Saturday, May 03, 2008

Anti-Smacking Law, One Year On

One year ago, on 2 May 2008, Sue Bradford's Anti-Smacking Bill passed it's third reading. The bill had the numbers to pass, however the entire National party turned 180 degrees and all National MPs were forced to vote in favour of the bill.

Just hours before, John Key and Helen Clark had come to an agreement for a "compromise" on the bill. ACT Party leader, Rodney Hide had this to say, on 3 May:

"I arrived back in the country jetlagged and flew onto Wellington to learn that an historic peace had broken out with Helen Clark and John Key agreeing to a compromise on the smacking bill. Good on John Key I thought. He's taken the high ground and made a difference. That's what I thought. Until I saw the amendment. It makes no difference. Of course, the police have the discretion whether to prosecute. If anyone knows that, it's Helen Clark!! This
amendment just confirms it and then adds the confusing terms "inconsequential" and "public interest". - Rodney Hide: "Ammendment makes no difference"

The ammendment was the new subsection 4 of Section 59 of the Crimes Act, 1961, and reads:

(4) To avoid doubt it is affirmed that police have the discretion not to prosecute complaints against parents of any child, or those standing in place of any child, in relation to an offence involving the use of force against a child where the offence is considered to be so inconsequential

However, the ridiculous thing is that this "inconsequential" clause was already a part of the law in New Zealand, and applies to all cases where police are considering prosecution.
Sue Bradford's bill to repeal Section 59 of the Crimes act
Criminalises parents who elect to lightly smack their child(ren) occasionally.

...Everyday mums and dads.

The bill for repeal passes with

113 votes for. 93% of the members of Parliament. 17% to 32% of New Zealanders
Labour, National, Maori, Greens, Progressive, Peter Dunne (United Future), 4 members of NZ First

votes against. 7% of the members of
Parliament. 68% to 83% of New Zealanders
ACT, Gordon Copeland (ex United Future), Taito Philip Field (ex Labour), 3 NZ First, Judy Turner (United Future)

And on 21 May 2008, the Governor General abandoned his duty of protecting New Zealand citizens from bad law that had managed to get through the parliamentary process - and gave consent to the bill becoming law.

On Thursday 21 June 2007, the law came into effect.

New Zealand has not forgotten this dark moment in her history. This will make itself evident at the 2008 election.

Give your party vote to The Kiwi Party, or ACT, as these are the two parties who care enough about the voice of the people of New Zealand, to bring about a change in this draconian home-invasion law.


Anonymous said...

"Give your party vote to The Kiwi Party, or ACT".

So you are saying waste your votes on the kiwi party which isn't going to get into parliament?

Why not vote national? The only circumstance under which you should be saying this on this blog is when national refuses to abide by the referendum.

Another question, Do you want a change of Government or a lot of people wasting there vote like they did in 1996?

Andy said...

"So you are saying waste your votes on the kiwi party which isn't going to get into parliament?"...

says who.

"when national refuses to abide by the referendum."

They've as good as done that.

Where's the principle?

Chuck Bird said...

No vote is a wasted vote. ACT may oppose the anti smacking legislation. However, ACT in general supports a lot of very liberal legislation. They voted against an amendment on the civil union bill that would require a referendum before the legislation became law.

If National fails to achieve an absolute majority due to some votes going to the Kiwi Party it will be Nationals fault for ignoring the majority on this important issue.

I would probably still be an ACT member if it were not for the very strong and intolerant libertarian faction in the ACT Party. I think there would be many others in my position. I have met many libertarians. Like the Left they only support referendums if they think they will win.

Andy said...

well said Chuck.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it Larry Baldock who said on close up when he was trumpeting that he had got the numbers that he thought the referendum on reducing the seats back in 1999 was knee jerk reaction?

So even your beloved kiwi party still only believes in Referendums when they want too.

Andy said...

Referendums must not be used to determine all laws.

Anonymous said...

Larry Baldock supports a referendum on MMP and a referendum on any issue that the New Zealand public feels is important enough to get signatures on...I asked him last week when he was in Blenheim. The Kiwi Party is all about making the peoples vote count - even if it doesn't benefit the party, Nice to see some longer-than-their-3 year term thinking from the Kiwi Party.

Andy said...

Absolutely Al, good point.

Go The Kiwi Party!