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Can Parents Have Confidence in the Proposed Anti-Smacking Law?

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on May 7, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Can Parents Have Confidence in the Proposed Anti-Smacking Law?
Sunday, 06.05.2007, 09:19pm (GMT12)

ANTI-SMACKING BILL

Can Parents Have Confidence in the Proposed Anti-Smacking Law?

But Clark said the proposed change was a “breakthrough” in that it provided assurance to good parents who were concerned they could be prosecuted for lightly smacking their children under the bill. She said the bill as it stood would have never done that, but inserting police guidelines into the legislation made that clear. –  Helen Clark (NZPA 2 May 2007)

National Party Leader John Key is pleased Labour will adopt a version of his amendment to the anti-smacking bill which he thinks will give parents confidence they will not be criminalised for lightly smacking their children .” – John Key (Media Release 2 May 2007)

BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT THE LAW SAYS!

The amendment simply says they may not be PROSECUTED for smacking their children – if the police thinks the force is “inconsequential” (whatever that means) and “not in the public interest” (but there is HUGE public interest by anti-smacking groups to ban all force.)

In response to an email from Family First to the Police Association, where we put a couple of scenarios of how a harrassed mother may deal with a child who is being defiant and a member of the public or even the child complains to the police, they said

The important thing to remember is that in both cases, a complaint has been made and police have an obligation to investigate . A file will be created and it will be assigned to an officer to investigate. They will interview witnesses, etc, as we always do, to establish the facts to the extent they can. It is then that a decision will be made.
 
Had Section 59 been repealed, under police policy, if there was evidence of an offence, the offender would have to be arrested. Now there will be a test applied as to whether the force was inconsequential or not which essentially means police can and will exercise some discretion.

As to whether CYFS will be notified, the answer as I understand it to be, bearing in mind I speak on behalf of the Association not Police, is that there is likely to be a notification if it is established some force has been used. This is the practice where a complaint involving a child is made.

ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE FACT THAT LIGHT SMACKS WILL STILL BE A CRIME

AND THAT ANY COMPLAINT AGAINST A PARENT WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE REFERRED TO CYF??
– despite the supposed compromise reached by Clark, Key and Bradford???

We believe that John Key and Helen Clark should make good their promise that parents will not be criminalised for lightly smacking their children. This should be explicitly spelt out in the legislation – not left to the Police. This would avoid good parents coming under the weight and stress of an investigation by the police and CYF if a malicious or unecessary complaint is made against them.

GOOD PARENTS DESERVE THE PROTECTION OF THE LAW

There are 3 things we’d like you to consider doing – if you agree with our concerns:

1. Email all NATIONAL MP’s and ask that John Key’s promise to parents is stated explicitly in the law – that parents will not be criminalised for light smacks. Also ask for a Conscience Vote on the issue

shane.ardern@parliament.govt.nz;   chris.auchinvole@parliament.govt.nzdavid.bennett@parliament.govt.nzpaula.bennett@parliament.govt.nz ; jackie.blue@parliament.govt.nz ; mark.blumsky@parliament.govt.nz ;   chester.borrows@parliament.govt.nz natalie.roberts@parliament.govt.nz david.carter@parliament.govt.nz john.carter@parliament.govt.nz ;
bob.clarkson@parliament.govt.nz ;   jonathan.coleman@parliament.govt.nz judith.collins@parliament.govt.nz brian.connell@national.org.nz jacqui.dean@parliament.govt.nz ;
lorraine.jones@parliament.govt.nz ;   christopher.finlayson@parliament.govt.nz ;   craig.foss@parliament.govt.nz ;   jo.goodhew@parliament.govt.nz ;   sandra.goudie@national.org.nz ;
tim.groser@parliament.govt.nz ;   sue.reid@parliament.govt.nz john.hayes@parliament.govt.nz phil.heatley@parliament.govt.nz tau.henare@parliament.govt.nz alwyn.black@parliament.govt.nz ;
emma.holmes@parliament.govt.nz ;   colin.king@parliament.govt.nz ;   wayne.mapp@parliament.govt.nz ;   murray.mccully@parliament.govt.nz allan.peachey@parliament.govt.nz ;
simon.power@parliament.govt.nz katherine.rich@national.org.nz eric.roy@parliament.govt.nz tony.ryall@parliament.govt.nz katrina.shanks@national.org.nz ;  
clem.simich@parliament.govt.nz ;   lockwood.smith@parliament.govt.nz ;   nick.smith@parliament.govt.nz ;   meg.dowrick@parliament.govt.nz ;   lindsay.tisch@parliament.govt.nz ;
anne.tolley@parliament.govt.nz ;   chris.tremain@national.org.nz nicky.wagner@parliament.govt.nz ;   kate.wilkinson@parliament.govt.nz maurice.williamson@parliament.govt.nz ;
pansy.wong@parliament.govt.nz ;   richard.worth@parliament.govt.nz ;
(simply copy these signatures and paste onto email)

2. Email all LABOUR MP’s and remind them that if the new amendment is as good as they say, allow a Conscience Vote for their MP’s

rbarker@ministers.govt.nz tim.barnett@parliament.govt.nz dbenson-pope@ministers.govt.nz mburton@ministers.govt.nz ccarter@ministers.govt.nz steve.chadwick@parliament.govt.nz ;
ritchie.wards@parliament.govt.nz ritchie.wards@parliament.govt.nz pm@ministers.govt.nz clayton.cosgrove@parliament.govt.nz mcullen@ministers.govt.nz dcunliffe@ministers.govt.nz ;
ldalziel@ministers.govt.nz hduynhoven@ministers.govt.nz rdyson@ministers.govt.nz russell.fairbrother@parliament.govt.nz darien.fenton@parliament.govt.nz ;
jan.gribben@parliament.govt.nz pgoff@ministers.govt.nz mark.gosche@parliament.govt.nz ann.hartley@parliament.govt.nz george.hawkins@parliament.govt.nz ;
dave.hereora@parliament.govt.nz marian.hobbs@parliament.govt.nz phodgson@ministers.govt.nz phoromia@ministers.govt.nz darren.hughes@parliament.govt.nz ;
shane.jones@parliament.govt.nz aking@ministers.govt.nz wlaban@ministers.govt.nz moana.mackey@labour.org.nz smaharey@ministers.govt.nz nmahuta@ministers.govt.nz ;
tmallard@ministers.govt.nz sue.moroney@parliament.govt.nz doconnor@ministers.govt.nz mahara.okeroa@parliament.govt.nz dparker@ministers.govt.nz ;
jill.pettis@parliament.govt.nz lynne.pillay@parliament.govt.nz mririnui@ministers.govt.nz ross.robertson@parliament.govt.nz dsamuels@ministers.govt.nz lesley.soper@parliament.govt.nz ;
maryan.street@parliament.govt.nz paul.swain@parliament.govt.nz jtizard@ministers.govt.nz margaret.wilson@parliament.govt.nz dianne.yates@parliament.govt.nz ;
(simply copy these signatures and paste onto email)

3. Continue to gain signatures for the Referendum .

There are already over 160,000 signatures on this petition demanding a Referendum on this exact issue ” Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a Criminal Offence in NZ”

You can download forms here http://www.familyfirst.org.nz/index.cfm/sign_the_petitions.html

Finally….

Please feel free to email us with your feedback and opinion on this issue. Email bob@familyfirst.org.nz 

Have a good week 

Kind regards

Bob McCoskrie


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One Response to “Can Parents Have Confidence in the Proposed Anti-Smacking Law?”

  1. Andy Moore said

    Good stuff.
    Keep up the good work guys.

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