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Key, Dunne sell out to Labour and the Greens.

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on May 2, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Key, Dunne sell out to Labour and the Greens.
Wednesday, 02.05.2007, 10:15am (GMT12)

Clark and Key agree smacking bill compromise

Updated 10:00AM Wednesday May 02, 2007
By Audrey Young  and Claire Trevett 

What the current law, the proposed bill and the various amendments say

Church leaders turn up smacking bill heat, new amendment proposed

The anti-smacking bill looks set to pass after Helen Clark and John Key reached agreement on a compromise to prevent parents being prosecuted over minor incidents.

At an extraordinary press conference this morning, the Prime Minister set out how the deal was reached and said there was now cross-party support.

The compromise sees wording inserted into the bill guiding the police not to prosecute all parents who smack their children.


What the new amendment says
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.


At present, the bill would make it unlawful to use any form of physical discipline on a child for the purposes of correction.

Green MP Sue Bradford has agreed to the compromise, which does not affect the wording of her private member’s bill. It is being introduced by United Future leader Peter Dunne.

Earlier in the morning sources told NZPA an amendment had been proposed that aimed to ensure parents will not be prosecuted for minor smacking.

To date Labour supported the bill and all but one of National’s MPs have opposed it.

Church leaders are set to descend on Wellington today to voice their differeing views on the bill.

The bill comes back to Parliament today. If it completes its committee stage today, it is likely to go through its third reading — the final stage — in two weeks time.

If it does not complete its committee stage, it will be at least a month before it gets a third reading.

Ms Bradford has 63 votes behind the bill, enough to have it passed into law. A majority in Parliament is 61.

Yesterday the Maori Party, which holds four votes and the balance of power on the bill, confirmed it was not going to change its stance and said it would continue to support it.

The bill removes from the Crimes Act the statutory defence that allows “reasonable force” to be used to correct children.

Opponents say that means even the lightest smack would be a criminal offence.

Supporters say smacking has been illegal for more than 100 years and the defence is allowing people to get away with savagely beating children.

It has divided Parliament and there have been bitter debates. Today is not expected to be any different, because all Labour’s MPs support it and all National’s MPs, except Katherine Rich, oppose it.

An amendment proposed by National MP Chester Borrows which would allow light smacking is expected to be voted on today.

Unless some MPs change their minds, it will be defeated.

Demonstrations outside Parliament are due to start about 12.30pm. The debate on the bill is expected to begin about 4.30pm.

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