Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Facts About the Section 59 Proposal

From a letter in the Hokitika local paper.

1. Smacking has been legal under section 59. A parent was justified
(doing right before the law) if they used reasonable force for the purpose
of correction. This clause was never put in law to defend abuse but to make
sure that a reasonable corrective “smack” by a parent was not defined as
2. If Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking Bill goes through it’s final reading
then it will be illegal to smack your child for the purpose of correction
and if you do so you will be committing a crime.
3. The additional clause inserted by the party leaders does not change
this it merely gives guidelines to police in using their discretion which
they already do. It does nothing to prevent a private lawsuit by a member of
the public or for example a retributive other parent, or even the child
themselves, or CYFS.
4. It opens the door to children avoiding correction: “You can’t smack
me for what I did because that is assault!”
Truth, law, and logic have gone out the window over this issue and been
replaced by political point scoring, and deceptive public reassurance.
It is a dangerous precedent to make laws especially about personal and
family life and give assurances that police will use their discretion not to
fine you over inconsequential violations if it would be against the public
interest. This sounds like a dictatorship.
If this law goes through in as little as 6 weeks time it could be a criminal
offence to smack you child. It is not to late – ring MP’s, call a talkback
show, sign the petition for a referendum, but don’t give up and go to sleep.
80% of Kiwi’s don’t want this Bill and the politicians are ignoring them.
Let John Key know he’s either been conned or he has made a huge mistake, put
the pressure on Helen Clark by telling her you see this for what it is.