24 March 07
In the Dominion Post article (14/3) "Police prepare rules to act on smacks" the New Zealand public is informed that police chiefs are preparing to send out guidelines for dealing with complaints about smacking as the bill outlawing the use of physical punishment as the final vote draws nearer. The Gisborne Herald article (17/3) "New bill 'unlikely' to drastically lift police workload" is based on a quotation from Police Minister Annette King. The Police Minister's views are quite irrelevant because the police, prosecutors and the criminal justice system are obliged to enforce the letter of the law. Thinking New Zealanders have known all along that the proposed law would lead to policing and criminalising responsible parents. Being a lawyer in Sweden under the regime of the anti-smacking law, I have known that all along, and I am still trying to warn New Zealand before it is too late: The anti smacking bill will turn parents into criminals. If the Bill becomes law it will mean the abolition of parental authority. That is exactly what the Editor of the Swedish newspaper The Day, (Dagen) wrote in his editorial "An unnecessary law" on November 11, 1978. (click to view >>>)
In Sweden the supporters of the Bill - the law was passed by 344 of 350 votes "to protect children from abuse" - claimed that no parent would be prosecuted under the anti-smacking law because it was promulgated in the Parents and guardianship Code. However, When I state in lectures, debates or public talks, etc., that the anti-smacking law is invoked to support the criminal charges against the parents and that the law has made parents afraid of their children, that the children intimidate their parents by threatening to report them to the police and the social services, etc., my opponents say that I am scaremongering or that I don't know what I am talking about. However, my statement is confirmed in the article "European Report: Mummy and Daddy spare rod -- or go to court", published in 2000. Well, there you have it. (See >>>)
In a government-funded speech in February 2006, Joan Durrant, claimed that Sweden 's smacking ban has reduced child abuse to "virtually zero". (See >>>) . The ideological advocates, led by Sue Bradford, claim that a smacking ban will reduce child abuse in New Zealand . However, Dr. Chris Beckett's paper (2005), that bears the title: 'The Swedish Myth: The Corporal Punishment Ban and Child Death Statistics', shows that it did not reduce child abuse nor child homicides. It is just a myth. (See >>>)....Prosecuting parents for physically forcing or punishing their children when words and admonitions prove to be insufficient is in no way in the best interest of children - neither in Sweden nor in New Zealand . It is, and must remain, the parents' duty and right to educate and socialise their children within the context of their family.
Who has the right to decide what is right? The politicians or the parents who know and love their children and want what is best for them? Sweden 's politicians decided what was right and best for the children of Sweden , and the parents were forced to abdicate or be dragged through the criminal and administrative court systems. Today both parents and children suffer at the hands of the social bureaucracy with the right to separate children from their "abusive" parents and put them in foster homes. However, separating children from their parents constitutes the greatest abuse - both physical and emotional - that can be inflicted on children and their families....I am convinced that New Zealand has enough intelligent, level-headed politicians so they will not want their fellow citizens to have to make the same mistakes that Sweden has made. Bradford 's Bill is not being progressive; it is being destructive and repressive. The French reporter, Jean-Francis Held, wrote the article "Smacking: Those Swedes must be crazy!" (see >>>)
... By the way, if the New Zealand MP's want to follow Sweden 's example, then I can inform you that we had a change of government in October 2006.
president of the Nordic Committee for Human Rights