Wednesday, December 09, 2009

It's ok to smack - PM

The Prime Minister John Key announced to the country yesterday that it is now ok to smack.

Let me quote his words from the NZ Herald.

"Lightly smacking a child will be in the course of parenting for some parents and I think that's acceptable. It is up to individual parents to decide how they're going to parent their children ... Some people will continue to lightly smack their child for correction, some will not. It is up to them to decide."

Did John Key consult cabinet? No
Did John Key pass a law through Parliament? No

So how can it be OK to smack for correction when the law says this??

"Nothing in subsection (1) or in any rule of common law justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction."

I'm sorry John, but you haven't changed the law, therefore the law overrides your opinion.

Whatever John Key says, it is still a criminal offense for parents to smack for the purpose of correction.

Saturday, December 05, 2009


The last post beginning, "I am so sorry I didn't inform you about my trip to the UK for a program..." appeared on the blog through a glitch in the system and has now been deleted. Apologies for any inconvenience.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dargaville Meeting on the Anti-Smacking Referendum

Peter in Dargaville was so incensed at the governments response to the last referendum that he organised his own community meeting. He invited John Boscawen, Larry Baldock and Bob McCoskrie to speak, as well as John Carter, his local MP.

After the meeting Peter wrote to John Carter below

Dear John

We had a very well attended meeting of 62 people at Dargaville last night and it is a shame that you could not be at the meeting yourself.

Although similar in its purpose and goal to the meetings organized by John Boscawen, this was not an ACT meeting, but a meeting organized by Northlanders and [...]

For the rest or the letter

John's response was

Thanks for the update Peter.
Cheers J C

Hardly a staisfactory response but better than I got from the Prime Minister in relation to the Hamilton meeting. I will post that soon.

Report this post

Friday, October 02, 2009

Leaked Referendum Night Speech - John Key

a reader sent in the following leaked speech from National Party headquarters...

I can't tell you how good it is to be here.

Ladies and gentlemen – today New Zealand has spoken. In their hundreds of thousands across the country they have voted for change.

And I can tell you there will be a Change of the Anti-Smacking law!

So let me start by thanking every New Zealander who has cast their No vote today. Thank you for your support and thank you for your trust.

Because some of you fought the anti-smacking law for 4 long years. And tonight your patience has been rewarded. For others, you have heard the message that the anti-smacking law needs changing and have come to support a No vote.

So, to all of you, I simply say thank you.

Today across the country, New Zealanders have voted for a law which does not criminalise smacking. They voted for change, they voted for action, and they voted for results. They voted for stronger families and less child abuse.

In my first speech against the anti-smacking law, I talked about when I was a boy living in a state house, riding my bike past the homes of kids more fortunate than me.

What inspired me then, and still inspires me today, is a belief within ourselves that the government should not be putting its nose into good families.

And as it is for individuals so it is for our country – because New Zealand has so much more potential.

This is not as good as gets.

So yes, we face challenges with child abuse. But we will rise to them, because as a country we have tremendous advantages.

Our heritage of solid families, our great parents, and maybe most of all the incredible Kiwi ingenuity.

Because of these advantages we as a country can rise to the challenge of child abuse and attack it effectively

Now, more than ever, New Zealand needs to be on top of its game.

What will determine success is the unity of purpose – a willingness to work together against child abuse while recognizing that our collective success rests on the success of individuals, and a willingness to use our smallness to our advantage, to be nimble, sure-footed and flexible.

We all bring our different perspectives, and we all have our political debates. And that is as it should be.

But now is a time for working together. Because we need everybody pulling in the same direction to stop child abuse. If we do that, if we work hard, if we remain determined, we will make New Zealand as safe and prosperous for our children and families as we can

So let me say this: whether you voted yes or No tonight you have my pledge.

I will lead a royal commission against child abuse in the interests of all New Zealanders. And it will be a commission that values individual achievement and it will be a team that supports those who cannot support themselves. And it will be a review we can all be part of.

Tonight I want to thank Sue Bradford.

A little earlier this evening I spoke to her and she was most gracious with her comments.

So it's fair to say that Sue and I have different views about what policies are best for tackiling New Zealand’s child abuse terrific levels. But we share a love of this country. And I have always admired her dedication to her job, her ferocious work ethic, and her desire to make New Zealand a better country for our children.

As member of parliament she has always ensured our small voice was loudly heard on the international stage against child abuse. So on behalf of you all, I say thank you.

Ladies and gentleman, earlier this evening I spoke to ACT Leader Rodney Hide and United Future Leader Peter Dunne. I rang to ask their support for a change of law.

And while the details of a law change are yet to be resolved I can confirm their willingness to lend support to establishing a new law which doesn’t criminalise good parents for smacking.

I also spoke to Maori Party Leader Tariana Turia, and I expressed my willingness to engage in dialogue with her and her party next week to see how we can tackle child abuse. .

So to you, the country officials, the members, and the volunteers who have worked so tirelessly in every single electorate around the country to get a NO vote, I say thank you very much. We owe it to you.

But there are some very special people I want to thank.

And the first of them is our petition organizer, Larry Baldock. And the second of them is a lady from south Auckland – Sheyrl savill. She's a mum who stood up for good parents and paved the way for this law change. And I want to thank the man who ran the campaign, who rang me every morning at 6 o'clock, who was up at 4.30 in morning, who read every newspaper from cover to cover – Bob McCoskrie. You ran a great campaign, mate.

And I want to say to my caucus – Thankyou. Your dedication means we can change this law in the interests of all New Zealanders.

And to all that helped the campaign– thank you very much.

And haven't we had some great results.

Auckland Central 70% said NO. What a cracker. New Plymouth. Otaki – Both over the 87% average saying NO. Rotorua – 92%. Taupo – 92.5%. West Coast-Tasman said No 88%. Hamilton West 90%. Maungakiekie 84%. Waitakere 87% – an amazing result.

You are tremendous.

There are some very special people I want to thank. When you run a campaign like this you meet thousands of people. Thankyou to you all.

And I want to thank my staff in Wellington. The demands on them have been unbelievable, the sacrifices have been incredible. They are an amazing group of individuals – You are the team which will get this law changed.

No, you don't need sleep. Not on a night like tonight, you don't need sleep.

And I want to thank my sisters, Sue and Liz, and all of my family who have been so great in campaigning against the law.

Most of all I want to thank the most important people in my life. And that is Bronagh and Stephie and Max. But I've got a bit of bad news, guys. There is no smacks tonight - Sorry

I couldn't have done it without you.

Ok, maybe I'll reconsider the Smack.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is a privilege to be here tonight. You have made this possible. It will be a night I'm sure none of us will ever forget. Tonight is a night of celebration.

And tomorrow, tomorrow the hard work begins.

Have a great evening. Thank you very much indeed.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Boscawen Challenges Local MPs To Front
John Boscawen MP, ACT New Zealand


Do you think National and Labour should listen to you?

ACT MP John Boscawen has a Private Member’s Bill to amend the law so that it is clear that a light smack as part of good parental correction is no longer a criminal offence.

National and Labour have said they currently intend to vote against this bill.


Come to our next Public Meetings;

Tauranga - Monday 5 October 7.30pm, The Redwood Room,
Bureta Park Motor Inn Vale Street, Otumoetai, Tauranga

Hamilton - Thursday 8 October 7.30pm, Hamilton Central
Baptist Church, 33 Charlemont Street, Hamilton.

Speakers - John Boscawen, ACT MP, Bob McCoskrie, Family First,
Larry Baldock, Referendum Organiser.

John Boscawen will be inviting the local MP to each of the meetings
and Sue Bradford,Green MP.

Come along and learn about what you can do to help us change the law!


Or phone 09 531 5531

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Friday, September 04, 2009

Section 59 is a complete and utter dog’s breakfast

The Prime Minister has acknowledged that the current Section 59 is a complete and utter dog’s breakfast. He did so in an interview with Michael Laws on RadioLive at about 11:40 am on Friday, 4 September.

Mr Key might be good on financial matters but he has little idea how the law should work in a democracy. He will not be Prime Minister forever. Another government might tell the police to ignore his instructions and enforce the law as it is written.

John Boscawen bill is almost identical to an amendment he was very much in favour of. If there was a referendum on keeping the existing law or going back to the original Section 59 I am sure the majority would vote for a law change. There were a handful of doubtful verdicts which the jury may have got wrong over a period of about 15 years. The law did not need changing but that is now history. Act’s John Boscawen bill is a genuine compromise and certainly a lot better than a law that the Prime Minister describes as a complete and utter dog’s breakfast.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Yes We Can't!

I got sent this poem the other day which succinctly sums up S59 and the governments latest window dressing!

Yes We Can't

We have a law which says you can't

But we say why can't we

As parents do what we know best

In our democracy.

To smack a child is not assault

When c'rection he demands.

It's for his good we lay the hand;

A better law commands.

But Nanny says you must desist;

It's harmful to the child.

Just let him scream, and bite and hit;

Don't let yourself get wild.

Comes Nanny then to comfort Mum

"We know it's hard to stop.

The law will not be dealt to you.

We've told the local cop.

So then you can and then you can't;

A smack is no big deal.

Assault it is, but we won't look."

Mum's answer is: "Get real."

Friday, August 21, 2009

87.6% Vote NO

cross-posted from Star Studded Super Step

Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand? New Zealand says NO. While an average of polls taken since 2005 indicate a 82.9% level of opposition to the law, tonight's preliminary response blows those polls out of the water. It's official, 87.6% of Kiwis believe that there is a difference between a smack and child abuse. Preliminary results here. Family First is calling on the Government to immediately repeal the law: something Prime Minster John Key has already stated is all but inevitable.

Dave Crampton says,

more people 1,420,959 - voted No than those who party voted all parliamentary parties other than Labour in the 2008 election.

And Scrubone observes,

No wonder the “Yes Vote” were so bitchy about the victory party – they simply had no hope of having one themselves.

And high-profile blogger and pollster David Farrar comments,

1,622,150 votes cast which I think is a 54% response rate. That is higher than most local body elections and pretty good for a referendum not held with a general election... A massive victory for common sense.

Click here to download an Excel spreadsheet with detailed information of the response in each electorate. Prior to the results coming out, I was projecting a modest NO vote between 70% - 80%, however Simeon said he thought it would be 86%. Good on ya Simeon, and thanks for all your tireless work without which this referendum would never have come about.

Who is murdering the children?

The initial excuse for Bradford, Clark and Key’s anti-smacking legislation was the number of children killed or seriously abused.

It has now been acknowledged that this law will not reduce the number of children killed or seriously abused.

One would hope that the Ministry of Social Development would do some genuine research into the real causes of child abuse. I do not think it would be too much to expect them to have an open mind and identify honestly the environment where children are most at risk regardless who they offend.

I do not believe that this has been the case.

All international research shows that one of the most dangerous places for a child is with his or her mothers living with a man other than the child’s biological father and the safest place is with his or her biological parents married to each other.

The Sunday Star-Times published an article where the author was trying to make excuses for some mothers who murdered their children and then topped themselves. In the article, “Love and Death”, it claimed that. of the 91 children in New Zealand died at the hands of 101 perpetrators between 1991 and 2000 30% of the killers were fathers. The source of this figure is the government’s chief social worker, Marie Connolly.

After many phone calls and emails to Wellington I find that figure came from a study by Mike Doolan, former Chief Social Worker at CYF. The study, “Child death from maltreatment”, Doolan (2004) found that fathers (including stepfathers) were perpetrators in 54% of the deaths where a parent was the perpetrator. In other words the 30% figure supplied by CYS combined fathers and step-fathers. I am not sure how he defines step-father. Aside from finding this offensive as a father I am angry that in a

study meant to identify at risk environments for children and they did not bother to separate fathers and step-fathers as the child killers.

One can only speculate why this was done. If the ratio between fathers and mother’s boyfriends was similar to overseas who kill children not too many biological fathers would kill their children. This would show that children are far more likely to be killed by a divorced mother or her partner than biological father.

All this is seems to be getting a little off the topic of section 59. I will try to draw the connection. We have a government department charged with proposing policy that with protect children. They are also charged with helping enforce the new anti-smacking law.

The main architect of this draconian piece of legislation now admits that purpose of the law was not to prevent serious child abuse including child homicide. The opponents of this law are very concerned about child abuse. We also know the contributing factors through international research and just reading the newspapers. The usual perpetrator is the mother’s partner or boyfriend.

Indemnifying the problem is easier than finding the solution. However it is an important first step.

If Child, Youth and Family are serious about identifying children at risk regardless of who they might offend they would have separated fathers from step-fathers.

I have contacted the government’s chief social worker, Marie Connolly to get her to confirm or deny whether her claim that 30% of children murdered are killed by their biological fathers. I have not had the courtesy of an acknowledgment let alone an answer.

I will contact her again and if I still do not get an answer I will contact the Minster, Paula Bennett.

I will tell it is appalling that we have a government prepared to criminalise good parents but is not prepared to do honest research to find out who is killing and abusing the children of this country.

Why should parents be punished when in the majority of cases it is not parents murdering these children?

I think it is important that those of us opposed to this law show that we are very concerned at the high rate of serious child abuse.

Many of us know the major cause of child abuse is children raised in a house with their mother's boyfriend. This dishonest "research" appears to be covering up this fact.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wife Starving Law: If it Doesn't Work We Will Change It

cross-posted from Scrubone's blog.

This just in:
An Afghan bill allowing a husband to starve his wife if she refuses to have sex has been published in the official gazette and become law.
The original bill caused outrage earlier this year, forcing Afghan President Hamid Karzai to withdraw it.
But critics say the amended version of the law remains highly repressive.
They accuse Mr Karzai of selling out Afghan women for the sake of conservative Shia support at next week’s presidential election.
A referendum is being organised by citizens opposed to the law.
Karzai said today:
“I’ve always argued that if the law doesn’t work we will change it. If an overwhelming bulk of Afghans vote no then what that should do, I think, is give Parliament the strength of courage to change the law if it starts not working,” he told media.
Karzai said the Government had other priorities.
“We have a Parliament that has a certain number of sitting days, we have a law that at this point no one has starved a wife under, the country also needs to decide what do they want me and the Government focused on,” he told Breakfast on TV One.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Great Comments from the Vote No site

Steve Meikle (Christchurch)
The thinking behind Sue Bradford's bil is sloppy, lazy and utterly self righteous. She cant distinguish between smacking a child and beating it to death? It is liberalism gone haywire, which is a shame for I loathe the Right with passion, yet on this Bradford's madness has forced me to agree with them. Something I hate being put in a position of having to do... I definitely voted NO.

Conklin (Chch)
Good parents have nothing to fear, huh Judy. Who defines 'good'? 3 options, I reckon for the definition of the universal 'good'. Originally the word good, comes from God, but he advocates physical punishment many times in the Bible, so it can't be that one. Second would be the majority of society, but the majority of society (still 85%) thinks smacking is 'good', so it can't be society either. The third option is government, who in overruling God and the majority of society have installed their own version of 'good', so 'good' is whatever the government defines it to be, so lets get rid of that confusing word 'good' and substitute it the way it was meant. Rather than 'good parents have nothing to fear', it should be 'parents that act in a way that the government wants them to act, have nothing to fear'. Sounds a but like fascism to me.

Paul (Auckland)
I say NO to New Zealand's social engineering criminal Sue Bradford

Check out many more comments over at the Your Views page on the Vote No website.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Painfully Simple

Gotta love the Vote No campaign's latest full page advert that went out in major daily newspapers just recently...

Check out their excellent website: Leaves the yes vote blog thing for DEAD.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Obama Has Got it Right...

Why can't John Key get the idea?

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Why the Referendum Answer is No

For those who want to give John Key the message that you know how to parent your children better than he does Bob McCoskrie, National Director, Family First will be guest speaker at Rodney Hide’s Constituent Forum.

The details are below.

Rodney Hide Invites You To His Constituent Forum
Theme: The “anti smacking referendum”
Friday 24 July, 5.30pm
Mecca Café , Cnr Remuera Road and Nuffield Street, Newmarket
Special Guest speaker: Bob McCoskrie, National Director, Family First
The title of Bob’s speech is “Why the Referendum Answer is No”
Go to Bob’s website
Free Entry. Cash bar available. Everyone welcome
RSVP Further info Phone 09 524 6173

We are expecting a very good turnout so I would suggest ringing or preferably emailing Brian Nicolle so he can take down your name.

ACT is the only party that believes that parents not the state has primacy in the raising of children - within reason of course.

If Mr Key will not listen to the vast majority of good parents at the referendum he may listen to ACT after the general election.

If you cannot make it the forum, do not believe that Mr Key will take no notice of the results of the coming referendum. He will if enough people exercise their right to vote.

Monday, June 22, 2009


New Zealand will have its say in an upcoming referendum on the 'Anti-smacking' law.

The question that will be asked is "should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"

I ask you to vote NO for 2 reasons.

1, Good parents needs protecting. The law passed by Sue Bradford wasn't about stopping child abuse, it was about getting rid of parental authority in the home. Sue Bradford even said this herself.

2, we need to tackle the real causes of child abuse. What better way to sort out this terrible issue than to have a Royal commission which all New Zealanders can get behind and tackle this issue together.

The referendum question is not ambiguous. Yes it could have been written better, but so could anything. Lets get behind this referendum and lets wake the politicians up!

VOTE NO is the only way to do the above things. If you want to criminalise every good parent up and down this country go ahead and vote yes. It is your choice. But if you really care about good parents, the issue of child abuse and letting parents bring up there kids without government intervention then VOTE NO.


You can join the Facebook group by clicking here

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Genuine Abuse Ignored

Here is yet another case of CYF and the police failing to take action when a child is seriously abused.

Teacher's pleas for abused child ignored

4:00AM Sunday Jun 14, 2009

By Rachel Grunwell

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett wants answers after social workers took four months to remove a wheelchair-bound boy from his home following allegations he was was being beaten, burned with cigarettes and starved.

While the mother is facing charges of assault of the wheelchair-bound boy two of the boy’s siblings are still with the mother. CYF workers had commented "poor mum she's not coping". The police took seven months to take a formal statement from the teacher.

These are the same authorities who are meant to use discretion when investigation complaint about parents using reasonable force when physically disciplining their children.

The is not the first case of authorities failing to act appropriately is cases of serious abuse. If the anti-smacking fanatics were seriously concerned about child abuse they would be comment on this case. Would I be unreasonable in thinking there may be considerable sexism the way the law is applied in cases of child abuse? They certainly looked at the situation differently when a father was involved.

Mr Key the law is not working. If you genuinely care about child abuse as opposed to scoring political points with some so called compromise you will change your criteria for having the law amended. If the police and CYF workers are too busy to look at serious genuine child abuse they should not be wasting their time investigating trivial breaches of this anti-parental correction law.

The public have a right to know what excuse police and CYF workers have for not acting sooner.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Skewed View of Parenting from Yes Vote Campaign

The Yes Vote campaign has some advice for parents on their little blog...

Parenting tip: Nip anger in the bud... take steps to control your own rage.

rage: noun. Violent, explosive anger; A fit of anger.

Heck, how many parents do you know who rage with anger against their children? Whether they act on that rage is beside the point: what would cause parents to be filled with rage against their children in the first place? Surely a word such as frustration, dissapointment or annoyance would be more fitting?

Vote No Blog Launched

The Vote No blog has been launched...

A must-read if you want to stay up to date with news on the referendum.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

John Boscawen's Private Member's Bill

The following bill would add some clarity for parents. The poorly reported case of Jimmy Mason who was convicted for assault on a child does nothing to clarify matters. We do not know whether he was convicted for flicking his son’s ear which is technically assault or punching his son in the face.

Crimes (Reasonable Parental Control and Correction) Amendment Bill

Member’s Bill

Explanatory note

The purpose of this bill is to repeal and replace section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 so that: parents, and those in the place of parents, are no longer committing a criminal offence if they use reasonable force to correct their children’s behaviour; there are clear statutory limits on what constitutes reasonable force for correction; parents, and those in the place of parents, have certainty about what the law does and does not permit when they are controlling or correcting their children; and an explicit reliance on Police discretion is no longer used in an attempt to protect parents from the consequences of prohibiting the use of reasonable force for correction.

Parents have obligations to their children, including an obligation to teach them and provide guidance. Sometimes this requires parents to correct their children’s behaviour for the children’s own benefit, to help them grow into maturity. Article 5 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which New Zealand is a signatory, states that "States Parties shall respect the responsibilities, rights, and duties of parents … to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of the rights recognized in the present Convention."

In many cases, parental guidance and correction will be non-physical. However, in some cases a parent may reasonably decide that correcting their children’s behaviour requires some degree of physical action. In these cases, section 59 says that parents are committing the crime of assault. Section 59(2) says that "Nothing … justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction."

This ban applies to any physical contact by a parent where the intention is to correct their child’s behaviour. This includes, for example, lifting up an unwilling child to put them into their room for "time out" as well as giving a light "smack."

As a result, the law can prevent parents from parenting effectively. It is inconsistent with society’s standards for good parenting; opinion polls consistently reveal public agreement that parents should be able to use a mild degree of physical correction.

This bill will allow parents, and those in the place of parents, to use reasonable force to correct their children’s behaviour, while providing clear limits on what is reasonable. Force will be unreasonable if it causes injury that is "more than transitory and trifling," if it is "inflicted by any weapon, tool, or other implement," or if it is inflicted by "cruel or degrading" means. Courts are not limited from finding that other types or instances of force are unreasonable. The limitations on what is reasonable apply to corrective and non-corrective force.

However, there are circumstances where a parent may reasonably use force in a way that causes their child some harm to prevent a greater harm, for example by knocking them out of the path of an oncoming vehicle. So that the law does not rule this use of force unreasonable, this bill provides that the automatic prohibitions on force causing injury that is "more than transitory and trifling," or force that involves the use of a "weapon, tool, or other implement," will not apply where the person applying the force believes on reasonable grounds that it is necessary to prevent death or serious harm to the child or another person.

Section 59 is intended to provide children with greater protection against violence and abuse. However, reasonable physical correction is not violent or abusive. Allowing parents to use reasonable physical correction, with clear limits on what is reasonable written into the law, will protect children from harm while offering parents appropriate legal protection.

Although section 59 bans physical correction, it is often unclear to parents whether using reasonable force is permitted or whether it breaks the law. This is because section 59(1) allows parents to use reasonable force to prevent certain types of behaviour and to perform "the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting." However, the distinction between prevention and correction is unclear in many cases. Preventing particular actions will often amount to correcting them, especially when the action and the prevention are repeated. This bill will remove that confusion by adding correction to the list of permitted purposes.

Section 59(4) also creates confusion with its reference to Police discretion. According to Members of Parliament, the intention of this subsection is to provide a safeguard against the consequences of banning reasonable physical correction, so that parents will not be "subject automatically to investigation and police prosecution" if they give their child a light "smack" to correct their behaviour. This leaves parents unsure about what is, in practice, permitted, and what standard they will be held to.

Citizens have a right to know what the law requires and not to be subject to arbitrary enforcement. This is part of the principle of the rule of law. Section 59 is inconsistent with this principle. It represents a failure by Parliament to make clear law that gives its citizens certainty about how they may act.

In addition, section 59(4) refers only to the Police. It does not apply to any other agency, such as Child, Youth and Family. These agencies may apply the letter of the law in their interactions with parents. It also does not apply to any private citizen who initiates a prosecution against a parent who has used reasonable force for correction.

This bill will remove the reliance on Police discretion, which will not be necessary when reasonable correction is permitted.

Clause by clause analysis

Clause 1 is the title clause.

Clause 2 provides that the Crimes Act 1961 is referred to as "the principal Act."

Clause 3 provides for the bill to come into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

Clause 4 sets out the purpose of the bill.

Clause 5 repeals section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 and replaces it.

Clause 6 provides for consequential amendments to the Education Act 1989.


John Boscawen

Crimes (Reasonable Parental Control and Correction) Amendment Bill

Member’s Bill



Principal Act



Reasonable parental control and correction

Consequential amendments to Education Act 1989


The Parliament of New Zealand enacts as follows:

1 Title

This Act is the Crimes (Reasonable Parental Control and Correction) Amendment Act 2009.

2 Principal Act

In this Act, the Crimes Act 1961 is called "the principal Act."

3 Commencement

This Act comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

4 Purpose

The purpose of this Act is to amend the principal Act so that:

it is no longer a criminal offence for parents, and those in the place of parents, to use reasonable force for the purpose of correcting their children’s behaviour;

there are clear statutory limits on what constitutes reasonable force;

parents, and those in the place of parents, have certainty about what the law does and does not permit when they are controlling or correcting their children;

an explicit reliance on Police discretion is no longer used in an attempt to protect parents from the consequences of prohibiting the use of reasonable force for correction.

5 Reasonable parental control and correction

(1) Section 59 is repealed, and the following section substituted:

"59 Reasonable parental control and correction

"(1) Every parent of a child and, subject to subsection (4), every person acting in

place of a parent of a child is justified in using force if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances and is for the purpose of—

"(a) preventing or minimising harm to the child or another person; or

"(b) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in

conduct that is prohibited by an enactment creating a criminal

offence; or

"(c) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in

offensive or disruptive behaviour; or

"(d) performing tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting; or

"(e) correcting the behaviour of the child.

"(2) Without limiting the circumstances in which the use of force may be found to

be unreasonable, subject to subsection (3) the use of force is unreasonable


"(a) it causes the child to suffer injury that is more than transitory and trifling or materially contributes thereto; or

"(b) it is inflicted by any weapon, tool, or other implement; or

"(c) it is inflicted by any means that is cruel or degrading.

"(3) Subsections (2)(a) and (2)(b) shall not apply in circumstances where the

person applying the force believes on reasonable grounds that the use of force is necessary to prevent death or serious harm to the child or another person.

"(4) Nothing in this section justifies the use of force towards a child in

contravention of section 139A of the Education Act 1989."

6 Consequential amendments to Education Act 1989

(1) Section 139A(1) of the Education Act 1989 is amended by inserting the words ", unless that person is a guardian of the student or child".

(2) Section 139A(2) of the Education Act 1989 is amended by inserting the words ", unless that person is a guardian of the student or child".

Monday, May 04, 2009

ACT - Mt Albert by election

ACT is the only party in Parliament which opposes the anti parental correction legislation. Before the last election I knew ACT opposed this legislation. However, I was unsure what priority ACT would give to amending this anti family law. A short while ago John Boscawen made it clear ACT was serious about restoring parental rights with his private member’s bill.

If like the majority of voters who still oppose this law now is your chance to make a difference particularly if you live in the Auckland area. If you live in the Mt Albert electorate your vote for ACT will help send the message to the government that they ignore the wishes of the vast majority of parents at their peril.

If you live outside the electorate but are in greater Auckland you can still make a difference by volunteering to help ACT in their election campaign in Mt Albert. If you live outside greater Auckland a financial contribution would be most helpful and much appreciated.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sue Reid: Smacking laws were never about the real issue of child abuse

This in the NZ Herald today.

It is a shame that we have a Families Commission that is driven by ideology rather than listening to families.

Chief commissioner Jan Pryor espouses her beliefs that "positive parenting should never include a smack" (Herald, April 3).

Her so-called justification for the anti-smacking laws are inflammatory and continue to vilify good parents who may use a smack as part of good parental correction.

As a mother of two young children, I resent the constant barrage that fully funded, power-packed organisations such as the Families Commission can constantly deliver from their lofty soap-boxes.

One can be left wondering who represents mums like me who are focused on the task of raising good, law-abiding and positive contributors to society. Like many other mums, I know that I wish to parent within a sensible legal framework and we owe it to good parents to get this law right.

The new flawed law has tried to link a smack on the bottom with child abuse of the worst kind and has put good parents in the same category as rotten parents who are a danger to their kids and to society.

Not surprisingly, the child abuse rate has continued unabated, with 12 child abuse deaths in the 21 months since the law change - the same rate as before the change. The smacking laws were never about addressing the real issue of child abuse but to undermine and criminalise good parents.

Contrary to Pryor's comments, the new law did introduce a new criminal offence - smacks for the purpose of correction, no matter how light, are a crime.

Police reports show four prosecutions in a six-month period for "minor acts of physical discipline" and report a 200 per cent increase in families being investigated - yet fewer than 5 per cent were serious enough to warrant prosecution.

And there has been a huge 32 per cent increase in CYF's notifications, but the cases warranting further investigation haven't increased - in other words, valuable resources and time are taken away from the front line to deal with the real cases of abuse.

Family First NZ has plenty of evidence on its website of families being investigated and traumatised for complaints of light smacking, including parents who are referred to CYF by so-called helping agencies when they are simply seeking help, and of children ringing CYF to complain about their parents - imagine what that is like for a family.

Pryor asks families to seek help but in a culture of being labelled "lowest common denominator", this will do nothing to support and foster good parenting.

She says "there is no legal justification for the use of force to correct a child's behaviour", so why does "positive parenting" not include correction? As a mother I need to be able to teach my child right from wrong and it is an ongoing process to "correct" my child's behaviour - society expects me to fulfil this role.

We can all lament the daily cases in the media whereby individuals have not "corrected" their behaviour and have become a blight on society. Many parents would testify to aspects that are less than positive in the training of a child for the adult world.

I am sure the child does not see "time out" in a positive light nor see grounding as positive. Parents are often seen in negative light when they proceed with knowing best what will work for their child.

The role of parent is set apart from other relationships such as in the workplace or a sports team. Parents have the reserved responsibility to raise, train and shape the will and character of their child to maturity. Adults have already mastered that task - so the argument that Pryor puts forth about smacking another adult is null and void.

It is important to progress through to a referendum in July. This issue continues to be a strong, unresolved matter for most parents. After all, this was a citizens' initiated referendum and the democratic process needs to complete its cycle by asking the voting public, "should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence?"

People who don't like the question in the referendum simply don't like the answer they come to.

Organisations such as the Families Commission would better serve families when they consider the attitudes, needs and requirements of families rather than using their government-funded weight to impose a flawed ideology on to good, healthy, functioning families.

* Sue Reid is a researcher and writer for Family First NZ.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The NZ ‘anti-correction law’ and the referendum – your ‘unemotional’ guide to Section 59’.

A very simple question

 cross-posted from Big News, 14 April 2009

Bill English was asked on Radio Live today whether a smack should be allowed as part of good parental correction. He was asked at least six times. Here's the transcript. It's a classic.

Radio Live Breakfast Show - 14 April 09
INTERVIEWER: The Labour Party seemed to have amended their position on Section 59, the smacking legislation. What do you think? Should a smack be allowed as part of a good - as good parental correction?
BILL ENGLISH: Look, the Government's position hasn't changed since a compromise was done with the previous Labour Government. And the Prime Minister has said many times, as has the rest of the Government, that if there is evidence that law abiding parents are being wrong(ly)prosecuted inconsistent with the spirit of that law then we would look to change it. And has been - and there hasn't yet been considerable enough evidence to warrant changing it.
INTERVIEWER: Well, did you think - do you think a smack should be allowed as part of good parental correction?
BILL ENGLISH: Well, look, I think the law, as it is, is the law of the land and needs to be enforced in a sensible way. And...
INTERVIEWER: But do you think a smack should be allowed as part of good parental correction?
BILL ENGLISH: I - I think the law, as it is, is the law of the land that should be enforced. If there is evidence that it is being enforced in instances where it's - where it's inappropriate because the event is
trivial or [indistinct]...
INTERVIEWER: No, no. Sorry, Minister, I just wanted to know whether you could answer that, that should - do you think a smack should be allowed as part of good parental correction?
BILL ENGLISH: Look, it's a matter of complying with the law of the land.
INTERVIEWER: Right, it's a simple question, isn't it?
BILL ENGLISH: It's like asking whether the speed limit should be - whether you should drive at 120 kilometres an hour. The law - the law...
INTERVIEWER: Well, clearly you shouldn't.
BILL ENGLISH: That's right. Well, the law - the law, as it stands, is the law that should be enforced.
INTERVIEWER: Do you - do you think a smack should be allowed as part of good parental
correction? It's simple yes or no, isn't it?
Bill ENGLISH: Well, look, the law takes a stance about smacking and it gives the police some discretion about how they use their capacity to prosecute. If there is evidence that they are prosecuting people inappropriately, then that current government would look at changing the law.

So this is the position of Bill English. Laws should be enforced. The smacking law should be complied with. A smack as part of good parental correction is against the law. There is no evidence that, quote, "law abiding parents are being wrong(ly) prosecuted", unquote, for breaking the law when lightly smacking their kids.

What Radio Live should have asked is this: If "law abiding parents" can smack their kids for corrective purposes, how can law abiding parents be wrongly prosecuted, given correction is explicitly a crime?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ammendment to Fix Bradfords "anti-smacking" law has been introduced

Amendment To Fix Broken Anti-Smacking Law

From the ACT party website

ACT New Zealand MP John Boscawen today announced that he will introduce a Private Member's Bill to amend the controversial Anti-Smacking law inflicted on New Zealanders by Labour and the Greens in 2007.

"My announcement coincides with yesterday's release of a poll that shows widespread support for the law to be altered," Mr Boscawen said.

"This poll, commissioned by Family First NZ and conducted by Curia Market Research, surveyed the views of 1,000 everyday New Zealanders - 83 percent of whom felt the law should be changed, with a total 77 percent of respondents believing the law would not help reduce our child abuse rates.

"While addressing the concerns of those who felt that the original section 59 of the Crimes Act was too vague, my amendment to the law will protect from criminalisation those parents who use a light smack for the purpose of correction.

"The amendment will change the Act so that: it is no longer a crime for parents or guardians to use reasonable force to correct children; there are clear statutory limits on what constitutes reasonable force; parents and guardians have certainty about what the law permits; it is no longer reliant on police discretion for the law to be practical and workable.

"In an attempt to curb child abuse, this law has simply criminalised law-abiding parents and removed their freedom to decide how best to raise their children - something that ACT has consistently opposed.

"The Labour we know best' Government is out and National is now in. Perhaps we will now begin to see an end to the madness of the past nine years - where politicians saw fit to tell New Zealanders how to live their lives," Mr Boscawen said.



This is great news! My full support to John Boscawen in his efforts.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2009 Research, 83% NZers say Change Smacking Law

Press Release, Family First, 18 March 2009

Almost two years after the passing of the controversial anti-smacking law, more than 80% of NZ’ers still want the law changed and 77% say that the law won’t have any effect on our unacceptable child abuse rate.
These are the key finding of research commissioned by Family First NZ, following on from similar research in 2007 and 2008. The Curia Market Research poll surveyed 1,000 people, and also found huge confusion over the legal effect of the law.
83% said that the new law should be changed to state explicitly that parents who give their children a smack that is reasonable and for the purpose of correction are not breaking the law (85% in 2008, 82% in 2007).

Key Findings:
83% say the law should be changed – only 13% say to keep it as is
77% says the law won’t help reduce the rate of child abuse in NZ
Less than one third of respondents actually understand the law

“This is essentially the same question that will be put to NZ’ers in the Referendum at the end of July. The government can save $8 million of taxpayer funding towards the cost of running the Referendum during a recession, and amend the law now,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

Respondents were also asked whether the new law makes it always illegal for parents to give their children a light smack. 55% said yes, 31% said no, and 14% didn’t know.

“This proves just how confusing the law is to parents and it is this confusion that is causing huge harm. Parents have been given conflicting messages by the promoters of the law, legal opinions have contradicted each other, and on top of that is police discretion but not CYF discretion to investigate.”
“Parents have a right to know whether they are parenting within the law or not. This law has just created confusion and as a result, good parents are being victimised,” says Mr McCoskrie. “Meanwhile, the rate of child abuse continues. This flawed law must be fixed and the real causes of child abuse confronted.”

The poll was conducted during the week beginning March 9, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.2%.

Below are two graphs from the Press Release