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Your Views (P2)

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on May 3, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Your Views (P2)
Thursday, 03.05.2007, 10:39am (GMT12)

Ian (Blenheim)
John Key has seen the writing on the wall and managed to rescue his party from certain backlash in months to come. Imagine the effect of being linked to “hit the kids” and being with the “looney right”. Imagine offending the “mainstream” NZers who want things to be better for our kids. (The polls by the way depend on the question asked).

This Bill is still a part of the continuing “dumbing down” of the Law. Laws should be clear and straight forward. To say that the Police do not have to prosecute under certain circumstances even though by admission, the law has been broken in terms of how it is written is farcical. The Bill should not be passed into law. This is bad law and is part of the continual undermining of what law should be about. It won’t achieve what Sue Bradford says that she is trying to achieve and is a waste of time and meddling by politicians in familiy matters that they should not be involving themselves in. Get on and debate and solve the “real issues” affecting New Zealand.

Rachael Barton del Mundo (Auckland)
Personally I would have been happy to see Sue Bradford’s bill passed without the amendment. Having grown up in the 70’s with regular ‘hidings’ that went on for at least 10 blows to the backs of legs and bare buttocks at the full force of a grown man – it is horrifying to me that this was considered ‘reasonable force’. Parents always get the children they deserve… if you have a misbehaving child, take a look at your own actions – you have created this child in every way. If you are unable to change your own misguided actions why hit your child for your own failings? (And yes I do have a child, who those I know concur, is delightfully well behaved without the use of smacking!) I have lived in many countries over the past 15 years. At times I was ashamed to be a NZ’er when this issue would hit the international news. Most people I met abroad were aghast when they heard we still allowed smacking! They thought this had been put to rest in civilised countries decades ago. Can you imagine how that makes Kiwis look in the international community?? However this bill still defines all violence against children as illegal. Welcome NZ to the 21st century!

David – father of six.
So long as we get to the point where there is no support in the law of our land for hitting children then I am pleased. To all those parents who proudly write Your Views to proclaim that they will keep smacking their kids I say ‘shame on you’. You sound as though you would be disappointed if your children constantly ‘behaved well’ and therefore gave you no excuse to hit them. Do you all enjoy hitting children? Wouldn’t you prefer that we all live peaceful non-violent lives?

Tania (Aus)
Having left the beautiful country of NZ 5 years ago after watching it deteriorate this bill has finally confirmed we made the right decision. No democratic country in its right mind should pass a law like this when the majority of the country is against it. You no longer have a democratic society you have a dictatorship. Violence against children is repugnant however this law will not prevent violence. Parents who commit violent acts against their children do not care about laws. There is already laws in place and they still do it. It’s time judges stood up and did what they were supposed to do. Any decent person knows what is beyond a smack and if the courts are letting lawyers convince them that anything above a smack is reasonable then they shouldn’t be in the job. I have two beautiful children 9 and 3. The occasional smack helped them to understand right from wrong and to learn respect. I don’t have to use this form of discipline on my 9 year old anymore and my 3 year old isn’t far behind. Wake up NZ politicians. Why are you loosing so many good people to overseas. Because they want to live in a democratic country.

This will result in a greater deterioration of NZ society disrespect of authority including government and law, parents etc. I am deeply disappointed with National’s compromise. You want to tackle abuse check today’s paper it happens in our schools how about sending a strong message there.

Du Toit
Well done Helen and John, now please tackle the rogue dog problem.

If legislation really is going to stop the severe abuse, that is apparently targeted here, then legislate against severe abuse. Define what is wrong, not what is ok, and then leave the rest of us alone! Aren’t we capable of doing some things ourselves, perhaps that is even our right as a human, as much as kids have a right not to be severely beaten?

Another BS piece of legislation Auckland
Here we go again- the PC crowd getting their way. It’s about time the govt and the PC crowd minded their own business. How far are we going to let PC go ?? Will it get to the point where you can’t even yell in public?? The govt is there to run the country not run our lives. All to often it has to be as they want it. Pander to the minority. Discipline is the parent’s concern. What’s the bet that those that have supported this bill don’t adhere to it Behind the scenes and out of the public view they will do as they want.
With today’s children having their own way and being unruly, isn’t it about time a bit of good old fashioned discipline is applied ?? A good smack on the backside etc show’s who’s in charge and let’s the child know they have done wrong. All this molly codling is helping to create a generation that has not concept of authority. Well those that have voted for it hope you are happy. Don’t come whinging to us when it back fires.

John Key’s amendment to Sue Bradford’s anti smacking bill is all the vast majority of good New Zealand parents ever wanted to see. But why did Helen Clark allow list member Sue Bradford to drag the country through such divisiveness when the solution was always so simple? Key has shown he listens and understands the concerns of ordinary New Zealanders while Clark has yet again shown she now only listens to polls

Stacey (Auckland)
Well well well I agree with the 99 per cent of people who have posted their views here. This bill is ridiculous. I agree it will not stop child abuse. I cannot see how they think it will? As if child beaters are going to now stop because Sue Bradford said so. I plan to have children in the next few years & I still will smack them if needs be, but I am certainly no child beater. I also was smacked when I was a child & it taught me respect & right from wrong. I am disgusted that this bill is going to be passed. The young generations I e growing up are becoming more & more disrespectful, self-absorbed brats!

Warren G
For people old enough to remember the year the Homosexual Law Reform Bill was introduced, you may be feeling a sense of de-ja-vu. Paranoia reigns everytime someone wants to make a change in society; no-one likes change especially when the proposed changes challenge our views of sexuality, power and money. Parents in this country must face facts. It is not ok to use force to discipline children. Period. We can’t beat our animals by law, not even lightly. Enough said on that. As someone who grew up in a home where strict discipline ruled, I can testify to the long term impacts this type of parenting has on people. My (Pakeha) mother believed it was acceptable to beat us for any wrongdoing because she was god. She was Mother after all. Two of her children were taken away from her into Social Services care in the 1970’s; did this stop her? No. She never faced prosecution. In fact, she’s never admitted she was wrong to do what she did. The Police had no power to do anything.

Even proponents of the bill would have to admit that in a democracy the wishes of the majority should prevail. If you wish to change society use education, not legisation. The next question to ask is how do we remove a government which no longer responds to the wishes of the people? Does the Governor General still have the authority?

Claire Foster
There has been a strong “parents’ rights” backlash against the so-called anti-smacking bill, when the only point behind it is: Eliminating the defence of reasonable force in relation to assaults on children. This is clearly not about telling parents how to raise their kids. It’s about telling courts how to deal with people who are accused of assaulting their children. The process of being accused of assault is not changing. It’s at the other end, when the assault has already taken place and you’re before the courts using the defence of reasonable force.
If you’re interested in being well-informed on this issue, I suggest reading the information prepared by Barnados.

Chris G
The amendment is inadequate as parents have no legal protection in those marginal cases that the police may decide to bring a prosecution. Also there is no mention of other agencies (like CYPS) which can intervene without a prosecution. These should have been included.

Democracy: The anti-smacking Bill is clearly against the wishes of the electorate. In 1984, S 59 re teachers administering corporal punishment was repealed, against the parents wishes then too. Now PPTA wants panic buttons in classrooms and wearable alarms for school playground patrols. While the PM previously stated that she did not want a law, she will not allow a conscience vote on this Bill but she allowed conscience voting on the ‘sell your women into prostitution’ law. Where has this law worked before? It hasn’t. The Sweden experiment has proven that parents are powerless to stop rebellion in a home. Can we ring Sue Bradford when our homes turn to custard because the kids want to rule?

Why does it take an opposition minister to actually see sense? Isn’t it about time that we had someone in charge of our country that uses their brain for the good of the people and not to serve their own needs. Good on you John Key for using common sense.

I thought Sue Bradford was adamant that “her” bill had to be passed without any amendment or she would withdraw it. Politicians obviously don’t have to keep their promises. How do they live with themselves? Maybe by never looking in the mirror.

Mark from Auckland
My 89 year old grandmother has voted Labour her entire voting life. Because of the way Labour has pushed this bill, and because of the bill itself, she will not be voting Labour next year. Wow. Labour has to find that spooky.

I personally have never hit my children. They were not always angels and they did get into trouble and put myself as a father on the spot from time to time in regards to safety etc. Yet I sat down and explained it to them – it worked 100 per cent all the time. They are very well rounded, they have a good heart towards others and they are trusting and healthy emotionally and also say for themselves in their own words that “we never needed to be hit as my Daddy explained things to me”. This info gives the results clearly that bashing your kids, then that being covered over by the words “loving bashing”, or “loving smack”, is not needed at any point. I have watched the children of friends after seeing them bash their kids and smack them for absolutely no reason, and then over time seeing in the eyes of the children, the distrust and the unneeded emotional hurt. Throughout the ages children who were talked to like adults without the stupid childish voice like so many ignorant parents do still, was found that the children grew up to be mature adults with good compassionate hearts. Look at society, have we succeeded via the path that loves the bashing of children?

Why can’t Sue Bradford spend her time on a plan/bill to actually help prevent violence in the family as she “says” that’s what she wants, rather then this heap of rubbish, the only thing this is going to prevent is good parents bring their kids up well – those committing family violence are not going to stop because of this bill and she’s just kidding herself if she thinks it will.

Sarah (Wellington)
For goodness sake. Yet another bill passed to ‘help’ New Zealanders make the right decisions. If the government wants to take away mine and my husbands plans and decisions around the way we raise our children, they are welcome to pay for school fees, swimming lessons and new bikes too – in case we do that incorrectly. Why is the government so afraid to face the real issue and target the groups who are the most prolific child abusers? Must everyone be tarred with the same brush?

Beans on toast
As humans we used to stick kids in workhouses and thought that was ok, in fact we used to do a bunch of stuff to kids and thought it was fine, but laws were introduced and now we don’t, we think its appalling. Our culture is societally entrenched in the idea that physical force to correct behaviour and muzzle the brat within is ok, because its all we’ve ever known. That we can all say, ‘my dad broke the wooden spoon on my bum and I turned out alright’. It is time to begin a generational shift away from this attitude, to actually stick our necks out and attempt to one day live in a community where maybe our grandchildren will say to us ‘ you used to smack your Mum/Dad? thats awful!’ and look on in dismay. Children are Taonga/ Gifts, and can become strong enriched adults without turning into aimless bratlings if smacking is not employed. Perhaps it should be called the anti beating bill, so the hysterical ‘right to slap my kid on the hand’ sector would stop thinking they are all going to prison now. Maybe we will all think more carefully before laying our hands on our babies.

Fiona, Annoyed parent
I am very disappointed this bill is going through. There are some children who just dont listen to “no”. Sometimes a smack on the bum or hand is just what they need to comprehend that No means no. This will not help the current situation. It will waste police time and taxpayers money. Our kids today already lack the respect we were bought up with, this will only make things worse.

Angela, Concerned Citizen of NZ
80 per cent of New Zealand’s population are against this bill! Whatever happened to democracy? Our pleas against this Bill being passed appear to be falling on deaf ears. We voted for MP’s to represent us, not to follow their own agenda.

I support children having the same rights as adults in this case. There are over 60 agencies in NZ backing the repeal of section 59. Think about it…Barnardos, Plunket, The Children’s Commissioner,Families Commission, Children’s Issues Centre…. the list goes on…

I have a concern that we are simply replacing a very flawed system with a law that is equally as flawed. If I understand correctly the law as it stands means that using ‘reasonable’ force to discipline a child can be used as a defence for child abuse – not alright, however a judge or jury is to make the call on innocent or guilt. Under the new law parents who lightly smack won’t necessarily be charged, however now the balance of power has shifted and the police will make that call. Public opinion in the police is sadly not exactly at an all time high. Neither law is satisfactory and I think we should go back to the drawing board. Instead of changing laws that may disempower good parents, perhaps we should have parenting courses/workshops run that give parents confidence in setting boundaries and ways to deal with issues. Make these courses part of an anti -natal programme so all new parents have to attend. The other issue is it seems that most of the severe child abuse cases have been caused by relatives and drug abuse – so in that instance are we looking at the real problem?

Is anyone down there in wellington listening to us anymore? Is it just me or is New Zealand getting out of control and nothing is being done. Dont even get me started about the other woeful inadequacies we are currently putting up with. I agree that the real “at risk” children who are subjected regularly to severe abuse (not the whack on the rear end the majority of the population receive) at the hands of their parents probably wont see the change that is intended. Their parents are the type who arent going to stop and think ” gee whiz, this is illegal”. The fact is that the majority of us are responsible parents who are able to distinguish between a smack and a beating. Since when can a small party such as the Greens impose their ideals on this country without really even being challenged. Labour is a weak soup.

Concerned person
I feel that now we have the anti- smacking law coming in with the total lack of discipline of our young people, including teenagers. This is why the youth of today have no respect for anyone or authority as they now know that they can do what they like without any repercussions. What are or young growing up into without boundaries and guidelines? I am very against any excessive assaults on children but am a firm believer that a slap at the appropriate time stops a child from becoming a monster. I have had a 3 year old telling me you can’t smack me or I will ring the police. What does that tell you? I hate to think what future children are going to be like with out any boundaries.

Gees, no wonder more then half our kids are out of control? Just like the government, the police and councils!!! – what a stupid law! Helen Clark needs to have her own kids and maybe she will rethink twice!! – there goes my election votes for Labour or National. Destiny Church here I come!

Nahomi (East Auckland)
Smacking, like a knife, is a tool that can cause devious harm in the hands of the wrong person. Yet we all possess knives. We prefer to teach people to use them well rather than banning them. . Irresponsible and violent parents must be brought to book. This law will not serve that purpose; instead it will harm some of the best families in NZ. Eventually our society will pay the price. . Police must be asked to make a distinction between smacking used as a correctional tool by just parents on the one hand, and violent acts by irresponsible parents on the other, and ignore the former. As it stand now, it looks as if police are made to overlook an ‘offense’. How tragic is that . On the rare occasions when I did smack my children, I would never have labelled my actions as ‘minor and inconsequential’. I find this term highly insulting to parents who take child raising seriously.

Tim Saunders
This “amendment” makes precisely no difference in law whatsoever. The Bill, as proposed, will still make light smacking a criminal act. The police have always been permitted to exercise discretion on whether or not to bring proceedings, and stating this in the Bill will do nothing more than waste ink, and mislead people. Shame on our politicians for the dishonesty with which the debate on this bill has been conducted. It is clear that the criminal law is to be used, not to prohibit behaviour considered to be wrong by society in general, but to use the threat of punitive action by the State to scare people into acquiscence. This is positively Orwellian.

I agree with Richard below. To me, there is nothing loving about inflicting pain on a child. A hit, be it a light tap or a full on punch, is violence and causes pain, there is nothing loving about violence.

Wayne (Auckland)
Isn’t it wonderful how our glorious elected leaders decide to pass the buck and let the police decide how to proceed. So what’s next Beehive, telling us when it is appropriate to go to bed, or perhaps a bathroom break? Wonderful to see how my tax dollars are being spent.

I am confused, Are we talking about asasult ? or a smack? A smack never hurt any one, hitting , beating etc are quite different. Will some one please let me know what the difference is ?

Thom Grey
It’s neither a cop-out or concession on National’s part, it’s a straight-out shot of actually getting the best out of this law-to-be. There’s too much support for this bill in parliament, and it’s set to become law. Politics aside, the best possible thing Key could have done (and did) was adjust it so good parents do not become criminals. And while police may have discretion, the “inconsequential” as mentioned in the amendment will give parents a defence if police discretion (god forbid) fails and a parent has to defend himself/herself in a court of law.

Peter McK (Wellington)
For months, the National Party has been strongly criticising Sue Bradford’s proposed repeal (then amendment) of Section 59 of the Crimes Act. They and their supporters have run a highly effective political campaign. Now John Key has negotiated an amendment to the bill, which Helen Clark has endorsed. Peter Dunne’s name will be on the amendment, which Sue Bradford has accepted. The reality without John Key’s initiative this amendment would not have happened. So Labour has made a U-turn. The law will simply make that position – police discretion – more explicit. Labour has been against any amendment from the start but has now decided that its positioning was causing political damage to the point where it had to change its point of view. Clark has done the right thing here. Labour’s position was politically and intellectually unsustainable. U-turns are not always a bad thing to do, and when they correct a mistake they can only be welcomed. Credit has to go to John Key for pulling off the negotiations that led to this. He has proved herself a master of MMP.

I have only ever spanked my two kids twice: once each, when everything else had failed. On the bum with my hand. In both cases it was a memorable event for all parties concerned. When I had calmed down, explained in advance, carried out swiftly — ten of the best — and followed up by a hug and another explanation that it was done because I love them. In both cases, it was absolutely the right thing to do, and has never been necessary to repeat. Now, they are old enough to never require another one: there are other more effective ways. Parents should not lash out with their hands with a smack, neither should they use weapons like jug cords or belts or sticks of wood. Corporal punishment, done properly, is an exceedingly effective and efficient corrective method. It should never be outlawed. This bill is a silly farce. Next election I will be voting Destiny: I am not a member of their church, I’m not even Maori. But they do good work in the community, and their words match their deeds.

Jo (Te Puke)
Politics…. sheeeeesh, it’s fast becoming apparent that not only are they running the country, but are quickly running the NZ citizen household. Why don’t they just walk right in and tell else us where else we’re getting it wrong. Where the dickens did they get the public support will back anti-smacking. I am a small part of the public and I most certainly do not support their bill. Get out of my house!

I have recently moved here to New Zealand and I find that this proposed law really is awful, and does not address those that need it. Those who abuse will continue to abuse, parents now frustrated and have to find new ways to get their childrens attention. I think, they will start to yell at their children and cause mental and emotional scars instead of giving a smack on the bottom that leaves no mark at all. Also, what about children who attack their parents, are parents just to stand there and take it, because they will not be able to use reasonable force to put them in time-out to stop them, and if they were to use force then the child can complain, and the parent is then in trouble. I have such a child. This law is taking the away rights of parents to parent.

I am concerned that John Key and Peter Dunne have not defined “light smacking” in their addition to Ms Bradford’s bill, but are leaving that to police discretion. I am very concerned that our MPs haven’t researched other countries where smacking is banned and found that the ban makes no difference to the death rate by abuse for children, but increases the abuse rate rather than decreases it! I was hoping we could trust John Key to uphold wise standards, but this compromise gives discretion over to the police and social workers instead of clear guidelines in our law. Maybe its because they all know that we already have good law in place that prosecutes people who abuse children and that the original section 59 is good as it stands?

Yes now we can have more kids like the girl that murdered her mother in Christchurch. Well done NZ! Its the government who is ruining the kids of today! There are some people out there who need this bill but not some. Hmmmm is NZ such a perfect country to live in? One has to wonder and wonder…also stating that police decide between wrong and right when crime is reported, gees should they not look at correcting their staff first so they themselves dont go out there committing crimes.who really trust the police?

Parent and Grand parent
So a compromise has been reached regarding the ‘Anti-smacking Bill’. A compromise in order to catch votes? I find the entire issue confusing as no matter how much you legislate against such brutal behaviour what goes on behind closed doors in the home will still continue. Such was the case with my poor children – the only way to take them to safety was to remove both myself and them from our home forever. I understood that there was currently legislation in place to protect the unfortunate children who are abused by their parents (or others). Sadly this Bill will not stop violence against the innocent so why waste time and taxpayer money ‘compromising’ it.

If all sides of the debate had spent more time focussing on what they had in common and agreed with, then we might have got to this compromise solution sooner. Not that it is ideal. The more sensible route would have been to clarify what “reasonable force” meant. Leaving the police, CYFS and the courts to determine in large measure what is acceptable and what isn’t is both unfair on them, and dangerous. It smacks (no pun intended) of bad lawmaking. In actual fact, the new amendment still requires too much interpretation. The one positive out of this longwinded debate has been to highlight that we are finally moving from a society that justifies assaulting children to one that recognises that physical force in parenting needs to be a last resort (there are more creative forms of correction) and that when it is used, it has significant limitations on its use. While the new law will do little or nothing to curb child abuse, it might just have become a watershed in our general attitudes to parental correction and our tolerance of abuse of power. If so, in spite of the limitations of such a law, it will have done us a great service in our journey to being a more humane society.

Peter (Henderson)
The change is totally illogical. The Police are there to enforce the law, not to interprete the law. What this does is in effect move the responsibility for determining what is “reasonable” from the courts to the Police. Once the Police decide to charge you, because in their judgement the smack was “in the public interest”, there is no defence that your smack was reasonable. This could be very dangerous. It means that Police Officers, not the courts, will have the power to prosecute most adults in New Zealand. Say the Police suspect you of something. If they want a trumped up charge they will just ask your child if you ever smacked them. Most parents give at least a light smack at some point, so basically anyone will still be a target in the event the Police decide to use their power. The correct place to decide what is reasonable and unreasonable is in a court of law. Thats Justice. The proposal is abhorrent

Unconcerned Parent
I can only say that I brought up three children before this was ever an issue, they were rarely smacked despite some extreme provocation on occasion. They have grown into caring, successful, socially responsible citizens with hardly any chastisment, vitriolic invective or fear of god. There is nothing to fear from this bill, just treat your children with the respect you wish to be accorded yourselves, they are your responsibility not your property. Lead by example and try never to say “Do as I say not as I do” this just loses you the argument and you sound just like your parents and you know how much you hated that.

Karyn Hopper
The anti smacking bill will not stop adults beating NZ children to death. Do the NZ police have time for this stupidity?

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