Saturday, April 21, 2007

Simon Barnett on Smacking

Thursday, 5 April 2007
Sunday Star Times

Luke, chapter six, verse 27: "Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you." Love and good, enemies and hate - verily, a battle was taking place in the household of Simon Barnett's lovely home in Christchurch. The scripture written in marker pen on a whiteboard in his kitchen told his family to stand firm.

Barnett, 40, and his wife Jodi have four beautiful daughters - Lily, six, Isabella, eight, Sophie, 11, and Samantha, 13. The girls attend Christian school Middleton Grange. They are tall and tanned and have really good manners. Isabella has a pet chinchilla, a rodent that looks like a filled sock, called Gorgeous. Lily said to her dad the other day, "I like living in Sumner. It's so relaxing." Their house is across the road from a lagoon, where pied stilts and royal spoonbills roosted at high tide on Friday afternoon. Were the two eldest girls going to watch America's Next Top Model on TV that night? "We're not allowed to," they said.

The afternoon filled with golden sunlight. It lay warm on the tennis court and the Oamaru stone of Barnett's home, which also has an indoor heated pool. The man of the house has done well out of a career as the breakfast host on More FM in Christchurch, and the presenter of light entertainment TV shows What Now?, Wheel of Fortune, Face the Music, Telebingo, Celebrity Treasure Island, and, last year, Sing Like A Superstar: "That was really bad. You win some, you lose some!"

Totally nice guy, happy family. But there are demons in his head. They wear Labour Party red, and wave the Green Party's rag. A government-backed bill introduced by Greens list MP Sue Bradford seeks to abolish parental force against children. It may become law this week. Barnett fully expects it will. As a staunch and vocal opponent, though, he believes the new law will be thrown out after the next election. His favourite Bible verse (Proverbs, chapter 13, verse 12) is: "Hope deferred makes the heart sick."

Barnett has emerged as the unlikely lightning rod for public opposition to Bradford's bill. "That's what I think, too!" He said he always wanted to be liked. But now he has received emails calling him "a rapist and a child abuser" from one person, and "child basher" by another. Love thy enemies: Barnett spoke at a public meeting in Cathedral Square on Wednesday, and was abused by a man who he said pushed a Maori Party placard in his face.

Despite the thumping rain, more than 2000 people attended Wednesday's protest rally. Barnett had a Martin Luther King moment -during his speech, he kept chanting, "I have a dream!" A New Zealand without child abuse. A New Zealand where the wicked are punished. But a New Zealand where responsible, loving parents can smack their children if they choose, and not fear arrest under Bradford's proposed law change.

How did he come to act as MC at the Square? "A young guy called Andy Moore asked me to. Never met him before." Moore is 20. On his blog, he lists Gladiator among his favourite films, and The Bible as his favourite book. At a public meeting in Rangiora recently, Moore barracked Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove, and handed out petitions against the bill given to him by former United First MP, and evangelical Christian, Larry Baldock.

Barnett said, "I often wonder, `Why am I doing this?' I suppose I've felt for a long time that this government hasn't been working for families. They've been working against families with some of their legislation. And this last piece of legislation just won't work to stop child abuse in this country."

What other legislation acted against families? "Well, prostitution law reform. But I'm very aware this government would have you believe the only people who are the real opponents of this bill are Christian fundamentalists, or as Dr Cullen said the other day - I'll get the quote, because it's important... where is it... I've got so much paperwork on this... here we are. Dr Cullen said, `This bill is opposed by religious fanatics and extremists, as well as other various forms of strange people.' I just think that is extremely arrogant, given that the Colmar Brunton poll had 83% of New Zealanders were against it."

Barnett also variously quoted Helen Clark, Sue Bradford, former Alliance MP Laila Harre, Greg O'Connor of the Police Association, a CYF report, and a Swedish law expert. Yes, he said, he was in danger of becoming a single-issue bore.

"I'm by and large a guy who's fairly placid. I did go on a walk for Make Poverty History last year. I'm into better trade deals and things like that. I watched Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth on DVD, and that fired me up for a moment, but then I saw his power bill was like $30,000 a year, and that made me cool off on his opinion. That's the kind of guy I am. But I can't see in all conscience how I could ever support this anti-smacking bill. This issue has got me really steamed up."

HE GOT steamed up. "If the Greens are so committed to protecting children's rights, then how come they're so adamant they want to decriminalise marijuana? I feel the family is being undermined all the time. It's a hard enough job to parent as it is. But if this government is so concerned about child welfare, what about all the party pills? How come they're freely available to kids? Truancy is an enormous problem. There's street bashings every day.

"How come the government were opposed to putting the drinking age back to 20? How come the government voted against harsher sentences for paedophiles and child porn? It's so hypocritical. It's almost too hard to bear."

It was too hard to bear. He saw the demons arriving at his house, past the security gates, their shadows on the Oamaru stone: "People now have the government actually coming up their driveway, knocking on their door, and saying, `We know better than you how to bring up your children.' I take that as an affront for a guy who's committed his life to being the best parent I can be.

"I think what's happened with this whole debate is that it's not about child welfare, it's turning into an argument about who parents better -parents who smack, or parents who choose not to. That's what a lot of people are inflamed about. I don't think you can ever win that argument. I've got four really stunning kids, incredibly polite, academic, and I've smacked every one of them on occasion. I should be allowed to parent how I want to parent."

He told a story about giving his daughter Sophie a smack when she was three - she had let go of his hand, and run across a busy road. "I knelt down beside her and said, `I told you not to let go of daddy's hand.' A car had just missed her. My heart was racing. I wasn't angry at her; I really wasn't. I was like, `I can't believe you so disobeyed me.' So I smacked her hand. And it was hard. She cried for about 15 seconds. I said, `I'm sorry I had to do that, but you must never ever do that again.' And to this day she hasn't."

What a horrifying thing for a parent to witness. But the point of his story was the punishment. "I know. Bradford says, `Don't worry, you won't have the police on your doorstep if you smack your child.' But I'm not prepared to take her word for that."

He said, "Something occurred to me just before. Don't lose that thought, Simon... Oh yeah! It's this: I don't believe this government actually likes authority apart from their own. I don't think they want any authority in the home, because everything we're seeing is taking away parents' rights to discipline their children. It's trying to encourage equal rights for children, and that can never be the case -children can't have the same rights as an adult. It's a unique relationship between a parent and child. Otherwise you're just the tallest person in the house, aren't you?"

Where would it end? "I think this will be the proverbial straw. People will not forget this." Barnett grew up in a Labour household - "My grandfather was a lecturer at Canterbury University in history and economics. He taught Bill Rowling" - and voted for the party until the last election, when he switched to United First. Next time? National, to throw the government out. John Key, as the next prime minister, would hold a referendum on the child discipline law, and the public would throw that out too.

He didn't have to reach for paperwork to arrive at that future. Simon Barnett had a dream.

Fielding Protest Rally 23 April

Diane Woodward is organising the third rally in Feilding to protest
against the passage of Bradford's Bill to re-write Section 59.

The aim of this rally is to draw attention to the meeting between National's John Key
and Green's Sue Bradford proposed for ANZAC Day, Wednesday 25 April

Where: Feilding Clock Tower
When: 12 Noon Monday 23 April (two days before ANZAC Day)

Be there.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Marcus Lush: hushed up by 13 year old

My thirteen year old brother rang Radio Live tonight (9:20pm 20 April) and spoke to Marcus Lush. The following is what my brother told me about the discussion after he had been cut off.

"I waited on the phone for like, 40 minutes. And when I had been on the phone for like 10 minutes, a guy said "hello, what's your name?" and I [told him my name]. And then he said, "can you just hold the line please?" And then I waited for like, another half an hour. And the kids were all going on about what they did. Then finally when I got on, the guy said "Oh hullo". He didn't say anything so I just said "Oh yeah, I went to Hamner Springs", and he said "oh you too?" and then I said "yeah, and I went on the hydroslide like 40 times and anyway, the second thing I did was, I've been going through malls dropping off petitions to get 300,000 signatures to hold a referendum so it will still be legal to smack your children." And he said "so you've been dropping these pamphlets all throughout malls so you can be hit?" And I was like, "Oh, no, not really hit, but its really taking away parent's rights isn't it, parent's responsibility". "I think it's to stop parents from beating their children to pulp... So whats your favourite way of being smacked" he said. I answered saying, "It doesn't really matter". "I was on TV the other day... I was on TV3". Then he said "so how often do you get smacked?" "Oh not that often I said". "Well, when were you last smacked", he said "About four days ago". "So why were you smacked?" "Ah, I think I was being rude actually". Anyway, so as I got going, he said "Oh, so did you go to a pro-smacking march?" I said "yes, my brother did that - it was on the 28th of March and there were like 3,000 people there, and Si and Gary were there. They were leading the march. But it was actually my brother Andy Moore who organised the whole thing. So we went from Victoria Square to Cathedral Square..." Then Marcus Lush just cut me off and said "oh sorry, got to go now", really fast, and then I was just cut off, hearing a beep beep beep."

After my brother had been abrubtly cut off by this immature and amatuer radio presenter, Marcus Lush commented:

"Oh, I just knew a pro-smacker would ring up... A beautiful night, just ruined."

What a joke - this guy couldn't even hold his own against a 13 year old boy.

We're all animal abusers!


Oh this is hilarious. How desperate can you get. Jim Anderton claims that people spanked as a child are much more likely to turn into animal torturers.

His basis for such a claim is a solitary study of 90 male students! And it wasn't based on 90 convicted animal abusers, but on self reports. So basically what they did is ask 90 students how many of you have ever abused an animal, and that of those students who self reported they are animal abusers, 2.4 times as many claimed they were physically disciplined as a child.

Now let us assume that of these 90 male students, only around 20% were animal abusers, your actual sample is something like 17 students. You see if 17 was the sample it works out precisely that 5 said they were not discipled and 12 say they were.

So Anderton's assertion is probably based on 17 male undergraduate students in the US. And that is before one even gets into was it a random sample, can you trust self reporting, and is a correlation a causative effect.

Anderton would get an E- from any university for his claim.

Smacked kids hurt animals says MP

The Dominion Post | Friday, 20 April 2007

Key Labour ally Jim Anderton says men who were smacked as children are far more likely to abuse animals.

In a speech to the SPCA, the Progressives leader - who is in coalition with Labour - cited a United States Justice Department report in 1999 that said nearly 60 per cent of men who admitted mistreating animals had suffered corporal punishment from their fathers.

About a quarter said they had abused animals, but had not been physically punished as children. Corporal punishment was defined in the survey as "spanking, slapping or hitting".

Mr Anderton supports Green MP Sue Bradford's bill, which removes the statutory "reasonable force" defence for parents who smack their children for the purposes of correction. Polls show more than 80 per cent of voters are against a change to the law.

Mr Anderton said the study showed that people "emotionally damaged through violence" were more likely to be violent or have no empathy for others.

His reference to the US research was dismissed as a desperate measure by National MP Chester Borrows, who has drafted an amendment to the bill that would allow light smacking. Mr Borrows said yesterday that the research Mr Anderton used - which was based on interviews with 84 university undergraduates - was demographically flawed and inferior to other studies that showed no effects from smacking. The research "wasn't anywhere near as clear-cut as he says it was".

Mr Borrows said research from the groundbreaking New Zealand longitudinal study, which has tracked participants since birth for more than 30 years and covered a range of backgrounds, painted a much different picture .

"What you find is that children who are raised in a loving, nurturing home and who are lightly smacked are indistinguishable from those who weren't smacked." ...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Oh so that's why I hate cats

April 19th, 2007

Jim Anderton has helpfully provided the reason for my absolute loathing of cats.

It is because my horrible parents, particularly my father smacked me as a child.

Good grief, next the fact I was breast feed will be the excuse for something....oh wait!

It is complete bollocks like this that does the government and it's lickspittles no good at all intrying to convince me that the smacking ban in required.

Stars coming out to fight smacking bill

5:00AM Thursday April 19, 2007

Former All Black Mark 'Bull' Allen

As the smacking debate returns for another round of argument, the opposition to the bill is bringing out its stars to win over the public.
Next month, Green MP Sue Bradford's controversial bill - aimed at eliminating the defence of reasonable force in relation to assaults on children - will once more be debated in Parliament.

Yesterday lobby group New Zealand Family Values In Jeopardy announced plans for a mass rally on Parliament's lawn on May 2. Speakers include Destiny Church Bishop Brian Tamaki, with former All Black and church member Mark "Bull" Allen officiating. "I'm a parent, I have five children, and I think that how you parent your children is a personal responsibility," Allen said. "I don't think we bring our children into this world to be told how to parent them by other people. When we use a corrective smack on our children, provided that it's done in a controlled fashion and a loving manner and done with an explanation, I think that is pretty reasonable." Allen, whose media-friendly manner and distinctive bald head won him great popularity in his playing days, is by no means the first celebrity to have loaned their cachet to either side of the argument.

Family First, which has been at the forefront of the campaign against the bill, began the celebrity parade when notables such as radio host Simon Barnett, former All Black Michael Jones, Oceania football player of the century Wynton Rufer and former Silver Fern Linda Vagana signed an open letter which called on MPs to reject the bill.

It did not take long for the bill's supporters to respond in kind. In March, when MPs last debated the bill, journalists Judy Bailey, Paul Holmes and Linda Clarke, rugby commentator Keith Quinn and Bishop Richard Randerson were among well-known people to put their names on a banner showing support for Ms Bradford.

(Who the heck cares what Paul Holmes has to say? And the weak kneed bishop from Auckland? Selling out to the overtly anti-Christian agenda of the Clark/Bradford Regime? Laugh - I think that's all you can really do.)

"This is a chance for us to do something tangible to protect our children," Bailey said at the time. The banner was organised by Every Child Counts project manager Deborah Morris-Travers. The former MP said its aim was to use celebrities to highlight community support for the bill, and to address the fear and misinformation surrounding it.

(Every child Deborah? - what about the 15,000 kiddies that are murdered by the State every year?)

John Key has got it right.

John Key has got it right.  Here is the jist of his speech (18 April)

"National Party Leader John Key says backers of the anti-smacking bill need to accept that the way the bill is currently drafted will make it illegal to use light smacking for the purposes of correction.

"I will not support a bill that leaves otherwise good parents at the mercy of the police and the judiciary.

"The Greens and Labour now have an opportunity to get closer to the public they serve, by agreeing they've got a major problem with the current wording."

I had a chat with a friend of my mum's this afternoon.  Her major objection to the repeal of Section 59 was that Bradford/Clark are saying that parents who lightly smack their children will not be criminalised.  She said - how can a mother smack her child when the child knows that his mummy is breaking the law?  It is not fair on the parents, or the children.  The mother knows that she is breaking the law.  The fact that she is *unlikely* to be prosecuted is irrelevant.  The child is confused, because he was told at school in "Health" that mummy and daddy are not allowed to smack you.  Ring CYFS if they do now, won't you.

As our Prime Minister said in late 2005;

I do not support a ban on smacking. I am opposed to that because I think it defies human nature. No one wants to see stressed and harassed parents who in exasperation lightly smacks a child dragged before the court.

Anyone who can read - anyone who can put two words together can read Bradford's bill and see that it does in fact criminalise parents who smack their children.

Good on you John Key.
Come on
Katherine Rich and Paula Bennet, what are you up to?

So, what is a crime?

by Nigel from the Kiwi Pundit blog
Monday, April 02, 2007

Tony Milne and others on the left are saying that removal of the s59 defence does not criminalize smacking because smacking has always been a crime, e.g.:
Smacking has been illegal for 100 years but there has been a defence in law.
The argument is that defences are something you use in court to avoid conviction, they do not affect whether the act was or was not a crime.

Leaving aside the fact that the real issue is whether parents who smack with reasonable force are liable to be prosecuted and convicted and/or have CYFS take away their kids, my view is that a crime requires three things:
1. A prohibited act or omission.

2. The required mental state (intention, negligence or others depending on how the offence is defined).

3. Absence of any defence or excuse.
Clearly this is correct where the defence or excuse is in the same section of the Act as the prohibited conduct. Otherwise all sexual intercourse would be a illegal and consent would just be a defence you could use in court. Likewise carrying a knife in public would always be a crime even if you just bought the knife and were transporting it home.

So the theory must be that the location of the defence or excuse in a statute determines whether it is an element of the crime. If it's in the same section as the prohibited conduct it prevents that conduct being a crime but if it's in a separate section it doesn't.

The problem here is that general defences apply to a number of crimes. Section 59, for instance, applies to kidnapping and other crimes as well as assault. Self-defence can apply to a very wide range of conduct. General defence provisions, separate from the conduct they apply to, are not created out of a desire by Parliament to treat the conduct as criminal but with a way of avoiding conviction. They are created simply to avoid all those defences and excuses needing to be attached to each and every provision to which they might apply. It's just sensible drafting to do that.

A further point is that existence of a defence may alter the crime the defendant committed. Provocation can be used to reduce murder to manslaughter. How could this be if the definitions of murder and manslaughter exist entirely independently of the defence provisions?

So the claim that defences don't make any difference as to whether conduct is illegal or criminal leads to various absurdities, no matter how you analayse it.

The final point is that the only reason bill opponents are saying the bill makes smacking illegal, is to explain the conclusion that decent parents who currently use light smacking as a form of disciple will be liable for prosecution and conviction if the bill passes. Even if you accept the Labour and Green claims that smacking is currently illegal, the conclusion still holds. The argument simply becomes that removal of the defence will leave decent parents liable to prosecution and conviction.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Accept anti-smacking bill is flawed says Key

Wednesday, 18 April 2007, 3:06 pm
Press Release: New Zealand National Party

National Party Leader John Key says backers of the anti-smacking bill need to accept that the way the bill is currently drafted will make it illegal to use light smacking for the purposes of correction.

"I will not support a bill that leaves otherwise good parents at the mercy of the police and the judiciary.

"The Greens and Labour now have an opportunity to get closer to the public they serve, by agreeing they've got a major problem with the current wording."

Mr Key says his offer to get around the table with Sue Bradford and Helen Clark remains open.

"But there's no point in proceeding unless Sue Bradford and Helen Clark will accept that light smacking for the purposes of correction will be illegal under their proposals.

"That is the first step towards finding some common ground."

Mr Key has laid down a counter-challenge for Labour to explain how it is that the bill in its current form won't criminalise parents.

"If Labour really believes that 'light smacking for the purposes of correction' will not be outlawed, then they need to explain that. But no matter how you read this bill in its present form it will be illegal to 'lightly smack for the purposes of correction'.

"The way to send a strong message on child abuse is to make the law clear and precise and then to police it strongly and vigilantly. This bill as it stands does the opposite.

"So again I say to Helen Clark and Sue Bradford, if you are genuine in your statements, and genuine in your intentions, then let's get around the table and come up with a set of words we all agree on.

"For me, a result that sees the criminalisation of parents for a light smack is simply not on the table."

My entry into whaleoil's competition

vote for it here if you want:

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

World Expert on Child Correction Coming to NZ

Tuesday, 17 April 2007, 3:05 pm

Family First NZ, with the support of For the Sake of Our Children Trust and Sensible Sentencing Trust, is bringing to New Zealand ROBERT E. LARZELERE PhD, Associate Professor of the Psychology Dept. Human Development & Family Science at Oklahoma State University to present the dangers of the 'Anti-Smacking' Bill on the important role of parents and the well-being of our children.

Dr Larzelere will be in NZ the week of the next vote on the Bradford / Clark 'Anti-Smacking' Bill (May 2nd). This is an important vote because the sensible amendment of MP Chester Borrow's (which substantially lowers the definition of what is 'reasonable' without criminalising good parents who give light smacks) will be voted on.

Dr Larzelere has been one of the world's foremost experts on the research on child correction outcomes for the past 30 years - including: One of three social scientific expert witnesses on the side of successfully defending a similar section to NZ's s59 of Canada's Criminal Code. (The social scientific expert witnesses on the other side included Joan Durrant. Durrant has been painted as the authority on smacking bans in NZ yet was ignored in her own country!) . Member of Task Force on Corporal Punishment - American Psychological Association. . One of 7 experts invited to present at 1996 Scientific Consensus Conference on the Short- and Long-Term Consequences of Corporal Punishment - co-sponsored by American Academy of Pediatrics .

His expertise will help answer the following questions regarding the Anti-Smacking Parental Correction debate:

1. what is the sound scientific evidence on the benefits / harms of smacking?

2. how does appropriate smacking compare with other forms of parental correction in terms of short-term and long-term outcomes?

3. do smacking bans reduce child abuse according to international experience?

You can find out more about Dr. Larzelere and his visit to New Zealand by clicking here

Summary of Timaru Riding Crop cases

this from
17 April 2007

Things around the Section 59 debate are getting very heated, very confused, somewhat scary and way off topic.

The pro-repeal side have taken the lady from Timaru wielding the horse crop as their "poster girl" to advertise why parents should be legally forbidden to use a Section 59 defense, or any defense, to correct their children using reasonable force, regardless of how light it might be: because, they claim, it too easily leads to horrendous acts of violence and abuse against children that are subsequently "let off" by the courts when the parents and their clever lawyers bring up Section 59 and plead something along the lines that parents have a right to discipline their own children.

This kind of explanation is clearly a mix of truth and error.

First, the pro-repeal lobby (Bradford and her mates) only ever look at the actions of the parents toward the child: in this case, the mum gave the boy six of the best with an 18 inch bamboo pot-plant stake and later two or three strokes with the riding crop. They do not look at the wider context of family history, events leading to the corrective action, the results, etc. (The jury did…that's why she was acquitted so quickly.) We all would be horrified to hear of a parent striking a child in this way FOR NO REASON. So Bradford and Kiro and Clark and Edridge et al all play on this and always completely ignore the context of the disciplinary actions. One must suppose that to them, whatever the child has done can in no way justify a disciplinary smack, not ever, not for any reason, no matter how light the smack, no matter how horrible and damaging the child's actions, no matter how reasonable the force used. This is precisely the tact taken by the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child in a comment on this issue they published in June last year (see This is a modern philosophy that has very little support or currency among parents anywhere in the world. That is certainly what Labour and the Greens are finding out here: 85% of Kiwis do not agree with a ban on smacking children for corrective purposes as part of the parenting tool kit.

Second, if the Swedish experiment is any indication as to why this philosophy is pushed so vehemently by virtually ALL government departments and virtually ALL so-called child and family welfare groups (virtually ALL of whom are also heavily funded by the state), it is because this philosophy CAUSES family dysfunction. As family dysfunction increases, so does social dysfunction. A chorus goes up, "Why doesn't somebody DO something?" Up step the state agencies and those groups funded by the state: social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, lawyers plus all their secretaries and office staff have vested interests in seeing the dysfunction continue and increase, for it means more money for them. Such bureaucracies ALWAYS tend to grow, for their focus very quickly becomes one of self-preservation rather than working themselves out of a job by finding permanent solutions to the social problems they were supposedly set up to solve.

Third, Bradford and her mates are strongly implying that they think the juries in such trials, 12 of their peers, are thick as bricks or somehow otherwise intellectually deficient and unable to tell the difference between "reasonable force to correct" and "abuse". Or they are simply saying they don't like the decision made by the juries. These things are implied, but what Bradford and co are really trying to do is impose their own philosophy on everyone else by saying that juries should not have to decide such things, that the law should always clearly rule any use of force, regardless of how light or reasonable, outside the law if that force is used for the purpose of correction. What Bradford has never told us is why she so hates the perfectly natural idea, one practised for thousands of years, of parents correcting their children.

Fourth, the one group solidly against this bill is parents. Contrary to what Bradford and Kiro claim, parents are not clamouring for the "right" to beat their children…how ridiculous can you get, Bradford. Parents are proclaiming that they have natural duties and responsibilities toward their children and resent the state - especially a radically feminist and childless Prime Minister and an even more radically feminist Sue Bradford of the highly dysfunctional lifestyle track record - parents resent the state and thoroughly unqualified people like Clark and Bradford interposing themselves between parents and their children claiming they have to protect the child's rights from being denied and trampled on by the parents.

This denigration and bullying of parents by the state has to stop. Only parents will ever love and be as committed to their children as they routinely are…certainly Clark and Bradford and state social workers have little to offer children in the areas of love and commitment. Parents also have most to lose by this legislation: their own children, their own family harmony and peace, their own authority within their own families and over their own children to correct, train and discipline using any degree of reasonable force. This Bill is clear evidence of the state claiming for itself the posterity of us all, our children, and wanting the best shot at determining the future by indoctrinating our children in its schools and allowing only its agents (police and social workers), not the parents, to force them to behave in certain ways approved by the state.

Read the rest of the article here

CIR Petition past half way

Monday, 16 April 2007, 4:27 pm
Press Release: Larry Baldock and Sheryl Savill

CIR Petition coordinator Larry Baldock announced today that the petition
to force a referendum on the Sue Bradford's Anti-Smacking Bill had
passed the halfway point towards the required target of 300,000

As of today, 150,745 signatures had been received on Sheryl Savill's
Citizens Initiated Referendum on the question, "should a smack as part
of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?

The law allows twelve months to collect the required 300,000 signatures.

"To have arrived at the halfway mark after only six weeks must make this
the fastest petition gathering exercise in the history of the CIR Act,
and needless to say all of us involved are very encouraged by the
support we have received from all over the country," he said.

"While the supporters of Sue Bradord's HOME INVASION, ANTI CORRECTION,
ANTI-SMACKING Bill continue to argue about the accuracy of all the polls
that have been conducted that show an overwhelming majority of
opposition to her bill, we can confidently say we are going to be able
to require a referendum to be held at the next election. There will be
no disputing that result and politicians would be unwise to continue to
ignore the voice of those who elected them into parliament," said Mr

Ron Law: Section 59 for Dummies

this from
Ron Law - Friday, 13 April 2007, 10:09 am

A Critique of Sue Bradford's So-called 'Anti-Smacking' Bill

Contrary to popular belief, Sue Bradford's so-called 'anti-smacking' Bill has already been defeated by the parliamentary process.

Having been the recipient of numerous "anti 'anti smacking'" or "anti 'pro beat your kids'" emails I thought it prudent, as a risk & policy analyst, to look at what all the fuss was about so I could make an informed decision myself.

My first port of call was to the Parliament website to look at the Bill being debated and in Hansard, the transcripts of the debates. What I discovered surprised me and is quite odds with what is being debated in public through the media. On Campbell Live on Monday 2nd April, for example, the nation was told that the Bill before parliament was simply about the repeal of section 59 from the Crimes Act; but is it?

Section 59, one of forty-five defenses in the Crimes Act, is about domestic discipline and states;

s59 Domestic discipline
(1) Every parent of a child and, subject to subsection (3) of this section, every person in the place of the parent of a child is justified in using force by way of correction towards the child, if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances.

(2) The reasonableness of the force used is a question of fact.

(3) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section justifies the use of force towards a child in contravention of section 139A of the Education Act 1989.

Bradford's short private member's Bill simply proposed the abolishing of the above section 59. The "Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill" passed its first reading in Parliament in 2005 and was referred to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee where over 1,700 submissions were received and in response the Bill was totally rewritten.

So what was changed in the Bill referred back to Parliament and now supposedly the subject of intense public debate? Well, actually, nearly everything; the beginning bit, the end bit, and most of the meat or tofu in the sandwich. The public appears to be debating the old version of the Bill that has already been rejected by parliament.

The Bill before parliament now will make it illegal for parents to smack (or use other reasonable force in the circumstances) in order to discipline or correct their child, but it will permit parents to smack their child for a variety of other reasons. So the Bill being debated is not anti-smacking at all... it doesn't even shift the goal posts, it just turns the goal posts around! It replaces one excuse for smacking with another....

Read the rest of the article here

Muriel Newman on S59


New Zealand is being conned over the so-called anti-smacking bill.

Touted as being the way to prevent child abuse, this bill is part of an international movement designed to undermine parental authority and increase state control over children. While a dozen or so countries have succumbed to the pressure of the anti-smacking lobby and the United Nations, the overwhelming majority have not (see "Smacking Laws in other Countries" BBC News Online>>>).

The promoters of the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill want to remove section 59 of the Crimes Act, so that parents who discipline their children using "reasonable" force will no longer be protected from the charge of assault. They claim this is necessary because section 59 is being used as a shield to protect child abusers. Yet since 1990 there have only been seven successful defenses using section 59!

The public can recognize a con job when they see one. That is why they are fighting back with email campaigns, newspaper advertisements, marches, meetings, petitions and debates. It is this organised opposition that is threatening Labour to such an extent that they are now plotting to undermine the democratic process by calling the House into urgency. If they succeed, the bill will be fast-tracked through Parliament with the rest of the committee stages and the final third reading all held this week.

At the centre of the controversy over the bill is the Prime Minister. She reassured the country before the last election that she would not support a smacking ban: "As you know I do not support a ban on smacking. I am opposed to that because I think it defies human nature. No one wants to see a stressed and harassed parent who in exasperation lightly smacks a child dragged before the court." (see >>> )

The Minister of Justice at the time, Phil Goff agreed saying that while he supported the bill going to a select committee, he did not want to make criminals out of parents (click here to read the Herald article >>>).

When the bill was first introduced into Parliament, Labour MPs were asked to support it to a select committee on the understanding they would be given a conscience vote for the subsequent stages. However, when Philip Field resigned and Labour needed the Green Party's support to stay in power, all of that changed and the Prime Minister now expects all Labour MPs to vote with the party.

But in a Parliamentary democracy they don't have to do that. MPs have sovereign rights and history is rich with stories of brave MPs who cross the floor over important matters putting the best interests of their constituents and the country ahead of party politics.

When the anti-smacking debate started, the government funded a Canadian anti-smacking advocate Dr Joan Durrant to visit New Zealand to promote her controversial view that Sweden's smacking ban – introduced in 1979 - had reduced child abuse to "virtually zero". It is a view that had been discredited a few years ago by other researchers (see Herald >>>)...

Read the rest of the article here

Monday, April 16, 2007

Ruby Harrold-Claesson on S59: MUST READ

read the full article on
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.

Ruby Harrold-Claesson,
president of the Nordic Committee for Human Rights
Gothenburg, Sweden.

Letter to the Editor

In response to the "150,000 signatures on smacking referendum petition" article;

Dear Sir,

150,000 Citizens of New Zealand have officially expressed their opposition to Bradford's proposed repeal to Section 59 of the Crimes Act.

Does this mean nothing to our Government?
The people of New Zealand are not fooled.  Repeal will criminalise parents who lightly smack their children.  MPs who state otherwise are not telling the truth, because the bill does explicitly say that smacking for the purpose of correction will be an offense.

The bill should be dropped.  At the least, it should come to an immediate binding referendum - due to the outcry from the majority of the people of New Zealand.

Yours Sincerely,
Andy Moore.

150,000 signatures on smacking referendum petition

this from
NZPA | Monday, 16 April 2007

A petition for a referendum on proposals to change the law around smacking has reached the half-way mark.

Sheryl Savill's Citizens Initiated Referendum petition asks if smacking a child as part of good parental correction should be made a criminal offence.

Petition coordinator former United Future MP Larry Baldock said 150,745 people of the required 300,000 needed to force a referendum had signed.

Green Party MP Sue Bradford has a bill before Parliament which changes the Crimes Act and removes the statutory defence of "reasonable force" against assault on a child.

Opponents say it will turn parents into criminals if they even lightly smack their children.

Ms Bradford and her supporters argue that smacking has been illegal for more than 100 years, and removing the defence means people will not get away with savagely beating children.

Petitioners have one year from when they start to gather signatures.

"To have arrived at the halfway mark after only six weeks must make this the fastest petition-gathering exercise in the history of the CIR Act, and, needless to say, all of us involved are very encouraged by the support we have received from all over the country," Mr Baldock said.

Making it Personal

Barnardos Put Politics before Children

this article from http://nzconservative.blogspot .com

Barnardos seem to be putting politics rather than children first, as they quickly capitalize on the recent headlines created by the infamous "Riding Crop" case to push their agenda. The "new" case hasn't even been judged yet, but as usual, judgment is quickly passed by organisations that should know better.

But since we are asked to "pause and reflect" by Murray Edridge, Chief Executive of Barnardos New Zealand, I will.

Murray muses: "Perhaps the latest incident would have been avoided if the community, through the court, had told the family that the use of physical force in child discipline was unambiguously wrong."

Well, perhaps the latest incident could have been avoided if CYFS had not removed her younger son against his will from his mother and sister, and kept him away from the family for two years now since the mother was acquitted. Does Murray see any correlation between being found "not guilty" and the psychological damage that follows when the state removes her child anyway?

But let's wait until the court case is complete and the full facts of the matter come out, before we let the vultures in for the kill. Nice one Murray Edridge.

Related Link: Barnardos Swoop for the Kill

Think Again: Family Violence

from Maxim Insitute
John Fox - 5 April 07
Printed in Joy Magazine, April 2007

The campaign against 59 of the Crimes Act, otherwise known as the "anti-smacking Bill", arouses strong feelings. Those who support the Bill draw attention to New Zealand's violent culture, and our damningly high rates of child abuse. It is natural to feel that something ought to be done, even if it is just a gesture; a step in the right direction to prevent tragedies like the Kahui twins occurring and to tackle our culture of violence. We should, we must, do that. But this Bill will not achieve it.

Ms Bradford and the Prime Minister chime together that the Police will use their discretion and leave good parents and families alone, however, the Bill will still put good loving parents on the wrong side of the law and leave them open to investigations and prosecution. In the process it will undermine parents' authority over their children.

Child abuse is already illegal. We have laws which punish family violence already. This Bill would criminalise "reasonable" corrective force such as the light smacking used by thousands of Kiwi parents as a disciplinary technique. The best research available, Dr Jane Millichamp's, suggests that such light smacking (differentiated from beating, or hitting, or child abuse, which is illegal), is not harmful to children, and most Kiwi parents would agree.

The common argument the supporters of the Bill are mustering, is that the Bill will "send a message" that violence against children is unacceptable. But that message is already sent by laws against abuse.

If criminal law "sends a message", it is about the kind of behaviour we as a society find wrong, unacceptable, and criminal. Things like murder, rape, and child abuse come into that category. By passing the Bill, we would be putting light smacking into the same category, something to be prosecuted in a Court.

Our politicians are right to be concerned about family violence, but they should not be passing a law that they do not want the Police to enforce simply to "send a message". There are speeches and soap-boxes and press releases and TV cameras for that. Law is for crime, and for behaviour that is harmful and criminal and should be prosecuted.

Further, the Bill would do nothing to address the root causes of child abuse and family violence. UNICEF has said what some of the risk factors for abuse are: family breakdown, alcohol, drugs, poverty, low education and so on. The Bill does not tackle these risk factors for family violence.

The State and the Police should certainly intervene when there is crime or severe dysfunction, domestic violence and child abuse. There are decisions under the current law that we don't all agree with, and they show the need to improve and tighten the situations where parents can use discipline, but banning all reasonable correction goes too far and good parents should be left alone.

We are all attracted by a vision of the kind of society we can be; a country without violence, where children are safe. But after we have all agreed on the destination, it comes time to chart the path to take us there. Our MPs could have begun a deeper look at why our society is violent, why families and lives are broken, and the risk factors for family violence. Instead, they are choosing to make thousands of parents into criminals and license interference in good families. That is a wrong turn, the wrong path, and the wrong way.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Timaru mother: "I have never beaten my children"

this article from Saturday's Press

"The Timaru mother acquitted of assaulting her son with a cane and a riding crop – and now facing a new trial for allegedly assaulting another son – says parents should be free to use implements to deliver a "short and sharp" shock to their children.

In an internet video, the mother defended her use of physical discipline and railed against proposed child-discipline legislation.

"I have never, ever beaten any of my children," she said in the 10-minute clip, posted to YouTube. com on Wednesday.

"I've disciplined them appropriately when they've needed it. As a last resort, I've used physical discipline; not a first resort."

The mother has name suppression and her face is pixellated in the video to prevent identification.

She and her husband appeared in the Timaru District Court on Thursday and were remanded on bail for a trial date to be set.

The woman's teenage son told the court he was hog-tied and kicked by his stepfather and punched by the pair during a journey together in January.

The stepfather pleaded guilty to two charges of assault and not guilty to one charge of assault with intent to injure. The woman pleaded not guilty to three charges of assault and one of assault with intent to injure.

Her earlier acquittal was cited as justification for Green Party MP Sue Bradford's bill to repeal section 59 of the Crimes Act, which allows parents to use reasonable force against their children.

The mother said yesterday that Prime Minister Helen Clark and Bradford had "deliberately lied about the facts of our case and manipulated the truth to fit into their own political agenda".

In the video, she called on parents to oppose the bill. "If section 59 is removed, parents in New Zealand need to be very, very afraid – not just of disciplining their children, but of CYF (Child, Youth and Family) intervention ... CYF will take your children.

"Even putting your hands on your child to take him to time-out will constitute assault. You will be charged and you will face losing your children through CYF.

"Even though I've been acquitted, CYF still say I'm a violent abuser... They paint me as being an angry woman who beat her child.

"I wasn't angry. I didn't beat him. The discipline was completely controlled."

In the video, she displays the riding crop and the cane she used on her son. She said the discipline "radically changed" his behaviour for the better.

The mother said yesterday it was "very appropriate" for parents to mete out discipline with implements, provided it was reasonable and controlled.

"The sting from a cane or crop is short and sharp, but not injurious. The sting only lasts 30 seconds but is memorable and effective," she said.

The man who filmed and posted the woman's video, Renton Maclachlan, of Wellington, said she had been unjustly treated.

He saw her story as part of the bigger cause and had posted several other videos on YouTube dealing with the child-discipline debate.

Child welfare group Barnardos said the fact the woman was back in court showed the need for a law change to reduce child abuse.

"When the 2005 Timaru jury acquitted that mother they gave her and her partner a false message concerning physical punishment of children," chief executive Murray Edridge said.

"Now the consequence of that earlier vindication is all too apparent.

"Perhaps the latest incident would have been avoided if the community, through the court, had told the family that the use of physical force in child discipline was unambiguously wrong."

The child-discipline bill will have its third and final reading when Parliament resumes in a fortnight."

Murray Edridge says: "Now the consequence of that earlier vindication is all too apparent." - groundlessly.  The two situations are entirely different.  The first case was concerning the mother smacking her son with a short cane, and then later with a riding crop.  The son said afterwards that the riding crop hurt less than the cane.  The second case has nothing to do with the first case.