Monday, March 19, 2007

Wellington peaceful protest march details


Against Anti Smacking Bill


Then do something about it BEFORE it's too late!

Join us in a PEACEFUL protest

Wednesday 28th March 2007

Beginning at Civic Square at 12pm then

advancing to Parliament

*This march will be peaceful, and children will be present. If anyone turns violent, we will be helping the police cart you off to jail.


For more information, see or e-mail

Mitch Lees
Phone: 027 243 1676


Anonymous said...

Despite the vitriolic opposition from those claiming the "right" to discipline their children with violence, Sue Bradford's amendment to Section 59 of the Crimes Act looks set to pass.

Future New Zealand will thank Bradford, along with the Maori Party, whose MPs had the sense to realise the negative message their not supporting the bill would deliver to constituents - Maori are over-represented in domestic violence statistics.

Since 1999, when I wrote a feature on the death of 4-year-old James Whakaruru, I have advocated repealing Section 59. Research involved interviewing James' whanau, where smacks were every-day - nay, every-hour - "discipline" for their kids. Mum's busy; smack over the head. Dad's hungover; smack around the ear. Stop grizzling; smack around the bum. Smack, smack, smack. That's often the only touching many New Zealand children receive from those they look to for love and affection.

The only way to change these people's attitudes is to change the law, and anyone who doesn't agree should be consistent and oppose laws against speeding, seatbelt wearing, smoking.

Beatings, such as the one which killed James, started with smacks.

But when I went to Parliament I didn't have the guts to defy my political party. To my shame, I shut up and toed the party line.

My argument is simply this: when cases of assault come before a judge, children should be entitled to the same protection as adults. If an adult hits another adult, he/she can't use "reasonable force" to justify the action. Allowing adults to use this defence when they hit children reduces the status of children - they're lesser beings.

Now the Act party argues that good caring parents will be criminals for administering a loving smack. In what way is a smack loving? Isn't that what abusive husbands tell their wives, and why abused wives stay? He did it because he loves me? And why doesn't Act advocate the abolition of speed limits because good drivers are turned into criminals every time they do 53 or 105km/h?

It's poppycock to say police will be forced to prosecute every parent who lightly smacks a child. Why wasn't Tana Umaga charged for whacking Chris Masoe with a handbag? Because our police force have got more sense than our politicians have.

Bradford's bill won't stop child abuse, say some detractors. That's a feeble line mouthed by critics scared of being labelled PC, and refusing to acknowledge how anti-smoking legislation has reduced, not eliminated, smoking. I disagreed with anti-smoking laws but far fewer people now smoke and that's a good thing.

Sadly, it will take many years before attitudes towards violence are changed. That was driven home to me when I saw what National MP Chester Borrows' amendment would allow: smacking kids for wetting the bed, hitting a sibling, breaking an ornament, running on to the road. I can't believe adults would smack children for this. My God, if parents still believe they can cure bedwetting with smacks, we have a problem.

And when are we going to stop confusing education with discipline? If a child runs on to the road, it's because of ignorance - he or she hasn't grasped the concept that cars can kill. Aren't parents responsible for keeping a firm hold on little hands, or gates shut, so littlies are guarded from danger? And if we fail to do that, should we take it out on the children with a smack?

Some years ago, marriage used to be a defence against rape. I wonder what today's politicians would say if we were changing that law today? Amendments defining the type of force husbands could use? Maybe when the wife deliberately refused him his conjugal rights? If she hit him? If she dented his car?

A stupid comparison you say? Tell that to those who argue the Government shouldn't regulate what happens in the home. If persons in the home are being hurt then the state must step in to protect them.

Yes, parenting is hard, but don't have kids if you don't view them as future adults entrusted to your care for a wee short time.

Sharples is right - a hit is a hit. Smacks are wrong. Helen Clark and Peter Dunne are incredibly fortunate they can't remember being smacked. Like Pita Sharples, I remember being bashed. Unlike Sharples, I smacked my kids - not hard - but I shouldn't have. I don't feel guilty but it didn't work and I should have been stopped. I wish we'd changed the law, and thus our attitude to domestic violence, decades ago. Hopefully in May when MPs finally vote, we'll make a start.

Deborah Coddington

Andy said...


The "discipline" that James Whakaruru recieved from his parents was actually abuse. However, this is just one case, and does not represent the many many functional families in which smacking is employed as one form of discipline.

Smacking is not simply hitting your child in frustration. Smacking is not hitting your child on the head, or on any parts of the child's body, apart from his bottom and hand.

Your example of two adults in court, one being accused of hitting the other - is irrelevant. The relationship between a parent and his/her child is quite different.

The difference between an adult being beaten up on the street, and a child being smacked by his parent is simply this:

One was done in anger, the other in love.

Deborah, why should a parent be responsible to pull their child back from the road to keep them from being run over? If they are to be criminalised for using force in correction, then why don't we criminalise them for using force in any aspect of parenting?

We're ok with our kids playing rugby, and getting bashed around. We clench our teeth and feel sorry for them as they get their hepatitis immunisation. Dad has the odd play-fight with his sons...

But smack them? Oh no!

Neither Chester Borrows, nor I, nor my fellow "anti-repealists" would smack our child for wetting the bed or accidentally breaking an ornament. However, I believe that some of us would smack them if they hit a sibbling or ran out onto the road when they knew it was wrong.

Get your perspective right, Deborah.

The parents themselves are responsible for how they raise their children.

I was smacked until I was about seventeen. And you guessed it, I am emotionally insecure, violent, a misfit of society, and constantly hitting my parents and sibblings.

Well, no I'm not. I'm better off for having been smacked.

Jonathan said...


It's a shame that you need to revert to name calling. Your comment was very extensive and well writen, you didn't need to lower yourself to using left wing name calling tactics.

You are wrong however.

It's ALREADY illegal to abuse children.

Section 59 is so rarely used as a defense, it's used a little over once a year. and of those cases around 50% the parent are convicted of abuse anyway. Section 59 is working!

There's no mandate for this bill... You can't deny that around %80 of New Zealanders don't want this bill... and the fact that Labour are not being given the freedom to vote with their concience goes to show that this is a politically motivated bill.

If Sue Bradford really cared about children being abused she would be fighting tooth and nail to change her party's policies on Drugs and Alcohol. The link between Drug and Alcohol abuse and child abuse is real. The Link between a corrective smack on the bottom done as a last resort out of love for the childs understanding of concequences and future standing in society and child abuse is very far fetched.

Anonymous said...

That wasn't Deborah, I was just quoting from her column.