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Your Views: A compromise on the smacking bill )part 1)

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on May 3, 2007

As postaed on CYFSWATCH NZ

Your Views: A compromise on the smacking bill )part 1)
Thursday, 03.05.2007, 10:37am (GMT12)

Your Views: A compromise on the smacking bill

6:00PM Wednesday May 02, 2007

The anti-smacking bill compromise to prevent parents being prosecuted over minor incidents has not quietened the debate about the bill.

There are strong views on whether John Key should be praised for his part in this -and whether the compromise really makes a difference.

Here is the latest selection of your views on the developments:

Kelvyn Alp
It never ceases to amaze me… here we are one minute, the majority of the country opposed to the “anti-smacking” Bill, believing it to be a type of home invasion by the State and a form of social engineering, and the next minute we gladly welcome the Bill because politicians created the illusion that they were working in our interests, and made a compromise. We did not want the bloody thing to start with, because there is sufficient legislation already in place to prosecute those that abuse children. Yet again, we are fooled into having it spoon-fed to us regardless; will we ever learn and what’s next, the “anti-bad-thoughts” bill?

Phillip Everson
My ten-year-old daughter has never been smacked. She has always been accorded the respect due any fellow human being. That is how we wished her to be brought up. That is the kind of example we wanted her to have so that she may give this legacy to others and eventually to her children. It is not just violence towards children that is at stake with this bill, it is much wider. It is about how we educate our children to be towards others, about how to respect them and also about how not to buy into violence or even the idea that violence of any sort is acceptable. You should see her and how she interacts with other children. It is beautiful. Then you should observe other children who have always been smacked. You can see how it is already part of their mind set for dealing with a range of problems they have to face in dealing with other children every day. Already, violence and aggressive behaviour is an option for them even at this early stage of their lives. Parents should s tart as they mean to go on and how they mean their children to be. If we truly want to change the future for the better we need to think very carefully about how we treat our children.

Peter from Auckland
My stepmother used to beat the daylights out of me. Many times I went to school with rope scours across my back,on more than one occasion she beat me almost unconcious with a frying pan bacause she did not like the way I had cleaned it. I do not claim to have been a little angel but my behaviour “in my opinion’ did not warrant this sort of punishment.I now am the father of three children and many grandchildren and I have found it necessary on the odd occasion to give one of them a smack on the bum for doing something stupid but I have never ever “beaten” any of them.I will not repeat the many statements that I have read over the last month or so but I am sure that the average normal parent knows the difference between a smack and beating a child unconscious or worse.

Auckland
As one that has been a big John Key fan, this decision of his today has disappointed me no end. He wouldn’t lose my vote over it however. I just wish the rest of the Nats have some balls and still vote against it.

Derrick Hodgson
This ‘bill’ should never have got on to paper. The whole thing was a deal done between Labour and the Greens. Any idiot could see the people who really physically hurt their kids (and I mean hurt!) will keep on doing it as they couldn’t give two hoots. These people usually have long criminal histories. Maybe these politicians need to have kids. These feminists do not have the right to tell me how I should discipline my children. I don’t take to them with chains or peices of wood. A gentle smack on the hand or bottom creats boundaries for the child. These types of boundaries are presently missing in our society at the moment, which is why we have high crime. The question of what is right and wrong has disappeared from our young people.

BJ Dooley
The bill is itself fundamentally ludicrous, because it represents tragically flawed thinking. And this will not be rectified by merely changing the presentation. It is a clearcut logical problem: The bill attempts to penalize physical punishment, because it might become child abuse. But, why are child abuse rates high? Is it because the law is disinterested? Surely not. It is because parents have no training in other methods of parenting and may lack emotional discipline. So, where is the great effort to provide such training and encourage such discipline? Nowhere. So, therefore, what will this bill accomplish in its main purpose? Absolutely nothing. It will only put a lot of ignorant people in jail. What a surprise. But, hey, it’s a lot cheaper than actually addressing the problem, and gets good press!

Anna from Point Chev
Anti-smacking legislation will prevent child abuse every bit as much as microchipping has prevented dog attacks. Yeah nice one, Parliament.

Carl Forster
Sorry but this piece of PC legislation will do nothing to protect those children front very violent parents. This should never have seen the light of day like a lot of other legislation passed by this Labour Goverment.

Clifford
We need to remember the bill was going to go through regardless of this amendment. I think John Key has done the best he could given this fact, and has at least ensured some notice was taken of parent’s concerns throughout the country. Although it doesn’t define what is acceptable it basically means a light smack is “inconsequential.” No, it doesn’t go far enough, but it’s better than what was being rammed through before. Sadly, none of it will make a difference to abused children. Sue Bradford believes physical force is never justified against children – I would like to hear her defend the unborn child’s right to life as passionately.

Sri
By instructing the police to ignore “inconsequential” smacking, the Govt has spiked the guns of the people who claimed this was the issue – when in fact the issue has ‘always been that people believe they have a right to inflict pain on “their” children, at will, because they own their children. I believe this law change will, within ten years, mean that society will be appalled at the sight of anyone hitting a small child. Well done Sue Bradford.

Julie
The reason that New Zealanders need such legislation is because of the appalling and numerous instances of violence against children. It is these same children who end up committing violent crimes against society. Stop being paranoid – the police will not come knocking on your door if you give your child the odd smack. It might however, make you think twice which is a good thing, isn’t it. If we start now, maybe the next generation of parents won’t actually need the government to legislate for the safety of their children.

Russ
The new gruesome twosome, Key and Clark. This was Key’s opportunity to show strong leadership and he blew it big time. 80 per cent of public opinion against the Anti-smacking Bill, and he lies down. He just proved once again, National doesn’t understand the game of politics. Manufacturers are about to start leaving the country for good and all the politicians want to worry about is a few smacked bums. Right now I can think of a few that need a good kicking.

M (Auckland)
It’s a shame the police will now analyze whether we did the right thing in smacking our kids or rather discipline us than the kids . This bill will make no difference as kids will still will be ruthlessly murdered and their parents will still get away with it for years to come and police will be still investigating for years to come on the reasons for their murder .

Patsy
How appalling that our leaders think we the people would be in favor of this “play on words” and “shifting of responsibility”? Who are they kidding?..certainly not us!! But clearly the machinery of politics grinds on with no sign of commonsense. Why are people who have no children deciding how those of us who do, must raise our children? I defy any of the decision makers to spend two months with my youngest and not consider smacking a necessary requirement of being his caregiver. Don’t they understand that, for some children, a smack states a boundary that no other form of interaction will achieve. I despair of their ignorance!

Anna (Point Chev)
What the new amendment says: To avoid doubt it is affirmed that police have the discretion not to prosecute complaints against a parent of a child, or person in the place of a parent of a 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 proceeding with a prosecution. I take offence at the persistence of the word ‘offence’ in this amendment.

Parent with diminishing rights
Once again the politicians have ignored common sense and public opinion and are hell-bent are taking more and more rights and authority away from parents. The state agencies cannot cope as it is – that has been proved time and again. Yet, the politicians want the govt agencies to have more work, which is what this law will result in. This law will not protect the children that need to be protected.

Ian
No doubt John Key will use this latest development to his advantage and claim victory for this amendment, as he has done on other issues so far this year. Of course ignoring the fact that it takes two sides to tango in Parlaiment or on Dancing With The Stars !! As I read earlier this year, he is all veneer and no wood – where are his policies on other issues, other than the usual tax cuts of course ?

New Father
What people who support the bill have failed to realise , is that by giving the police the right to decide, it makes us a Police State. It should be a jury of our peers to decide, not the police. That is why the woman who used a horse crop was let off. Her peers agreed with her. The Police may not… You will still have the police visiting you.

Jenny Petchell
Helen Clark thinks that the 80 per cent of people who are against Sue Bradford’s bill will now change their view – Yeah Right!!

Darron Gedge
This compromise does not go far enough. This is not just about not making parents criminals. This bill is about stripping all the tools from authority figures. If I had my way we would be bringing back corporal punishment into schools as well.

Bill
I am sick and tired of politicians telling us what we can and can’t do with our lives. First of all I don’t agree with beating children, but do agree that a light smack never hurt anyone. When I was at school they still caned, and I received plenty, it never did me any harm, I don’t go out beating people up or getting into trouble with police. The problem these days there is no discipline anymore, as it’s not politically correct, and what has happened? More and more teenagers in court. Is this Government going to pay the fines imposed by courts on children that get out of hand, because parents can no longer discipline their children. I don’t think so, they will see it as another revenue raising method to fund their overseas trips. It’s time the Politicians bugged out of our lives.

pCb ? Auckland
While kids will still get beaten some of us may smack less but this legislation points out the fact that the two main political parties can reach an agreement. I challenge Helen and John to start dealing with our monetary woes now while we can still afford to educate and feed our children . . .

Kent
I am curious. This legislation is supposed to reduce NZ’s appalling child abuse rate. However, as each parent convicted of smacking their child will become another child abuse statistic and the fact that the real child abusers will continue to abuse their children, I can only see our child abuse figures increase. Will Ms Bradford resign in a couple of years when history shows that her bill has in fact increased NZ’s child abuse statistics?

Phil Sinclair
Any normal caring person who read through these comments would come away asking why this bill wasn’t passed in its unadulterated form a generation ago. I had no idea so many people dislike and resent their children in NZ. “The little brats deserve it” or “I’m going to keep smacking the bugger” are examples of the warped way that many of the pro infant beating lobby express themselves. Shame on you all. Perhaps a criminal charge is needed to help some of these people stop being so nasty about their own kith and kin. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything as appalling as these expressions of hatred towards children. Has it ever occurred to any of you that children aren’t born spoilt or mean? They learn that from those closest to them. Those concerned about children playing separated parents off against each other would do well to consider the sorts of behaviour they have been exemplifying to their children. The poor little kids find divorce far more traumatic than many self indulgent parents so they do act out. When kids act out it is invariably in ways that they have learned will work. In other words the real behaviour modification needs to be with parents not the unsullied psyches of young children.

Gary (Auckland)
John Key has made a big mistake brokering this compromise with Labour. Labour was heading for a train wreck where even their oldest and loyalist supporters (such as myself) were threatening to vote National at the next election if s 59 was repealed. All it would have taken for National to have my vote, and anecdotally 80 per cent of the countries, would be to have as one of their election promises a proposed re-enactment of s 59. With this half way compromise National looks to have folded and Labour appears to be the reasonable force behind an amendment. Bad move National, I guess that only leaves the Act Party for my vote.

Issy
These politicians are doing what the UN Rights of the Child Charter has told them to do. Download a copy and read:Part 1 Article 2:2 & Article 4.This bill will be changed eventually to suit the UN.NZ signed this charter in 1989 without the people knowing. Most UN Charters are signed without the people knowing. That is why we have ass laws coming our way! Sit up and know New Zealanders. We can’t sit on our hands anymore.

Scalene
Keep the state out of the family.

Wog
The real question is not whether parents should ever be allowed to smack their children, but whether concerned citizens should be permitted to smack parliamentarians?

Doug
Melanie of Henderson: You say that you only smack your children when they deserve it, and that they don’t listen otherwise. One has to ask though, if you need to smack your children every day, does this not suggest that it’s not working as a means of behavioral correction? Perhaps if you stopped smacking and started talking to them they might listen.

Mother from Auckland
I don’t believe that anybody sitting at a desk in Wellington has the right to tell me how to raise my family. I was smacked as a child and believe there is nothing wrong with a light smack to the bum or hand. This is not going to stop the child abuse problem New Zealand has. Why did this not go to a public vote as these are our children who we deal with everyday! Who the hell are they?

Steven Ng
The anti-smacking bill is a rubbish at all! It’ll kill our future!

James
About 20 years ago it was decided that teachers were told that a new law made it illegal for them to hit the children in their care. We had many teachers saying that they would be unable to cope and that the students would run riot in the class room without corporal punishment—and we also had the predictable responses of —“It didn’t do me any harm when I was at school”. I am a teacher and it would be unimaginable to think about physical punishment in a school today. We have moved a long way since then. We must now move further along that road.

Matthew
In plain sight of public outrage at the bill and what it represents, the parliamentary players still decide to continue with an amendment.
We need more people to stand as independents to move the power away from the main parties which have no interest in the voice of the people.

Pat from Wellington
Congratulations to our politicians for agreeing on a sensible compromise. We can take pride in politicians who seek agreement in this way. John Key is to be congratulated on this approach rather than point scoring. So is Helen Clark.

Tim Saunders
Those who believe that a light smack with an open hand constitutes physical abuse, but “time out” cannot constitute psychological abuse must believe that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. I honestly thought we were more enlightened now.

Liz
Yes . Parents are still breaking the law,they just may or may not ,be prosecuted. Grab an envelope, put your email inside ,put a stamp on it and post it to parliament. It is something physical that makes a statement. Last time I emailed the emails bounced back from full boxes!

Richard
So, as a nearly teenager male aged 10 this is how life looks to him…. after 8 years of not being disciplined due to the law not allowing it, he then discovers that the teachers that he was in awe of cannot discipline him either. From there he will learn that the police cannot touch him as he is classed as a youth and the worst thing he gets is taken away from his parents (this is no biggie for a lot of kids at that age and even younger) No point staying in school as the powers that be cannot even mark the papers properly and teachers can pick favorites to pass and the non conformists to fail. So what options are left for this child in this next few years : drop out of school, no need to get a job as the Government will supply money to sit around smoking and drinking, the police still cant touch him as he is too young. He can get a car and drive at a fast speed to avoid the police who have been told to avoid high speed pursuits. From here what do you think he will do? Obvious to me and hopefully to you too. All of this because why? He learns that he has no boundaries. We have to stop this as a nation or what we read in the papers now will become everyday news not just once offs.

Sean
That is a good idea to push New Zealanders out this nanny country, then we can see the property market falls. I have to say, the government has the long vision.

Lee
I wonder how many of the people advocating the beating of children, also advocate the beating of adults. We used to do that, and some countries still do. I’m perfectly happy to allow parents to beat their children, if the children anger them, as long as they extend to others the right to beat them (the parents) up if they do something that angers someone else. Of course that would be ridiculous, but then again, so is the position of people who want to beat their children. The fact is: if you can’t discipline your children without beating them, then you are an incompetent parent, and should have your children forcibly removed.

Andrew
I was unreasonably smacked as a child by a selfish, over-reactive father. Regardless, the damage done to me by good old government schooling was 1000x that of my sore butt. Why couldn’t Sue Bradford find a real issue to focus on? She has wasted a lot of time with this poorly prioritised issue.

A.Hooper
From having lived there the last 6 years, I would say the UK has arguably the worst adolescent behavioural and criminal problems of anywhere in Western Europe. It is important we ask ourselves why this might be, in light of the fact that the UK has had, until quite recently, very liberal laws regarding physical discipline by parents. Sweden legislated against parental violence toward children in 1978, Israel in 2000 and all of the following European countries have similar legislation to that proposed for NZ: Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Latvia & Norway. On the basis of the hysteria around the section 59 repeal proposal, I’d expect the above list of countries to embody pure anarchy and the breakdown of society, but in fact many of the listed countries are the envy of Europe in terms of adolescent behaviour and incidence of social problems. The onus is therefore on the pro-smacking lobby to explain how their projections account for this anomaly.

John (Torbay)
Read it carefully: “it is affirmed that police have the discretion not to prosecute”. That’s no protection for parents at all. It makes parents who smack law-breakers. Now we have to sit back and wait for our trusted police force to bring the first unwarranted prosecution.

Scroge (Dunedin)
Since this is such a controversial law I dont trust parliament to come to a publicly viable law and would suggest that since the community is so divided the best solution is to dissolve parliament and force the bill to be a election issue esp since Labour have made it a party vote bill and coercing some of its members to vote against their conscience ( to do so in times past would have been called contempt of parliament or potentially treason.) . Therefore in order to keep the Queens peace an election has to be called or parliament runs the risk of the publics contempt of them damaging parliamentary democracy in New Zealand.

Melanie (Henderson)
I smack my kids every day. Yes it leaves red marks, but if they have been naughty they deserve it and it is the only way to get the little buggers to sit up and listen. How I correct my kids is my business. I don’t care what law they pass, what goes on in my home will not change.

Matthew Barlow
This is pathetic. It doesn’t decriminalise parents, it only reminds police that they don’t have to prosecute. It doesn’t help law-abiding parents, who will have to break the law if they want to follow their conscience and correct their children by smacking. What we are left with is a butchered mish-mash of a section. Shame on you, John Keys, for giving in like this.

Dmw, Auckland
This is a sellout by National, when they had no mandate from the people to compromise. Parents will still be breaking the law. CYFS (the govt pitbull, answerable to noone) will break up families on unsubstantiated allegations.A very bad development, in danger of being cemented in place by National Party ineptitude, when they had the upper hand and support of kiwis nationwide. We need a referendum, urgently.

Felix Lee
This is a sellout. Sue Bradford had the numbers to pass the bill as it is, but she agreed to another amendment that will further weaken the bill. All forms of corporal punishment should be outlawed.

Angeline T (Auckland)
As a kid growing up I used to get smacked every time I did something that was either dangerous or really, really bad. Now that I am older (19) I realize why my parents did so and I don’t think it has done me any permanent damage but it has helped me grow up differentiating between good and bad. A child expecting a smack or whack for doing something bad can prevent them from doing so. It scares me to think what the govt is going to come up with next… This is meaningless and forcefully stupid.

Carolyn
I have been watching this debacle unfold before my disbelieving eyes. I have only contempt and disgust for Sue Bradford, John Keys and Helen Clark. Unfortunately, the breed of politician we have in NZ is sadly lacking. We, as a nation have told our MPs’s what the greater proportion of people want and once again we have been contemptuously told in no uncertain terms that what we want does not matter. It is another sad day in a long list of sad days. And, yes I would immigrate somewhere if I could.

I’veBeenSmacked
This amendment is repulsive. I am a 19-year-old female that has been raised in ways of (cultural) discipline. Personally, I think this amendment is a great way of solving one initial problem in order to create another massive load of unnecessary problems. The smacking of kids is one of the minor issues that need to be addressed in this country, there are major issues that necessitate attention and are at present being ignored for e.g. crime rates in general are rising higher and nothing has been done about it, the prisons are soon to be overcrowded? Does that not tell us anything about the NZ Crime rate? I don’t think the parents are the victims and that smacking will be a crime. There is the odd case when a parent will loose control of their anger and might cause harm to their child in a violent way that does not say that all parents are the same. I think this will reason unnecessary distress to police who will not know what case is to be taken seriously and what not. I don’t think they are assessing all areas that are and will be effecting by this bill taking place. Children are to be turning against parents and quite fairly I say this bill will be cleanly taken advantage of. But hey, no matter how hard we complain, they want this bill to go through it doesn’t matter what we think right? To help prevent and solve NZ’s real problems is their job; to try and mother the children of NZ is not their jurisdiction.

John
Now watch for the dramatic reduction in admissions to Aucklands (Childrens) Starship Hospital. Yeah right.

Jader Auckland
Well done John Key. A hero to the rescue of honest, ethical, law-abiding and loving parents who want to raise responsible children aware of cause, effect and consequence. A man to measure and watch for the future. My children thank you for their future.

Rosario Picardo
We all understand that beating up a child is not good. No parent would want to beat their children unnecessarily. If this bill has to go through then I suggest that only the actual parents of the child should be allowed to use smacking, and not caregivers or stepfathers or stepmothers. I know that if my parents had not smacked me when I was small, I would have ended up on the streets today. At that time I did not like it, but as I grew up I realised the importance. Secondly passing this in its present form will not solve the problem. In fact it will create even more problems, because those kids who would normally have been disciplined by their parents, would now take advantage of this and then end up on the streets as bad citizens. Even the Word of God in the Bible warns parents against not smacking their children when it is required. At present we have so many youth on the streets of NewZealand doing a lot of mischief. If this bill goes through more will end up on the streets, because their parents cannot do anything about it.What we need to do is encourage the parents to spend time with their children. So many parents are busy making money (both of them) that they have no time for their children. I can go on forever. I pray that our political leaders get some divine wisdom rather than relying on their own earthly wisdom.

Relic from Northland
Hello Communism, Goodbye New Zealand. How wonderful that our very own Chairman Clark and her comrades have now made us into criminals.
It was not hard to see that the Chairman cares only for herself and her comrades in office. I have long said the “Red Party” is overdue for toppling and now the proof has come for all to see. Until the last election I was a stanch supporter of the Labour party and had been for all my voting life, But there is no way under the sun that I will ever support Labour, National, the wally Greens or NZ last party. In fact I shall not even bother registering to vote next year. New Zealand has just become a socialist state and the “Red Party” has stuffed it for all decent and honest people. This is truly a said day in our history.Goodbye to the once proud country we had.

Allan
To quote the amendment: “..where the offence is considered to be so inconsequential that there is no public interest in proceeding with a prosecution.” What about their being no public interest in proceeding with this bill!? And this directive is for the police who can’t even keep their own house in order. No way should they be handed this responsibility. Keep S59 as is and let the courts define reasonable force. That is democracy.

Raj Subramanian
Now it is a bill giving reasons to use reasonable force even for “performing the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting.” Still it watered down the unreasonable use by asking Police to use discretion.I think at least the old rules gave discretion to courts to decide whether it was reasonable or not. Now the new bill says parent can smack if it is for performing normal daily tasks. I can only conclude that Sue Bradford wanted to abolish smacking but in effect allowed several wordings to allow smacking. It is a victory for opposition and a face saving compromise to Helen Clark handed over by lenient John Key.

Sally from Rotorua
No one seems to be thinking of the children in estranged homes who so often play one parent against another – an anti smacking Bill of this kind could be lethal for parents in this situation.

Greg for Wellington
Helen Clark seems to have taken a pragmatic decision. Ultimately, the bill was going to have this impact in the first place, but the media did such a poor job on reporting the bill, that this was needed. A victory for MMP. But a symptom of a poor media.

Kiri
Police discretion?…With all the hype about Police misconduct lately, I would say that the Police are as corrupt as your average drug dealer. I’m almost tempted to not even bother to vote in the next election. Let the kids run Parliament they do a far better job than the adults!

Amanda
I believe that this bill is insane. Perhaps they should bring in more people to work at CYFs, so that cases are addressed properly, rather than CYFs being overworked & things slipping through the cracks. As well as harsher penalties for those who beat their children, as there is a distinctive difference between a smack & a beating. They need to define very specifically what a smack is or isnt, so when people do anything that is harsh than the defined smack, they can be penalised as a result. What this bill has done is taken power away from parents – it is not the Govt’s job to tell people how to raise their children.

Barry (Albany)
They have squeezed the top off this boil but the infection remains. It is still a gross insult to tell innocent caring parents that they are lawbreakers and criminals but just police aren’t going to bother prosecuting. It still means every reported incident is going to have to be fully investigated by police. There is still nothing to stop CYFS from persecuting parents who use smacking as part of correcting their children, and even removing their children from a home on suspicion of “assault”. There is nothing to stop CYFS launching its own private prosecutions over smacking. It still opens the door for false accusations by rebellious children or people with a grudge, out to shame and time-waste the parents. It continues to focus on the short-term incident, the instant of smack, rather than on the parent’s long-term goal of building love and discipline into the lives of children so they become well-adjusted and productive members of society. Bradford will still have blood on her hands from those children who go off the rails and ruin their lives because parents were unable to effectively discipline them when it was needed.

Maria
John key’s compromise changes absolutely nothing – it will still be a criminal offense to smack your child. What does “inconsequential ” mean? Reasonable force is easier to understand and could easily have been defined as Chester Borrows has. Who wants to rely on the police on this issue? Helen Clark is just trying to win back favour and John Key is rapidly losing respect. NZ kids need to be corrected and sometimes a smack is the best way. Over 160,000 adults have already signed the petition asking for a referendum – make sure you add your signature to it too.

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