There are people who don't understand the difference between smacking and beating. Sue Bradford says on 'Breakfast TV' this morning that she is not one of them. Her Private Members Bill to remove the defence of 'reasonable force' from parents who smack their children says otherwise however.
Bradford claims her bill would simply stop parents beating 'our chooldren' with leather straps, lumps of wood, bamboo canes and horse whips, but surely these things are already illegal now if what's being dished out causes serious injury. She also denies that the bill would turn parents into criminals -- "I don't believe any policeman would go into someone's home and arrest them for lightly smacking a child" -- but that is preciely what her bill will do. In any case, 'Bradfud's bool' isn't going to stop people who are already inclined to beat their children senseless, but it will needlessly criminalise those who choose to smack their children. And they are their children, not Sue's.
For once, Phil Goff is talking sense. "Justice Minister Phil Goff said he did not oppose the bill going to a select committee, but did not want to make criminals out of parents. 'As a parent, I know the sort of frustrations and the tensions that can build up, and parents, from time to time, will smack their children.' He said Section 59 did not allow the use of unreasonable force, and 'child abuse is child abuse'."