanwhile deluded Ms Bradford is calling for millions of taxpayer
dollars to be spent explaining her bill to the public for the purpose of
proving, she hopes, that her bill does not ban smacking! She has already
wasted millions of taxpayers dollars promoting her "ridiculous" and
"silly" (words used by Clark to rubbish s. 59) bill that all sides of
the debate including Bradford herself, concede will make no impact
whatsoever in reducing child abuse figures in New Zealand.