Friday, April 27, 2007

No smack compromise for Key and Bradford

this from
NZPA | Wednesday, 25 April 2007

National Party leader John Key and the Green's Sue Bradford have failed to agree on a compromise over her controversial bill to change the law on smacking. They met for an hour in Parliament today for talks Ms Bradford described as "genuine and friendly" but did not find a way to overcome National's strong opposition to the bill. The bill's future did not depend on the meeting because there are 63 votes behind it, enough for it to be passed into law, but it has divided Parliament and is causing bitter debates. The bill removes from the Crimes Act the statutory defence that allows "reasonable force" to be used to correct children. Opponents, including National, say that means even the lightest smack would be a criminal offence. Supporters say smacking has been illegal for more than 100 years and the defence is allowing people to get away with savagely beating children. Ms Bradford said Mr Key proposed an amendment to the bill at their meeting which would insert a clause stating parents were justified in lightly smacking a child, if the smacking was minor and inconsequential.

It is similar to an amendment already proposed by National MP Chester Borrows, although the wording is different. Ms Bradford said it was not acceptable, because it would legitimise violence against a child. Mr Key initiated today's meeting and Ms Bradford said she believed he had made a genuine attempt to cut through the problems National has with the bill. "I think Mr Key does want to reduce the level of violence against children. . .I think he tried really hard to come up with something," she said. Mr Key was due to hold a press conference later today. A spokesman said the meeting had been cordial "but there was no outcome".

No comments: