I say the repeal of section 59 is unnecessary because in my experience it is just that - unnecessary. I never lost a case which I prosecuted on the basis of section 59... Of course there will be the occasional case where section 59 has excused parents who overstepped the mark, but these are not cases where a child has been thrashed or beaten or injured. I challenge anyone to find a case where section 59 has excused a real bashing that left a child injured.Wilkinson-Smith points out that Bradford's Bill will affect those in custody disputes and divorce battles and those against whom someone else bears a grudge -- those who are the least powerful, and those whom Bradford claims to represent -- and it ironically grants power to those she trusts the least:
Sue Bradford doesn't trust the New Zealand public so I find it amazing that she has so much faith in both the police and the justice system. She is proposing to give a huge amount of discretion to individual police officers... Most police are honest and upstanding and we are lucky to have them. Some are not. Some get caught up in a "means to an end" approach to criminal law. Some will use this legislation - and the discretion it gives them - for the wrong purpose. It won't be me or people like me who suffer this. It will be the very people Sue Bradford has fought for in so many other ways.There is already sufficient law on the books to prosecute your child beaters, and you all know that.
This is not about smacking. It is not about stopping child beaters, since parents who do beat their children aren't going to listen to Bradford's law change any more than they listen to the laws that already make beating illegal. My opposition, and that of principled opponents to this Bill, is to the Nannying intrusion into New Zealand families; to the increased role of the state as parent, and a decreasing role for parents as parents.
Tomorrow, marchers on Parliament will have a chance to make their opposition known to those within -- to those wavering Labour MPs in marginal seats, to the Maori Party MPs who are hearing from their constituents opposed to the Bill, to the NZ First MPs threatened with demotion, to the whole damned Parliament who need to realise that nearly three-quarters of New Zealanders want Nanny to butt out.
Tomorrow's march starts at noon from the Civic Square -- and note that there will be a counter-protest at the same place and same time -- and at least five speakers when the march reaches Parliament's steps: Bob McCoskrie, Heather Roy, Larry Baldock, Christine Rankin and Lindsay Perigo (though not the first Perigo to have their say on this issue -- see Update 3 here). A few other MP's have also been invited. Please feel free to emphasise this request by e-mailing/calling them yourself.
UPDATE: I'll remind you of Luke's recent post where he covers one of the "prime examples" often raised in response to this challenge:
As I've said before, if you need to spin to make your point, it suggests you don't have a real, credible argument to make.
One of the prime examples is a Christian woman who punished her son with a ‘horse whip’. That’s the version we hear on the radio. But if we look a little closer, the ‘whip’ was actually a short riding crop, and the boy had attempted to smash his stepfather in the head with a baseball bat. This was not child abuse, it was sorely needed corrective discipline. In fact, the incident with the ‘whip’ was discovered after the school asked about the improvement in the boy’s behaviour!So this wasn’t a failure of Section 59. It was a triumph of, firstly, parental discipline, and secondly, the New Zealand justice system, which managed, as usual, to find the correct verdict based on the evidence. The reality is the complete opposite of the political spin...
RELATED: Smacking, NZ Politics