Saturday, August 22, 2009

Smacking is not beating [updated]

Turns out the overwhelming majority of voters, 87.6%, didn't agree with those who insisted the majority ofparents just want the freedom to beat their children.

Smacking is not beating.  It never was.  And people, those who count anyway, are intelligent enough not to buy the spin that it is.

They are also too intelligent not to buy the spin from an out-of-the-country Mr Key that this is a law change that needs to be changed back. Time to listen, John Boy. Time to listen.

UPDATE

  • The Best Headline I’ve seen on the result is from Home Paddock:

Which part of no don’t you understand?

  • Best spin is by Sue Bradford:

Bradford says result inconclusive

  • And the Best One-Liner is from Andy Moore, who asks at his Facebook page:

Should smacking Sue Bradford as part of good democracy be a criminal offence in NZ?

Labels:

31 Comments:

Blogger Night City Trader said...

Inconclusive?!?! ..wtf?

Is that 'inconclusive' in the way World War 2 was inconclusive?

8/22/2009 01:25:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

"Should smacking Sue Bradford as part of good democracy be a criminal offence in NZ?"

Easy. Vote NO.

LGM

8/22/2009 02:35:00 pm  
Blogger homepaddock said...

"The best headline . . " Thank you, I'm flattered.

8/22/2009 03:47:00 pm  
Anonymous Mich said...

FFS, How can almost ninety percent be inconclusive?

8/22/2009 04:40:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inconclusive? How dare anyone say so fucking elitist commie!

1.4 million people voted in favour of smacking.

That is more than voted for any governing party in NZ's history. ever

The reason is simple mathematics - something that no doubt the total lack of discpline in NZs schools means you did not learn.

Getting 87% with a 54% turnout is far more votes than getting say 50% in a general election with 80% turnout

If you believe in democracy, then the law must be changed.

And best of all - thanks to the wording, it means NZ has decided that smacking is good parenting in NZ - and liberal wowser parenting in BAD PARENTING

8/22/2009 05:15:00 pm  
Anonymous Brian Scurfield said...

"And best of all - thanks to the wording, it means NZ has decided that smacking is good parenting in NZ"

What's good about that?

8/22/2009 08:50:00 pm  
Blogger libertyscott said...

Sue Bradford's Bill should never have been passed and the law should be amended, but to say smacking is good parenting is nonsense. It is even more nonsense to say because a majority said it so, then it is.

There may be reasons to use force against your children, so it should not be criminalised in those instances, but to say children are better off learning something is wrong by being hit, rather than being explained and demonstrated, is braindead.

The chasm is between the child nationalisers on the left and the fear and violence is good for you crowd.

Just because smacking shouldn't be under the criminal law doesn't mean it is endorsed or good - group sex isn't a crime, neither is adultery, but that doesn't make it state sanctioned.

8/22/2009 11:14:00 pm  
Anonymous twr said...

Those people who are against smacking tend to disingenuously use the word "hit" to imply that smacking is no different to a punch in the face. It is. Smacking is probably a last resort for most parents, but it is useful to have available as a tool if it becomes necessary.

The reason Bradford has described the result as inconclusive is that she's a liar, plain and simple. If you accept that, then her pronouncements become easier to understand.

8/23/2009 12:37:00 am  
Blogger KG said...

This issue is no longer about smacking children.
It's now about where political power in this country resides--with the people, or with politicians and bureaucrats and academics.

8/23/2009 10:07:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Homepaddock should hat tip Bolger who said it to Holmes, "just what is it about No you dont understand"..
The short one was speechless but did laugh.

8/23/2009 10:07:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

"And best of all - thanks to the wording, it means NZ has decided that smacking is good parenting in NZ"

No, NZ has not decided that.

If that's the best understanding yo hav e of the issue, then go and talk to Brian Edwards. He seems to like making up stuff too.

8/23/2009 10:51:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/23/2009 11:58:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/23/2009 12:04:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/23/2009 12:08:00 pm  
Anonymous Elijah Lineberry said...

Just before you describe others as illiterate, Anonymous, the actual wording is 'good parental correction', not 'good parenting'.

8/23/2009 12:10:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Listen you illiterate nitwit, voting to make something LEGAL is not voting to make it MANDATORY.

Legality is not morality. It is not a measure of efficacy. Freedom offers the freedom to fuck up just as much as the freedom to flourish.

So the result does not say smacking is good parenting in New Zealand -- it simply says that smacking should be legal.

Now push off.

8/23/2009 12:18:00 pm  
Anonymous Russell said...

Unfortunately Key does have to do a god damn thing about this referendum - cudos wise. It's to far out from the next election, and besides this wouldn't change anyones vote even if the election were tommorow. Key could just let this die if he wants to - it'll cost him nothing. If you voted No - and he does nothing - what are you going to do? Vote Labour?

8/23/2009 12:33:00 pm  
Anonymous David S. said...

I voted "yes", because I think that the current legislation is an improvement over the old one.

The current legislation doesn't ban smacking, it bans smacking for the purpose of correction. The problem is the legislation itself doesn't really define 'correction'

This is what the law currently says -

"(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 disruptive 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)."

There's a great deal of confusion about what effect subsection (2) and (3) have on (1).

I'm not a lawyer, and I'm sure it's possible I've got this wrong, but my take on it, and I'm reasonably certain that this was the intent of the law, was that the acts layed out in subsection(1) and "correction" were meant to be different justifications for the use of force on a child.

8/23/2009 05:59:00 pm  
Anonymous David S. said...

(cont.)

If a child is smacked while in the act of trying to put a fork into a wall socket, for example, that would fall under subsection(1)(a), assuming the level of force was "reasonable".

However if you were disciplined as a result of such an act, after the fact, in such a way that was not immediately preventing a child harming itself, it would not be covered by subsection(1), and would be illegal.

I don't have an issue with making that kind of punishment illegal, for two reasons.

A.
The definition of "reasonable" force is quite subjective, and has provided protection to parents who have committed genuine acts of abuse. However, defining an objective limit of force for discipline is extremely difficult, I would rather have more of the decision about how to deal with minor cases be in the hands judges, who are expected to make the punishment fit the crime.

If you take the case of the "ear flick dad" as a kind of precedent (yes I understand he was convicted of punching his kid in the face, and it wasn't really a test for the new law, but bare with me), you can see what kind of punishments judges could forseably issue in response to minor breaches of the law.

He received a suspended sentence and anger management, which to me sounded fair given the situation.

At the other end of the scale however, The situation we had prior to the change in law affected children who are unable to defend themselves, and are at a greater degree of risk than parents are under the new law.

B.
Using force for "correction" is in my opinion, unecessary. I was never disciplined in this manor, though I did receive smacks that would fall under subsection(1).

The term 'reasonable force' is still a part of the law, and I think it's a compromise, but I think it's a justifiable one. It's easier to define in this context since it's related to the more specific acts layed out in subsection(1), as opposed to general 'correction'.

It's an improvement over the old law, but it's certainly not perfect. The main issue is the fact that it's confusing, but then, the old law wasn't exactly objective either. Surely if you use force to prevent a child from harming themselves or acting up, it's a form of correction as well? The two sections need a simple guideline to differentiate between the two concepts of "prevention" and "correction".

Personally I think subsection(3) should be changed to say something along the lines of -

"If the amount of force used is more than what is necessary to perform the acts layed out in subsection(1), then subsection(2) prevails over subsection(1)"

PC, you made the argument that the new law isn't objective. It isn't, but the old law was far worse. I don't agree that this referendum can be ignored, far from it in fact. However I think the issue should be re-negotiated, perhaps with cooler heads prevailing this time, while hopefully avoiding all of the nasty personal attacks and irrelevent ad hominems that occured the last time around.

8/23/2009 06:00:00 pm  
Blogger Comrade MOT said...

"Legality is not morality"

PC, this is something that you do not seem to understand with respect to altruism. You seem to think that altruism is immoral. However it is only so if it is legally forced.
You seem to think that to believe that altruism, putting other people first as a matter of principle, is good (a matter of morality), requires one to support socialist/collectivist pollicies(a matter of law). That is simply not true.

Anyway, many would argue that if putting others ahead of ones self is forced, it isnt really altruism anyway.

8/23/2009 06:04:00 pm  
Blogger Madeleine said...

David S you left out clause 4, the "dogs breakfast" clause and you state the current law does not ban smacking but then later you concede "There's a great deal of confusion about what effect subsection (2) and (3) have on (1)."

That confusion you refer to is whether the law criminalises smacking for the purposes of parental correction. Legal experts disagree as the correct interpretation of the new s59, Sue Bradford says both it does and it does not make smacking illegal depending on who is asking her and what day of the week it is, John Key has said it is badly worded and the public found it so confusing they called a referenda and voted on it.

I began writing this with the intention of demonstrating each of the errors in your claim but then I realised I'd be writing an essay and it would be simpler to say that when you wrote "I'm not a lawyer" that was a redundant statement.

Let's unpack this statement:
"The definition of "reasonable" force is quite subjective,"

Wrong. It has been refined and clarified through case law. Judges and lawyers understood it. Sue Bradford didn't. Here we are.

"...and has provided protection to parents who have committed genuine acts of abuse."

Wrong. Go into a law library, look up the 34 reported cases where s59 was raised as a defence and read the judgements. The only way you will come away standing by your claim is if you cannot understand what is written or if you are dishonest.

"However, defining an objective limit of force for discipline is extremely difficult,"

No its not. The courts had a good one, that's why you cannot find heaps of judgements where abusers got off. It is also why there is no attempt to define it in relation to clause 1 where it is used undefined - the drafters knew that the courts knew what reasonable force meant and were happy with that meaning.

"I would rather have more of the decision about how to deal with minor cases be in the hands judges, who are expected to make the punishment fit the crime."

But you said you didn't agree with the old law....?

8/24/2009 02:20:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PC - I believe that the major issue here has been missed by everyone.

In New Zealand we have a raft of government agencies paid for by you and me telling us what to think about this issue. Organizations such as Bernados, Childrens Commission have shown they are out of step with 88% of the population and should be disbanded immediately.

Thought to ponder - how many other government funded bodies do not represent the mainstream?

8/24/2009 07:42:00 am  
Anonymous Marcus said...

I threw my voting papers in the bin - the outcome of this referendum, whether there's a change to the law or not, will not make the slightest bit of difference to the way I raise and discipline my kids. If people are waiting for a bloody government to tell them how to raise children, then they shouldn't be parents in the first place.

8/24/2009 07:52:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

Whew! That's Davis S well and truly spanked!

Ouch!

No matter, he probably enjoys a good whacking.

LGM

8/24/2009 08:04:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

Marcus

You're point is well made. Nevertheless, don't you think you've missed an opportunity to apply some gentle correction to Johnnie Key?

Just asking.

LGM

8/24/2009 08:06:00 am  
Blogger KG said...

"If people are waiting for a bloody government to tell them how to raise children, then they shouldn't be parents in the first place."

People aren't, which the referendum result clearly shows. :-)

8/24/2009 08:19:00 am  
Anonymous Marcus said...

LGM & KG - I'm just frustrated that this sort of common sense even has to have government approval. A colossal waste of time, money and energy. I don't really care whether the bulk of NZers voted one way or the other, as 'majority rule' means bugger all to me. Majority rule also dictates that I can't smoke pot, and I pay as much attention to that as I did to the anti-smacking bill. I'll continue to do both things positively and responsibly.

8/24/2009 10:30:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Now push off”

Chaps like that need a sort out :)

8/24/2009 10:58:00 am  
Blogger KG said...

"..as 'majority rule' means bugger all to me."
Same here Marcus. Mob rule has never appealed to me. But since Key claims to believe in democracy, he'd better listen to the mob in this case.

8/24/2009 11:00:00 am  
Anonymous Tel Prydain said...

Part of me hopes that Key refuses to do anything at all... So that Act can offer to do so and grab a nice big slice of political-approval pie.

- Tel Prydain

8/24/2009 03:56:00 pm  
Anonymous twr said...

That's exactly the situation we had at the last election - Act was the only party promising to change the law, however it didn't do them much good.

8/24/2009 04:30:00 pm  

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