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Copeland: Clarification over Sue Bradfords Bill

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on March 5, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Monday, March 5, 2007 am31 9:27 AM in CYFSWATCH Media

Copeland: Clarification over Sue Bradfords Bill
Monday, 5 March 2007, 12:13 pm
Press Release: United Future NZ Party
Monday, 5th March 2007

Clarification: Sue Bradfords Bill

United Future MP Gordon Copeland today said he wanted to clarify the context in which he sought an opinion from Peter McKenzie QC concerning the criminalisation, as an assault, of ime-out in Sue Bradfords Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Bill.

The text of the Bill itself makes it clear that the defence of reasonable force for the purpose of correction is not available for time-out or similar, said Mr Copeland. It therefore constitutes a criminal assault. Correction is what time-out or a naughty mat is all about.

The report of the Law Commission dated 8 November 2006, signed by Sir Geoffrey Palmer, from which the wording of the Bill is derived, makes that clear. For example, paragraph 7 states that: the Bill does not contemplate the use of parental force against children for the purposes of correction. Paragraph 10 states: the use of force by parents against a child is only justified for specified non-disciplinary purposes. The essence of this option (i.e. the Bill) is to offer protection for good parenting interventions, short of correction.

Paragraph 12 specifically refers to time-out in the following sentence: In the event of a potentially ambiguous situation such as time-out where there may be a mix of motives, subsection (3) seeks to ensure that parents cannot rely upon a corrective purpose for their actions.

Accordingly, from day 1, it has been clear to me that Sue Bradfords Bill is not only anti-smacking but also anti-correction and anti-discipline. However, because all of this is so absurd I realised that going public with that information could expose me to potential ridicule because the public would judge that only a Parliament of the insane would be intent on criminalising these activities.

It was for that reason that to be sure to be sure as the Irish say, I sought the opinion of a Queens Council.

Fortunately, perhaps because they themselves realised how absurd this Bill would become, the Law Commission suggested a reasoned alternative which has now become the Chester Borrows Amendment. That amendment is a good, commonsense, compromise and could be supported by all Members of Parliament.



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