Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Smacking compromise

Some questions:

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
completely...

Here then, unless there is some miraculous event in Parliament today, is what Section 59 will look like [subsection 2 is the kicker]:

Parental Control
(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).
Correcting 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.

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".

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.
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.

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!

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...
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.

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."
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."
Read the full 'news' here at The Kiwi Herald: Clark, Key Form Govt of National Unity.

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14 Comments:

Anonymous Sus said...

John Key: "Politics has been put to one side and sanity has prevailed".

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.

5/02/2007 11:10:00 am  
Blogger Mitch said...

The exact wording of the amendment to the bill will now be: ''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 that there is no public interest in pursuing a prosecution.''

So what are they enshrining in law exactly? That the police are to have 'discretion' over whether to prosecute in the name of the public good. Disgraceful.

Where's Guy Fawkes when you need him? And while he's at it, he could take care of CYFS aswell.

5/02/2007 11:35:00 am  
Anonymous Julian Darby said...

So we are now going to have a law which will mean that you cannot know in advance whether the smacking of your child will result in you being taken away in handcuffs. Police would (under this compromise) be at liberty to prosecute if they don't like you for whatever reason (the colour of your skin, religion, political beliefs etc.)

Under this ammendment, never will a parent who smacks their child - even lightly- be free from the threat that they can be taken aware in handcuffs at any time. It is a lottery with terrible potential consequences.


Julian Darby

5/02/2007 12:16:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good parents don't generally come to the attention of CYFS. I think you will find, as in your appalling lapse of judgement in supporting the horsewhip woman, that 99% of children are separated from the parents for very good reasons which are often not available to the public. There are not enough people willing to foster children NOW, so I doubt there will be an increase in kids put into care.

This is a good day for the smallest and weakest in our society. And it's a good day for genuinely good parents who know discipline is the use of the mind, not brute force.

If I was a christian I would say 'God bless our children'

5/02/2007 12:27:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it wasnt an f-ing horsewhip
this is ridiculous, we dont even need this 'law' what we need is for the lowest common denominator to stop killing their kids, we dont need for the rest of society to be pused down to that level.

5/02/2007 12:38:00 pm  
Anonymous Sus said...

"Good parents don't generally come to the attention of CYFS".

They bloody well will now thanks to this imposition!

Strange how those who claim to abhor 'brute force' have no qualms in imposing it.

Worse, they place faith in outright liars. And wait for this legislation to be extended when the torture of children at the hands of real monsters continues unabated.

I wonder what Clark's promised the Greens' down the track in return for this compromise, because technically it was Clark being PM who had the most to lose.

5/02/2007 01:10:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

So many people seem to think that this "compromise" will mean that smacking will not be made illegal. It's very frustrating.

John Key's been incredibly slimy in all of this. To think I have been hopeful that my initial impressions of him were wrong (body language on a tv debate just before the last election). Maybe he's still playing some sort of game, but I don't know.

5/02/2007 02:00:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Strange how those who claim to abhor 'brute force' have no qualms in imposing it. '

Good gracious - I'll say!!

Strange how those who damn well know through Montessori and otherwise how to nurture a child, and a child's mind, support the use of brute force against those who cannot defend themselves , wouldn't you say?

This is a big win for our kids, and a loss for those who thought hitting their offspring was a right, god-given or otherwise.

5/02/2007 02:37:00 pm  
Anonymous Sus said...

"Strange how those who damn well know through Montessori and otherwise how to nurture a child, and a child's mind, support the use of brute force against those who cannot defend themselves , wouldn't you say?"

Yes, it would be very strange if true, but mercifully, it's not. Thank Christ I don't know anybody who's moronic enough to consider 'brute force' and a smacked hand to be synonymous, because they are the true proponents of child torture.

This compromise will do *nothing* to stop those monsters. I await your future defence of this monstronsity the next time another poor little James Whakaruru comes along.

Not to mention Kiro's Nazis seizing children from perfectly good homes ...

5/02/2007 03:00:00 pm  
Anonymous jim said...

John Key is looks like a homo. He fuck'n cosy up to Helen Grad and Sue Fuckradford.

5/02/2007 03:48:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see what you are getting at Sus, but disagree. This has always been a human rights issue which libertarians should support -- the highly respected intellectual I/S of No Right Turn has said this too.

The amendment will not stop murder.It never claimed to. But it *will* send a clear message that violence - and using physical pain as punishment is violence - is not acceptable in the family home.

There is no reason on this green earth to strike a child. The anti-smackers have won the day - get used to it.

I am willing to wager anyone who claims CYFS and the police will intervene/prosecute more than they do at present.

Remember I won my last wager about the Nats losing in popularity in 2 consecutive polls ;-)

5/02/2007 04:50:00 pm  
Blogger Craig Ranapia said...

Hey, we can look forward to the black comedy of the bitching and whinging when the Police don't exercise their "discretion" - or the first test prosecution sets a precedent much broader - to Sue Bradford's liking.

Oh, and am I the first person to note the rather delicious irony of Helen Clark so warm about Police discretion. Why wouldn't she? It never seems to be 'in the public interest' to prosecute politicians (well, most of 'em) -- or political parties -- for any damn thing.

5/03/2007 08:48:00 am  
Anonymous pdq said...

The politics of this appalling situation aside, discretions really bother me. The test for whether a discretion has been exercised properly is not about the outcome, but whether proper procedure was followed in its exercise. If law is about certainty, how do others feel about discretions?

5/03/2007 09:03:00 am  
Anonymous Sus said...

"The amendment will not stop murder.It never claimed to. But it *will* send a clear message that violence - and using physical pain as punishment is violence - is not acceptable in the family home."

Hi Anon. I agree with your first sentence, but not the second. Bradford, and latterly Clark, were forever bleating on about stopping the 'beating' and 'violence' etc, whilst alluding to the bill preventing the worst public cases, eg Kahui/Whakaruru/Witika.

I also disagree that it will send a 'clear message', because it will fall on the deaf ears of the monster-abusers. *That's* been my point all along.

This is state intervention of the family unit via the back door, which was always Bradford's marxist goal. (Or front door in the case of CYFS. They're not renowned for their subtlety). As for a bet re the latter, just watch this space. I'll be delighted to be wrong, trust me! :)

You'll get no argument from me re drop in Nats' popularity. National/Labour: both statist & clueless.

5/03/2007 10:05:00 am  

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