When exactly would prosecuting light smacking be in "the public interest"?
And WTF would an "inconsequential"smack look like?
So just WTF does this new Bradford/Clark/Key/Dunne/Palmer anti-smacking Bill mean:
the [new amended Bill] ... will state that police will have discretion not to prosecute parents or guardians for use of force on a child if that force is "so inconsequential there is no public interest in pursuing a prosecution."Any ideas? Any at all? Does that tell you clearly in advance, in law, what you can and can't do?
Will it stop the criminalisation of good parents? And will it protect good parents from CYFS?
Answers on a postcard, please.
UPDATE 1: Craig Smith of the Family Integrity organisation has an important point to make on the Bradford/Clark/Key/Dunne/Palmer compromise:
It is not changing the re-write of Section 59 which is another clause in the Bill. So, the clause will not pass into the Crimes Act. It is simply a bit of commentary in the Bill. And as Bradford just said [on air] this is precisely what Police do now anyway.
And of course, parents who use reasonable force to correct their children do not use inconsequential force...they use force that is going to have consequences...the consequence of present and future corrected behaviour. Police will have to consider this a criminal act.
And of course, CYFS is most likely still to be advised by police, even when the force is inconsequential, for the force is technically illegal. Here is where our greatest fear lies.
This is total and complete capitulation by National. They've surrendered
Here then, unless there is some miraculous event in Parliament today, is what Section 59 will look like [subsection 2 is the kicker]:Parental ControlCorrecting your children, you see in (2), is a criminal offense. And (3) says that if there is a doubt as to whether the force was for correction or for prevention, the correction interpretation must prevail.
(1) Every parent of a child and every person in the place of a parent of the 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 amounts to a criminal offence; or
(c) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in offensive or disuptive behaviour; or
(d) performing the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting.
(2) Nothing in subsection (1) or in any rule of common law justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction.
(3) Subsection (2) prevails over subsection (1).
Until now, juries convict the accused of a crime when no doubt about it exists, when it is beyond reasonable doubt. Now, if charged with the crime of using force to correct your child, the existence of doubt will legally require the jury to convict you of the crime...
UPDATE 2: The Herald's Audrey Young follows in the present tradition of her paper's journalists getting it exactly backwards in saying,
Everyone's a winner in this compromise... The alternative would have seen Helen Clark force unpopular, unwanted and unclear law on the country.What abject, unadulterated nonsense. What we have forced upon us instead is an unpopular, unwanted and equally unclear compromise, without even the opportunity for debate. If she really thinks New Zealand parents are winners in that, then there's no hope for her.UPDATE 3: Susan has it exactly right:
John Key: "Politics has been put to one side and sanity has prevailed".UPDATE 4: Just a reminder of my point made some weeks ago: this is about more than just smacking; as Cindy Kiro has indicated clearly enough, it's about nationalising children.
Wrong on both counts, you moron.
My God, I honestly thought I couldn't think less of the Nats than I did. I was wrong. How could anybody vote for them again?
And as for Bradford, what a liar. I heard her say earlier last month that if there was ANY amendment to her bill, she'd 'pull it' altogether. And for all her talk, a persistent 80+% disapproval rating was NOT 'robust debate.'
They really have shown their true colours, the lot of them. Illuminating as to how they forget who works for whom.
On that score too, a commenter at David Farrars' Kiwiblog reminds us of this section from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels's 1848 Communist Manifesto, from which I quote:
Abolition of the family!You might like to recall that Karl Marx hurled six children into the world with his much put-upon wife Jenny, but like Rousseau he never gave a thought for them or for their care. He 'socialised' his own children almost from their birth.
Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists...
The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.
Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.
But, you will say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social.
And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention of society, dire or indirect, by means of schools, etc.? The Communists have not invented the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention...
UPDATE 5: The Kiwi Herald has news that Clark and John Boy are to bury their few differences and will form a new Government of National Unity.
In a move that has stunned political analysts Helen Clarke announced that National and Labour will continue to work together to "advance the interests of good parents and good children everywhere -and all the other good people too."Read the full 'news' here at The Kiwi Herald: Clark, Key Form Govt of National Unity.
A beaming Mr Key told reporters: "It seems so right that we should continue our new found common-cause this way."
Describing the moment when the leaders agreed to form the new Government Mr Key said that "after we had agreed on the smacking bill we went to shake hands and for a wonderful moment our eyes met. It was as though we both knew, at that instant, that our differences didn't matter anymore. In a sudden outpouring of emotion I began to say to Helen that we should unite as one, but she interrupted me and said 'John, I know. For the peoples sake let us now walk side-by-side.'
In the new spirit of co-operation Miss Clark and John Key will chair Cabinet "week and week about" while Michael Cullen and Bill English have already found a "lovely little bachelor pad to share."