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The Smacking Bill: Rush to claim lion’s share of credit.

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on May 3, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

The Smacking Bill: Rush to claim lion’s share of credit.
Thursday, 03.05.2007, 08:25am (GMT12)

The Smacking Bill: Rush to claim lion’s share of credit

5:00AM Thursday May 03, 2007
By Mike Houlahan

Helen Clark and John Key’s principled compromise on Sue Bradford’s bill may have been above politics – but they seemed to have forgotten to tell their MPs that.

The debate on the controversial legislation resumed yesterday, hours after party leaders said they had put partisanship to one side to find a way to avoid any doubt about the bill’s intention. That left their colleagues to rush to claim the lion’s share of the credit for Peter Dunne’s amendment.

Mr Key’s deputy, Bill English, said his leader had shown he had an instinctive recognition of what the public was telling Parliament, while Labour did not. “I wonder whether it was all worth it?” Mr English asked.

“Well it was, because what has happened is that the community has sent a strong message through this Parliament that it will not allow the Government any further into the door of their household.”

Defence Minister Phil Goff said: “It’s good that Helen Clark, Sue Bradford, Peter Dunne, John Key and other people around this House have been able to come together … to send symbolically the message that as parents we should always try to find more constructive ways of disciplining our children than lashing out … ”

Mr Dunne said the cross-party support for his amendment was extraordinarily significant and a good day for Parliament.

“There has always been this concern … that good parents were going to be put at risk … were going to have the police banging down the door, [and] were going to be criminalised by this bill.”

Ms Bradford said she could happily back Mr Dunne’s amendment as it did not define the nature and level of force people could legitimately use against their children.

Mr Key said: “I think it’s fair to say that on both sides of the debate there have been some quite extreme positions taken. In amongst that there has been deep confusion in the middle of New Zealanders, and they have felt fearful of some legislation that they did not understand and … did not welcome into their homes, and they deserved some protection. Today, they got that protection.”


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