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Most Maori Voters Oppose Child-Discipline Bill

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 29, 2007


Most Maori Voters Oppose Child-Discipline Bill    

A poll suggests there is strong opposition among Maori voters to the child-discipline bill, which the Maori Party supports.

The Marae Digipoll surveyed 1,000 Maori voters on both the Maori roll and the general roll and found that 80 percent of those surveyed do not support the Green MP Sue Bradford’s bill.

But party co-leader, Tariana Turia, says that shows a misunderstanding of what the bill actually represents.

She says during recent hui the party has made clear the bill is not anti-smacking, but aims to remove the defence of “reasonable force” when people are before the court on child abuse charges, but many still believe the bill is an anti-smacking one.

The poll has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

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Letter from John Key to Party Leaders on Smacking

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 28, 2007

Source: David Farrar DPF’s Kiwiblog

Letter from John Key to Party Leaders on Smacking

Even though Sue Bradford has said she will not back it, John Key has written to all party leaders seeking support for his compromise amendment. That amendment will defuse all the controversy from the bill and it will probably then pass with 110 or more votes.

The Key letter is:

I am writing to seek your support for a proposed amendment to the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill currently before the house. As you may know, I met with Sue Bradford MP to discuss this amendment with her on 25 April, and she has indicated she will not support the amendment.The amendment proposes removing the new subsections 59(2) and 59(3) and inserting a clause justifying the use of light smacking that is “minor and inconsequential”, while leaving in place the general prohibition on force for the purpose of correction in the purpose clause of the bill. A copy of the proposed amendment is attached.This amendment will allow good parents to feel reassured that they will not be criminalised by the new legislation, rather than relying on Police procedure to avoid investigation and prosecution. The clause will also provide clear guidance to the Police that light smacking of a minor and inconsequential nature should not result in prosecution.

It is unfair to rely on the Police to exercise their discretion to make this legislation work, simply because we as a Parliament lack the courage to codify the law in the way we expect it to be enforced. The reality is that there will be widely differing interpretations of this law, and of any procedures and guidelines attached to it, by Police around the country.

We all agree that the purpose of this legislation is to reduce New Zealand’s terrible rate of harming children, but we all probably agree that we do not want to see good parents criminalised for engaging in actions no one considers criminal. I simply believe it is bad law for Parliament to pass a piece of legislation outlawing an activity absolutely, and then expect the Police not to prosecute minor breaches.

My proposed amendment achieves the outcome that I think we are all after, and I seek your support for this change to the bill.

The amendment John Key proposes, to replace the 59(2) and 59(3) is:

Every parent of a child and every person in the place of a parent of a child is justified in lightly smacking the child in the course of their parenting duties if the smacking used was minor and inconsequential, notwithstanding Section 3 of the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Act 2007.

If an MP votes against that amendment, it will make it pretty clear they are voting to ban correctional smacking.

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SCOOP: Caregivers will be Criminalised

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 28, 2007

Source: SCOOP

Caregivers will be Criminalised

Press Release
27 April 20076

How Caregivers will be Criminalised Under Bradford’s Bill

If Green MP Sue Bradford’s ‘anti-smacking bill’ is passed into law, increasing numbers of childcare workers (e.g. creche and kindergarten workers) and those in the place of parents (e.g. grandparents, foster parents and guardians) will be charged with criminal assault by the police for lightly smacking children for “correction” purposes and will find themselves before the Courts defending actions which the vast majority of good parents consider perfectly justified as part of good domestic disciplinary procedures.

As one leading New Zealand barrister, Mr Peter McKenzie QC, has reported in a comprehensive legal opinion on the effect of the Bill, some could even find themselves charged with criminal assault for applying “force” for removing troublesome and recalcitrant kids to “time-out” or “naughty-mat” zones because the discipline was done with the intention and for the purpose of “correction”. The intention of Bradford’s flawed bill, as clearly stated, is to make the use of all force illegal when used for “correction” by parents or those in the place of parents.

Sadly, the New Zealand public has too often seen the ugly face of badly applied law. Some cases have involved the domestic discipline of children (the case of the criminalising [for assault] of foster parents Don and Anne Eathorne through the actions of CYFS) and others involving public facilities where children are cared for by dedicated staff (The notorious Christchurch Creche case). An example of the latter, is the case involving a create worker – Judith Anne Hende – who was wrongfully convicted and sentenced in a District Court for an assault on a child in her care and charged with wilfully and without lawful justification or excuse, stupefying a child (W) under her care. In 1995 the guilty verdict for stupefying was set aside by the Court of Appeal and the conviction was quashed. The Court directed that a judgment and verdict of acquittal be entered. Hende had been fined $1,000 by the District Court on the charge of stupefying a child.

More important to the debate over Bradford’s anti-family bill is the fact that when the Court of Appeal dealt with Hende’s conviction for assault, its ruling was that it be set aside and “the appellant be discharged without conviction”.

The Queen v Judith Anne Hende (CA196/95)
Coram: Eichelbaum CJ, Hardie Boys J and Henry J
Hearing 24 July 1995 (at Auckland)

On 18 September 1995 Judge Eichelbaum CJ issued the Court of Appeal’s Judgment that in part dealt with the assault charge against Ms Judith Anne Hende and he “discharged [her] without conviction”. Hende, the appellant, was a licensee of a creche and had appealed against her conviction and sentence for assault and other matters, by a District Court. The assault charge was laid by the police under s. 194(a) of the Crimes Act. It was alleged that she assaulted a child (S) under the age of 14.
Eichelbaum CJ stated in his Judgment:

“The particulars alleged were ‘hitting child when [the child was] going berserk’ … The only prosecution evidence of the assault was in the depositions of two witnesses who were unavailable to give evidence at the trial.” [Permission was granted by the Judge for the depositions to be read at the trial.]… “The second witness (the sister of the first) said she saw the appellant smack the child twice with her open hand on his bottom, two smacks one after the other on the same occasion. Cross-examined briefly, she agreed her memory about what exactly happened was a bit hazy, and that the smacks would not have hurt.”

“Given, however, that as to the nature of the assault the Court had only the bare words quoted [by the witness], there was no justification for treating the incident as involving anything more than a pat on the bottom. Although technically an assault, it did not merit the stigma of a conviction and the fine [of $250] imposed”

“…the appellant has been through a seven day trial and two hearings before this Court, and the events are now three to four years old”

This tragic case highlights how police, even after presumably applying careful discretion (we doubt it in this case), will readily lay charges for a mere “technical assault” for incidents involving a mere “pat on the bottom”, and allow such trivial matters to be taken to Court leading to the stigma of a conviction and a fine being imposed on an innocent child care worker. Police merely do their job when Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and similar agencies – the so-called “experts” in child advocacy – fail to apply commonsense, are consumed by their own misguided zeal and ideological bias and are goaded into action by parents with their own agendas. The Police regularly hand the troublesome matter from the basket labelled “Too Hard” – to the Courts – relying on the legal “experts” to decide. Police are too busy chasing serial rapists, child molesters, bank heist professionals, and those committing aggravated robberies and sexual assaults, to be bothered too much by cases involving children being patted on the bottom.

It is staggering and hard to believe that such trivial and ridiculous cases as those involving some of the charges laid against Judith Hende, end up in Court even without Ms Bradford’s bill becoming law! When it does become law – God forbid – the gloves are off! Agencies like CYFS will pursue all manner of trivial prosecutions against decent parents who seek to administer corrective discipline to their children for serious wrongdoing. They will use the police to hide behind. Bradford’s absurd and naïve claim that police discretion is the only filter needed to ensure that parents will not be criminalised for trivial cases involving light smacking etc. deserves the cynical response “Yeah Right!”.

It is noteworthy that on the charges of “ill-treatment” for which Hende was convicted by the District Court and sentenced to 200 hours community work, the appeal was allowed on a number of counts and a new trial was ordered by the Court of Appeal. A number of the key verdicts were therefore ordered to be set aside and a new trial was ordered.

The New Zealand public have overwhelmingly indicated via numerous opinion polls that they strongly oppose the repeal of section 59 and oppose Bradford’s “anti-smacking bill” – one that even if passed, will make no difference to rectifying the serious problem of child abuse in this country. The SPCS wants the serious problem of child abuse properly investigated by the government and the real root causes addressed urgently.


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SCOOP: Bradford Fails to Answer Questions on Bill

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 28, 2007

Source: SCOOP

Bradford Fails to Answer Questions on Bill

27 April 2007

Bradford Fails to Answer Questions on anti-smacking bill

The Society is very concerned that Ms Bradford appears unable or unwilling to answer key questions put to her regarding her unpopular private members bill that is opposed by over 80% of New Zealanders.

In an Open Letter to her dated 23 March (copied below) the Society sought urgent clarification on four matters relating to her contradictory public pronouncements on her bill that seeks to remove the defence of “reasonable force” for “correction” (that can be used currently by a parent against a charge of assault on a child), from Section 59 of the Crimes Act (1961). The explanation given by the Green Party for her lack of response is that she is “very busy”. Green Party worker, Ms Fran Tyler, has undertaken to give her the hurry up.

Tens of thousands of concerned parents who may face charges of criminal assault for lightly smacking their children for the purposes of corrective discipline, should Bradford¡¯s flawed anti-family bill pass into law, await answers to the important questions the Society has raised. Bradford says the aim of her bill is to make it illegal for any parent or person in the place of parent to use any “force” for the purpose of “correction”. However, the bill does not specifically define what constitutes “force”.

On the other hand, she has agreed to retain the defence of “reasonable force”, but only for parents who she claims might face a charge of criminal assault for removing a child from harm¡¯s way etc. But she is adamant that this defence cannot be used if the action is undertaken with the intent or purpose of “correction”: in whole or in “part”. In effect she has made an ass of the law. Current law provides a clear justification for the use of “reasonable force” by parents for correction. Bradford is seeking to make that which is perfectly legal, illegal, and thereby she undermines the authority of good and loving parents.


RE: Sue Bradford’s Private Members Bill dealing with Repeal of s. 59 that is opposed by 80% – 90% of New Zealanders polled.

23 March 2007

Dear Ms Fran Tyler

Please thank Ms Bradford for the answers she has supplied to the Society’s questions (1-4) re her bill.

[See: However, having studied her answers, we are unable to comprehend how her position can be logically coherent within a legal framework. All our members feel the same way.

Please present to her a few short follow-up questions seeking urgent clarification. We would appreciate her prompt assistance.

Re Queston 1.

If as Ms Bradford stated on TV One’s Agenda programme: “It’s actually illegal now to smack your child” – why has she in responsed to Q 1 by stating: “Some smacking is therefore illegal under the current law.” [Emphasis added]. We believe that it follows logically from the latter statement that some smacking is LEGAL; therefore the Agenda programme comment is inconsistent and misleading to say the least.

Questions: seeking clarification:

1.. How does Ms Bradford reconcile the apparent inconsistency between her two statements quoted and b.. What forms of smacking does she consider legal under the current Crimes Act? c.. Is it the smacking that is legal under current law or that which is illegal under current law that her bill intends to make illegal, or is it both forms? d.. Does Ms Bradford consider that it is unlawful under current law for a parent or person in the place of a parent to use “reasonable force” in the context of domestic discipline, for the purpose of correcting a child who exhibits extreme defiance and/or disobedience despite a number of clearly defined warnings to desist from wrong behaviour (see section 59 of Crimes Act)? e.. Is it the intention in her bill to prevent parents from correcting their children by using ANY actions that involve “reasonable force” in the circumstances? (vi) If so why, and why particularly has she sought to make illegal the use of ALL forms of force for correction carried out by the parent to achieve compliance from the disobediant/defiant child? Re. Questions 2-3

(vi) In the light of Ms Bradford’s negative answers concerning the lawful use of “reasonable force” in self-defence (s. 48) and by ship’s captains (s. 60), which we accept as correct; why did she state on Agenda “It’s actually illegal now to smack your child” when she knew full well that this is untruthful (s. s. 59) and has now done a U-turn on by stating: “Some smacking is therefore illegal under the current law.” (see above)? [Note the “reasonable force” defence provisions in s. 59, 60 and 48 serve the same purposes in protected those who use the force and those subject to the force].

Re Queston 4

(vi) Ms Bradford agreed to amendments to her bill which she now admits she did not feel were necessary, but agreed to in order to alleviate some doubts by some submitters – as she puts it “assertions by some submitters on the Bill that it [use of reasonable force for removing kids from harms waty etc.] may not be so justified”. In the light of these concessions to submitters, why is she opposed to a clarification of s. 59 (the Borrows amendment) so that judges can point jury members to a clearer definition of “reasonable force” as it applies to actions taken by parents in corrective discipline on children?

Yours sincerely

David Lane


Society for Promotion of Community Standards Inc.

P.O. Box 13-683 Johnsonville  


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Bill assumes all parents ‘beat’ their children

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 27, 2007

Source: Scoop

Bill assumes all parents ‘beat’ their children


Mass gathering at Parliament Grounds
Wednesday 2nd May at 12.30pm  

25 April 2007

Anti smacking bill assumes all parents ‘beat’ their children

Organisers of next week’s mass gathering at Parliament Grounds to oppose the anti-smacking Bill are disappointed that John Key has not been able to negotiate a positive outcome with the Bill’s author, Green MP Sue Bradford, but are not surprised.

“Supporters of the Bill are working from the basis that they believe all New Zealand parents are child beaters. The message Government is sending to parents is that they simply cannot be trusted to raise their own children and the State can do a better job. Well we think the vast majority of kiwi parents will disagree,” say the organisers.

Repealing section 59 of the Crimes Act will expose parents to criminal prosecution should they lightly smack their children in circumstances normally deemed reasonable and appropriate. The Bills supporters argue that police will not prosecute in such cases, which raises a fundamental question – why introduce a law they have no intention of enforcing?

“The police and CYF’s will be duty bound to investigate such matters, regardless of whether a prosecution eventuates or not. And it is the judicial system that determines guilt, not the police. So this Bill by its very nature will put all New Zealand parents at the mercy of the State, which is a very scary prospect,” add the organisers.

To that end, a mass gathering at Parliament Grounds is being organised for Wednesday 2nd May at 12.30pm to oppose the anti-smacking bill. Speakers include Bishop Brian Tamaki, Pastor Peter Mortlock, Wellington Reverend Mike Weitenburg and former All Black and Wellington Hurricanes Captain Bull Allen.

Event details can be viewed on  


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S 59 Debate: The Horror that is Sue Bradford

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 26, 2007

Source: On Both Their Houses

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

S 59 Debate: The Horror that is Sue Bradford

This note follows up a post from last week in which I argued in detail that smacking (or smacking for correction) is currently legal (and not assault), and that that’s what repealing or amending S 59 changes, criminalizing smacking or smacking for correction (turning it into assault).In this post I draw out some of the consequences of that earlier result for Sue Bradford in particular.1. Sue Bradford owes an apology to every parent in the country for her oft repeated, legally incorrect, and deeply offensive claim that every parent who’s ever correctively smacked his or her child has assaulted them or committed any sort of offence. If Bradford gets her way then that will be legally correct going forward. But her claims have been about the present and past, and for that she deserves endless rebuke. People who would otherwise consider voting Green should let that party know that they will not consider voting for them again until Bradford retracts and apologizes for her disgusting, self-serving, simple-minded, rhetorical overkill.

2. Bradford has not had a kind word to say about attempts to amend S 59 to sharpen up what “reasonable force” allows and disallows in the case of parental discipline of a child: the tack taken by Canada’s Supreme Court, by NSW’s legislature, and by Chester Borrows’s Amendment [pdf]. Here’s Bradford chatting on Agenda about that possibility:

“To accept Chester Burrows amendment would be the worst possible thing we could do for the kids of this country it would make the situation worse than the status quo we have now because what it would mean would be parliament and the state legitimising the level and degree of violence that it’s okay to use against children.” (my italics)

As many commentators, including Richard Long immediately on Agenda noted, this is a truly extraordinary position for Bradford to try to hold. Tightening up/refining/restricting/bounding S 59 logically has to improve on the status quo if removal of S 59 is your goal. If 0 is your goal and you’re starting at 10 then any (positive) x less than 10 is an improvement. Or if ending abortion is your goal then restricting it just to the first trimester say, or ruling out some of the more gruesome techniques, or placing a bunch of other conditions on availability of abortion services simply has to constitute progress by your lights.
Consider that S 59 says

  • Every parent of a child is justified in using force by way of correction towards the child, if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances

Borrows then “shades out”, adding that force is unreasonable if it

  1. Causes or materially contributes to more than transitory and trifling harms, or
  2. Involves using a weapon, tool, or other implement, or
  3. Is inflicted by any means that is cruel, degrading or terrifying

(Borrows’s amendment also narrows the decriminalizing effect of S 59’s justification just to assault charges, which is very anomalous in my view, and would alone be reason to prefer NSW’s Crimes Act 1900 S 61AA over Borrows’ Amendment. But set that aside here.)
Let’s have some more of Bradford on Agenda:

“[W]hat Chester’s saying is that if his amendment went through it would be okay to beat our kids in this manner. So if you put a child’s hand on an electric fence for a moment that’s okay, that’s transitory, so it’s actually – it’s the State legitimising the use of violence against kids and that’s even worse than what we’ve got now.” (my italics)

Note that Bradford can’t resist being truly contemptible with her “electric fence” example. That’s clearly ruled out by Borrows’s clause 2. Bradford knows that, but says it anyway. How vile. But let’s set that aside as we must.
What is going on with Bradford? Is she denying what has to be an improvement by her lights just as part of her larger (“all-or-nothing”) bargaining strategy? Or is she just nuts? While both of those explanations seem to me to tell part of the story, I also think it’s clear that Bradford’s engaging in a specific sort of opportunistic incoherence. Let me explain.

Recall from our
earlier post that much of the time Bradford holds the completely implausible view that S 59 doesn’t legalize anything, that smacking is always an assault, that S 59 is “just a defence”, and so on. If Bradford actually believed that then whatever adding a little more detail to S 59 a la Borrows’s Amendment would achieve, it wouldn’t legalize anything, it would just be a tweaking of the details of how a defence might be used. Opportunistically, however, Bradford uses the advent of the new conversational context a tightening up/refining/restricting/bounding of S59 provides to jump ship (change horses?) to the more plausible, and legally well-founded view that justifications create proceduralized exceptive clauses.
It serves Bradford’s purposes to pretend that the status quo doesn‘t work that way because she wants to maintain that her proposed changes to that status quo don’t introduce any new criminality into that system. That’s deeply deceitful as we’ve seen, but to the extent that Bradford can get people who are currently invested in the status quo to believe that lie, it helps make her own proposals seem less threatening and relatively minimal and technical.
Borrows’s Amendment and related proposals aren’t the status quo, hence there’s no standing majority to be bothered trying to seduce with lies and general deception. Bradford’s strongest move against an alternative novel proposal without a constituency is (general coherence be damned!) to just to beat it back on its (de)merits. And that means painting it up in strongly legalizing/permission-giving terms. It’s intellectually disgraceful to pivot like that depending on very narrow, audience-specific, contextual features, but such switches are Bradford’s incredibly irritating bread and butter.

3. What would be a better argument for Bradford to make? Well, a relatively sane alternative would be for her to agree that Borrows’s Amendment-style proposals improve on the status quo, but argue that they don’t go far enough (and also to try to explain why people who do think they go far enough are mistaken). Sometimes Bradford sounds like she’s doing exactly that and that she’s abandoned her spurious comparative point. Thus, in a broadly charitable spirit, let’s suppose that her “Borrows would be even worse” idea is just a sideshow for rubes, and that Bradford’s real point is of this other, more intelligible sort.

Here’s Bradford questioned by a very sympathetic Paul Holmes:

‘Yeah, but what’s the big deal about a smack every so often? ….”Because one person’s smack is another person’s violent assault.”‘

And here she is again:

“It is impossible to create a [Borrows-like] definition that would protect children, given that gross harm, and even death, can be caused without leaving a mark on the human body. Health professionals, including paediatricians working with abused and beaten children every day, say there is no safe level of violence.”

It’s not clear at all what the problem here is supposed to be, so let’s distinguish three quite different cases that are at least in the vicinity of what Bradford seems to be talking about.

  • Crazy parent. You smack your child to correct them, crazy parent with exactly the same ostensible motivations as you breaks out the tire iron and baseball bat.
  • Ninja parent. No matter how low you set threshholds (or how much force you rule out as unreasonable), Ninja parent can use her ninja powers to kill her child within those parameters, e.g., with the lightest touch and without leaving a trace.
  • Unlucky parent. No matter how low you set threshholds 1-per-million smacks (say) will have some godawful unexpected consequence involving unintended serious injury etc. to the child. Some parent – and her child – is going to be unlucky.

Should crazy parent worry us? Sure, but only in the way that other crazy figures such as crazy drink-driver do. One persons’s well-within-limits beer-after-work and drive home is another person’s licence to drink wildly and drive off completely plastered (perhaps because they think they can “handle their liquor” in a way most other people can’t). Is crazy drink-driver an argument for alcohol prohibition or for “zero-tolerance” of alcohol in drivers bloodstreams? Perhaps, but it’s not an argument we actually accept, both because:

  1. Zero-tolerance (let alone prohibition) is too high a price to pay to defend against crazies, and
  2. We have relatively little confidence that a renegade figure such as crazy-drink-driver will be differentially impacted by whatever laws we make anyway. They’ve shown that they’re willing to break our current law wielding whatever budget of self-serving rationalizations you care to mention. Why wouldn’t they be just as renegade under whatever other scheme we institute? They’re a menace, no two ways about it. But they’re also substantially independent of everyone else, and an enforcement challenge within any conceivable regime. Hence they don’t get to dictate a hyper-defensive and obtrusive policy for the law-abiding.

The only way that I can see for Bradford to possibly block this line of reply is to try to deny that the smacking and drink-driving cases are parallel. Roughly, her reply might go as follows:

In the alcohol case there is an upside associated with, as it were, good people being able to drink, or with their being able to consume a modest amount of alcohol and still drive home. That then has to be weighed against the costs of, say, a few more crazies than there might otherwise be (say). In the smacking case, however, there is no upside from good people smacking, or, more modestly, there’s a much much smaller upside. And because the crazy smacking case essentially involves children, the down-side is much greater so that the same calculation in this case goes in favor of prohibition or zero-tolerance.

The problem with this reply is that it’s just sheer assertion on Bradford’s part. If parents think there’s an upside to smacking (and they’re right – see our posts here and here – to be skeptical about the current, empirical anti-smacking literature) then that’s what goes into the calculation. Bradford isn’t entitled to assume that they’re wrong about that. And if people aren’t convinced that crazy parent/smackers are seriously mitigatable by any anticipated law change (rather they calculate that the down-side that the crazies represent is relatively independent of the legal niceties that would impact the non-crazy substantially), then again Bradford isn’t entitled to substitute her judgment for everyone else’s.

Should Unlucky parent worry us? Sure, life’s not risk-free. Every time you put your kid in the car with you, something could happen. Every time you let them walk to school rather than drive them, something could happen. Every million meals parents cook, some kid chokes or has have a devastating reaction, or…. Every million times a kid steps on to a football field someone gets seriously hurt. And so on. We accept the risks, and we manage them. The unlucky parent is hideously unlucky: if they hadn’t let their kid play rugby, if they hadn’t let them walk to school by themselves, if they hadn’t smacked them, then this almost incredible, long-shot possibility wouldn’t have happened. That’s brutal. And that’s life. Of course, if you’re Bradford then there’s no need to live with any long-shot (borderline science-fictional really) downsides from smacking because, again, according to her there’s no upside or only a vanishingly small upside from smacking (unlike with going to the mall, being able to walk to school, playing rugby, and so on). But again that’s not Bradford’s call to make except for her own family. There’s no reason to expect every family to make exactly the same tradeoffs between child safety and the richness of their children’s lives. Decisions about the costs and benefits of within-threshhold physical discipline seem likely to work the same way. So long as seat-belts are used, helmets are worn, normal food precautions taken, within-threshhold force used…. that’s all she wrote.

Should Ninja parent worry us? The silly name, of course, gives away my answer: No. Recall Bradford’s remark:

“It is impossible to create a [Borrows-like] definition that would protect children, given that gross harm, and even death, can be caused without leaving a mark on the human body.”

What’s the problem supposed to be here? Borrows forbids force that

  1. Causes or materially contributes to more than transitory and trifling harms

where explanatory notes say that “transitory and trifling” refers, following Common Law precedent, to a sting or redness from a smack which disappears after a few minutes. Similarly NSW Crimes Act 61AA says that force used by a parent in correcting/punishing her child must

  • Reasonably be considered trivial or negligible in all the circumstances, and is not reasonable if the force is applied:(a) to any part of the head or neck of the child, or (b) to any other part of the body of the child in such a way as to be likely to cause harm to the child that lasts for more than a short period. (my italics)

But then Bradford’s somewhat spooky cases in which, by ninja powers or otherwise, the parent causes “gross harm, and even death… without leaving a mark on the human body” are exactly cases in which the force is unreasonable because some non-transitory/lasting, non-trifling/non-trivial damage has been inflicted.
While both Borrows and 61AA are undoubtedly guided by the idea that visible lasting physical harms such as bruises, welts, cuts are realistic paradigms of what will now be forbidden, it’s the broader category of lasting and non-trivial harms they forbid. Sue Bradford makes it seem as though
under proposals such as Borrows and 61AA, any force that doesn’t cause visible bruising etc. is OK. But that’s just malevolent misreading on Bradford’s part: the rough rule is any force that only causes transitory and trifling stinging/harm is OK. If the force causes bruises it fails, if it causes internal organ rupture but no surface bruising it fails, and so on. Ninja parents and any others who cause massive damage without bruising etc. have used force unreasonably. The “impossibility” that Bradford alleges does not exist.

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No smacking compromise

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 26, 2007

Source: David Farrar DPF’s Kiwiblog

No smacking compromise

One should give credit to Sue Bradford for her willingness to talk to John Key on a compromise, even though no agreement could be reached. This is not entirely surprising considering Bradford has always said she is unwilling to define any acceptable level of force – even light smacking, as being worse than the status quo

Plaque on both their houses points out how extraordinary Bradford’s position is – arguing that reducing the level of acceptable force is worse than the status quo.

Now Bradford has come out and said that the fear parents have that this bans smacking is the fault of bill opponents. But having had occasion to reread her bill this week, her protestations of innocence do not add up. Just look at the official purpose of the Bill:

The purpose of this Act is … abolishing the use of parental force for the purpose of correction.

Now this is as clear as day. None of this Clark bullshit about just removing a defence. The purpose of the Bill is to abolish the use of parental force for correction. Now it could not be clearer. Smacking is a subset of parental force for correction. The purpose of the Bill hence is to abolish or ban smacking. These are Bradford’s own words in her own bill.

This is why compromise could not be found. The aim of the bill is to abolish the use of any parental force for correction.

Now looking through the Bill again I found to my horror the amended Bill is far far worse, in my opinion, than the original Bill was.


The original bill merely deleted Section 59. It left the law silent on parental correction. It meant there was no specific statutory defence, but the judicial authorities would be able to consider the circumstances of particular cases.

But the amended bill goes far beyond just abolishing the specific defence. It states in s59(2):

Nothing in subsection (1) or in any rule of common law justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction.

I should have highlighted this earlier. This doesn’t just remove parental correction as a defence. It outlaws it by statute. And even worse it specifically wipes out any ability of a court to consider common law in its interpretation. I’d say that any case that makes court, no matter how trivial, will be a slam dunk for the prosecution. Because 59(2) explicitly rules out any defence.

So when Sue Bradford and Helen Clark claim the bill does not outlaw or ban smacking, remember these two things:

(1) The stated purpose of the Bill is to abolish the use of parental force for the purpose of correction(2) Section 59(2) explicitly forbids the use of any force for the purpose of correction

So remember this bill is not just about removing a defence. The Bill’s own purpose states it is about banning parental correction which uses force, which includes smacking.

Comments (121)

Graeme Edgeler:

The Green argument is essentially that, yes, the bill does ban smacking, but it doesn’t criminalise parents, because they won’t be charged.

That is, it isn’t denied that smacking will be illegal but because they use a definition of criminalise which requires a conviction parents won’t be “criminalised”.

Good parents won’t be criminalised, so the argument goes, because to be criminalised, first the parent would have to break the law, then be investigated, then be charged, then be found guilty, then be convicted – which Bradford quite reasonably asserts is highly unlikely.

It’s a stupid definition of criminalise, but if adopted then the conlusion is at least logical.

David Farrar:

Heh such Green logic – so that means if I drive at 150 km/hr I am not breaking the law unless they catch me 🙂

Andrew Davies:

This whole debate is a sham.

Bradford knows this is not about child abuse. It is about giving politicians with totalitarian instincts the ability to target families.

Strong families means a population more able to govern themselves. This means a strong nation which requires only small central government. Big government advocates know that when families are weakened we lose a bit of that ability to govern themselves. This then gives them the excuse they need to fill the breach.

Bradford will not compromise as she is determined to give bureaucrats the ability to be proactive in investigating families, especially families who belong to a group\political persuasion\religious belief she may not like. How long will it be before Plunket, CYFS etc are given the power to investigate how some, or even all families, discipline their children?

Meanwhile true abusers will continue anabated.


Whether one supports the intention of this Bill or not, one cannot honestly say that a) this is well-drafted legislation, and b)this Bill is a representation of the sentiment and will of the constituency.

Bad, bad, bad legislation. Who are these clowns, and why do they think they can try to dupe us and still expect us to vote for them?

Chuck Bird:

When is John Key going to do something meaningful to stop this legislation? He should have made it clear that if National’s suggestion was not accepted that National would repeal the legislation when they become government and if necessary bring that dopey blonde into line,


I don’t condone the smacking of children in any way. As a parent of 2 and a foster parent of 14 I have delivered a few well placed smacks in my time. Always followed at the appropriate time by an explanation and a hug.I usually felt like crap afterwards. However, most of the time it achieves it’s desired result and no long term harm is done. My kids are now in there 20’s and I am very proud of the young adults they have become.

However, even believing in a utopian world where smacking isn’t needed or administered, doesn’t stop Bradfords bill from being bad law IMO. Bad laws should not be passed. I really think it is that simple.


Agree 100%, Chuck. John Key needs to stand for something. Here’s a chance to claim 80%+ of NZ voters, and he is just watering down the anathema. Who gave him the mandate to compromise?

I suggest that he not only states the National Party will remove this bill completely, but that he also backs the two referenda, with all the resources at the National party’s disposal. That way, it is forced into the public arena at the same time as the next General Election, and no one can forget who passed this vile legislation, just when they are choosing their party vote.

kiwi in america:

David – once again your analysis on this subject has been spot on. I hope the media who read your blog will pick up on these two gems and run hard with it so that the wavering MPs can feel even more electoral opprobrium if they support this ludicrous law change.


How long will it be before Plunket, CYFS etc are given the power to investigate how some, or even all families, discipline their children?

CYFS already have this power…

james cairney:

David: This Bill has been in this form since (November?), this is hardly a revelation. It was always intended as a smacking ban, and it does achieve this in law, (aside from possibly some far fetched examples I wont get into). This is why I stated that in most cases the defence will will not get put the jury by the Judges.

“And even worse it specifically wipes out any ability of a court to consider common law in its interpretation.” Not quite, and there is also the possibility for the development of a defence of de minimis, or ‘to trivial to warrant the criminal sanction’.

I accept it is a smacking ban, and always have. Whats more, I think it is a good move. What has shocked me, has been that the opposition to this Bill (includind yourself), have not been able to grasp what the Bill actually is, apparently until now. The National party themselves have been completely inconsistent about what this Bill achieves, criticising it for doing nothing, for doing too little, and for doing too much.

You deserve credit for your honesty over this Bill David (amongst a sea of bull-shit I might add), but you really need to solidify your grounds for opposing Bradford’s Bill.

Graeme Edgeler:

Not quite DPF – I believe the argument is that if you drive your car at 150km/h you are (technically?) breaking the law, but you are not a “criminal” until caught and fined.

phil u:

andrew said..

“..It is about giving politicians with totalitarian instincts the ability to target families..”

(whoar..!..some of us march to the beat of a different

whipping up paranoid fantasies/souffles..



I think you need to look at why do parents smack their kids as opposed to spending the time with other forms of discipline.

TIME is a factor. Usually both parents work, come home tired, then smack when kids get unruly(I am simplifying here).

If we had one parent to stay at home to raise children instead of both working we might have a different attitude to this bill. Many families put income and lifestyle ahead of bringing up their children.


I await the Green partys new found confidence in “police discretion” make its way firmly into their other policies. They can effectively drop their policy to decriminalise dope, the police will be fair and just gatekeepers that can be relied upon to use their judgement in each case.


DPF wrote” Heh such Green logic – so that means if I drive at 150 km/hr I am not breaking the law unless they catch me :-)”

Actually DPF, you are technically breaking the law, but it has no effect uless you are caught. The implications, in Bradfords words go further: Nobody is out to catch you, so its okay to break the law – and we are going to make law specifically so you can break it and not be prosecuted -thats the Green logic. If John Key was serious about his position, he will come out and say that he will push through Chester Burrows amendment – effectively party policy – after the election – rather than making fluffery comments about “waiting to see if we have suitable coalition partners”

Party policy does not depend on future coalition partners.


Party policy does not depend on future coalition partners.

One has to wonder if the possibility of scaring off coalition partners is the reason why John key and the National Party are refusing to take a real stance on anything, and don’t seem to have any real policies.

James Sleep:

This country has huge amounts of violence happening in the home. I’m not saying it is from parents that care very much about their children. This bill has been written up to stop the child abusers who do absolutely beat their children into submission.
People who are found to be beating their children are 1st) Charged (GREAT) 2nd) Taken to court (GREAT) 3rd) A lot of child abusers at that point argue they had used “Reasonable Force” (Not good) and sadly because section 59 of the crimes act is how it is. Courts rule from that and sadly a lot of these “Child abusers” get away with their crimes because the legislation does not define reasonable force.

This bill HAS been given a bad name because of the opposition. Instead of looking at the purpose of the bill which is to mainly stop these child beaters going through court and getting away with their crimes thanks to how section 59 is written up at this present day,
The opposition have just looked straight into the household and seen that this will “Criminalize Good Parents” this in fact will not “Criminalize good parents”.
Let’s look at it through the eyes of a parent: ok when a child is doing something that is going to harm them or others then you need to do what anyone would do and that is to remove them from that situation and that could be picking them up and stopping them. The other thing could be giving them a slight smack on the hand or where ever to make them aware of what they are doing and what their actions can possibly cause. If a police officer saw you do that on the street they are not going to pull out the handcuffs and arrest you because I’m sure everyone understands that if you had not intervened at that time then the child could have harmed themselves and others.

I think you need to be realistic about this, and really look at what the bill is trying to effectively do which is to get the real child abusers put away.

Ms Bradford believes that violence is not the way to correct behavior and in a lot of situations it does work, but I feel we need to look at other alternatives to disciplining children. We can be credited on the international state as an anti-violence state which at the moment we are not.

By reducing smacking in the household and effectively trying to stop it, it can show organized crime groups and other groups of people that use violence frequently that New Zealand is better than violence and can operate without it.

Everyone knew that Mr. Key was going to the negotiating table with the wish for the bill to allow smacking. Ms Bradford has done a wise thing to not go through with his wishes.
It was like Mr. Key going to Steve Chadwick and asking her to rewrite her to rewrite her “Easter trading bill” to include the right for business’s to trade on all public holidays it was totally unrealistic.

James Sleep


James, you may be being groomed up to be a Labour politician but we here at Kiwiblog can distinguish between the effects of an Act and the intention of a bill about to be come an Act.The bill has been given a bad name because the proponents and promoters do not want to talk about the effects, just the intention.

James Sleep:


“The bill has been given a bad name because the proponents and promoters do not want to talk about the effects, just the intention.”

Thats funny why has Ms Sue Bradford and Helen Clark always defending the bill by talking about what they feel the effects would be.
It is the opposition that is taking their statements of the effects of the bill which in fact are quite positive and then they twist it.

Im sorry dave, they are always going on about the effects as all MP’s would go on about the effects of a bill.


“Thats funny why has Ms Sue Bradford and Helen Clark always defending the bill by talking about what they feel the effects would be.”

James Sleep: Do not let facts spoil your view, Helen Clark did not always suupport the bill.

What she has done is more like a flip flop depending on the wind shifts of maintaining the her hold on the purse strings.

Graeme Edgeler:

Dave – I’d prefer the new Key wording to the Borrows wording – it very clearly and understandably sets out what’s acceptable.

And while I’m not usually one to just post links in comments, Audrey Young nails it:

James Sleep\:


I’m Sorry I’ll be spacific.

Why has Ms Sue Bradford and Helen Clark been quite open about the effects they feel it will have on NZ to the media. Helen commenting on the effects since she has supported the bill.


“feelings on effect” equates to “intention.” Why do you think Bradford cant explain her bill without using the word intention or an equivalent. Its because here stated intention doesn’t match the wording of her bill thats why. Helen Clark has always support the bill, name a time when she explicitly hasn`t.


If I belong to a religious minority, according to article 3 of the Bill of Rights, I am entitled to practise their religious beliefs.

Now if these beliefs include discipline by smacking, the anti-smacking bill will violate my human rights, under this bill of rights.

So, is Sue Bradfords bill a violation of all our rights as parents?

Graeme Edgeler:

Jenni – yes it is a violations of such rights, the question that needs to be asked is whether that violation is a reasonable limit on your right to raise you children according to your religion. That’s where the real debate is.



My god is there treatment for that?

Peter S:


Thanks for the link to the Audrey Young article.

She has struck on something that I mentioned last week.

Key is acting in the same way that made him successful in the type of business he was involved in. He has hedged his position so that, whatever the outcome he makes a gain.

Labour struggled with Brash because he did not act like a politician. They succeeded in outmanoevering him in the end by using the press & some pretty underhand tactics.

Key is a different type of opponent again, and by removing Brash, Labour has made things harder for themselves, because Key is a more dangerous opponent than Brash was.

Labour is full of career politicians, and they have a reputation for being very adept at politics.

They do less well when their opponents act in ways that break the political mould.

Brash did not have the level of cunning that Labour did. Key does have at least the same level, if not more. The problem for Labour is that Key is treating politics like a business takeover- he is out-thinking and out manoevering Labour at every turn, and they have no idea how to cope with him.

Key has given Labour the choice of shing off the reasonable approach of Key (and continuing to look arrogant & out of touch), or accepting it (and making Key look like the power broker, whilst also jepoardising their support from the Greens).

It really is Lose Lose for Labour and Win Win for National whatever happens.

southern raider:

Section 59 is already working. Show one case of child abuse which has been successfully defended using Section 59. There isn’t one!

This law will be about as useful as the microchipping of dogs.

A democratic society doesn’t make laws that aren’t intended to be enforced.


I think James Sleep needs to get off the blog and go back to school.

And try an English class

Peter S:

“shing” ??

I must proof read more.

Should have been “brushing”



Peter S,

Very eloquent.

Couldn’t agree more.

!!! Mark:

James Sleep said:
“Courts rule from that and sadly a lot of these “Child abusers” get away with their crimes because the legislation does not define reasonable force.”

Absolute bullshit – 7 or 8 cases where parents using riding crops etc, does not equal “a lot”, regardless of how you view these decisions

“…We can be credited on the international state as an anti-violence state which at the moment we are not.”

Pardon me if I don’t give a damn what the “international state” thinks of NZ laws regarding parental discipline of their own children. What will this credit get us? carbon credits? big ups and shout outs from the UN? The “international state” has far bigger fish to fry than NZ smacking laws.

“By reducing smacking in the household and effectively trying to stop it, it can show organized crime groups and other groups of people that use violence frequently that New Zealand is better than violence and can operate without it.”

I literally laughed out loud when I read that James, do you seriously believe that organised criminals give a fuck about anti smacking legislation? How delightfully naive.

Nicholas O’Kane:

If labour seriously don’t want parents prosecuted for a light smack they have nothing to fear in backing keys ammendment. good post david. i’d love to see Sonic and the Labour suporters try and spin their way out of this question. If the bill is not intended to crinimalise parents who give their child a light smack for the purposes of correction, then why is labour not suporting the ammendment by John key to ammend the bill to allow parents only to use force if it is a light smack of “minor consequence”?


James Sleep says

…Let’s look at it through the eyes of a parent: ………………….If a police officer saw you do that on the street they are not going to pull out the handcuffs and arrest you because I’m sure everyone understands that if you had not intervened at that time then the child could have harmed themselves and others.
Firstly, James, if you are 15, like they say you are, don’t even think that you can look at things through the eye of a parent.
Secondly, do you honestly believe Mr Plod is going to say” oh, its ok, dear, I understand why you smacked your tantramising kid. Of course I won’t arrest you.”

Go back to school, James.
Good on you for trying to debate these issues, but this one is out of your league


We need some reporter with “Balls” to raise this anomoly between the legislation and what the perpretrators are saying directly on national television news, and force an answer. I am sick and tired of asshole politicians playing smoke and mirrors with the public, as though it us who are the imbeciles. Nothing could be further from the truth !
Pricks !

James Sleep:

So if 7-8 people absolutely kicked the crap out of a poor little dog in front of your eyes and were not put away and just equittted do you think thats not a lot. And there has been many more cases of Child abusers getting away with their crimes. I do not have figures but there is morew than 7-8. those 7-8 people could still be out there do that and instead of being in Prison they are allowed to be free.

The reason why Ms Bradford and the Labour Party have not supported Mr Keys proposal is because it will contradict part of the bill.
Also the other reason is Mr Key is going on about allowing “Light Smacking” whats light smacking you have to define it and that is the problem and you just cannot define a “Light Smack”


James Sleep,

After reading your thread, I would be more concerned about your command of English and your ability to make it in the world, than arguing the limits of a “light smack”.

You are not a parent. You have no concept of being a parent.

Leave this debate and go back to school.


The insidious danger with a bill like this on the statute books is that, in a few years time, its interpretation will change and Police or CYFS or the KGB (or whatever the latest incarnation of the “anti-good citizen”, anti-family jack-booted govt dept is called) will not exercise discretion to not prosecute any longer.

Just like has happened with the sedition bill.

And Sue must be hallucinogenic if she thinks we have enough police to check up on every potential infringement reported.



Some poeple get away with murder, and instead are found guilty of manslaughter. Some men are acquitted of rape even though they may have raped. Should we rewrite the rape and murder laws because the justice system sometimes comes up with the wrong outcome? What other laws should we rewrite while we’re at it?

As Audrey Young says: “It is almost inconceivable Parliament will pass a law that explicitly bans physical punishment and then expects the police to prosecute only extreme cases”. Indeed Greg O’Connor has said that police will investigate every complaint of smacking. Presumably if there is evidence of smacking, police will prosecute. And the resources devoted to genuine cases of child abuse will decline as a result.


“And there has been many more cases of Child abusers getting away with their crimes. I do not have figures” – so i just have to guess, and i am really, really, really good at guessing.

Give up, dude. You make phule look rational.

Some people may say they admire your enthusiasm, I would wager that most of us dont. You make very little sense in your rants, your logic is twisted, your metaphors are flawed, your grasp of facts is poor, your understanding of any opinion other than your own is comically bad, you have zero life experience on which to base your opinions (and it DOES matter). People are dumber for having read your comments.

But keep posting. Your comments are a perfect example of why we dont treat children the same way we do adults.

james cairney:

“You are not a parent. You have no concept of being a parent. Leave this debate and go back to school.”

Kat, what gives you the right to state who can and cannot comment on this issue?

An argument’s strength lies in its reasoning, not its source.

Sleep’s comments were attempts at debating the issue in point, and yours were not. Andrew, Mark, and southern raider (and others) all had no problem raising civil counter arguments for Mr Sleep. If you have nothing of substance to offer then perhaps it is you who needs the schooling.

James Sleep:

I put this to you.

We are not able to smack our dog, cat, rabiit whatever.

We cannot go and hit another adult.

We cannot go and smack an adult we have issues with.

So why should the law allow us to smack children.

Pets can be worse than childrena dn its illegal to go and hit them and get them into line.

Why should we have the right to smack children, just because they are the same species as us and they talk the same language and they are our children shouldn’t give us the right to be able to inflict pain on them.

kiwi in america:

James Sleep
10/10 for having the guts to post in favour of the Bradford Bill – with NZ sentiment so strongly against it it is the blogging equivalent of farting against thunder.

But James you must do as David says, read the preamble of the Bill. If the intention is not to criminalise parents for a light smack (as Bradford, Clark and other supporters claim) then why state that the intention of the law change is “abolish parental force for the purpose of correction” which is statute language for making smacking illegal.

Greg O’Connor is a credible commentator on police issues – he was a very effective detective prior to his Police Association role and having met him and had debates with him, he is a formidable advocate. If he says the police will investigate complaints they are highly likely to. Why pass a law that is designed to be honoured in the breach from its inception?

James – you are probably too young to have been involved in many CFYS cases. I’ve seen the ugly side of incompetent and arrogant social workers who use the law to act capriciously with devastating effects on families. Almost all social workers try hard to be fair. One of the reasons why this amendment is so universally loathed is that parents dont want to take their chance that a zealous cop or CFYS worker will turn a correctional smack into a police record and a compulsory removal of the child from the home.

james cairney:

Here are my predictions:

1. The Bill will become law.
2. Good parents will continue to be good parents.
3. Bad parents will continue to be bad parents
4. Some good parents will continue smack their children during those stressful moments (and they will continue to feel shitty for doing it, long after the child has forgotten about it). They will not be prosecuted.
5. Some parents will continue to discipline their children with force, and gain an increased contempt for the law generally. The majority will not be prosecuted, a small number will be.
6. Some parents will work at developing ‘non-smack’ parenting strategies.
7. The police will be more inclined than at present to prosecute for apparent violence in the home, when there are notifications etc.
8. An increased number of parents will be accused of violence against their children at the time of relationship break ups and custody claims, it will become yet another tool in custody disputes.
9. John Key will assume power and will not change it, as it will not have made a lick of practical difference to the vast majority of people.
10. As with the right to hit one’s wife for correction, the right to strike children will slowly cease to be accepted by society.


I put this right back to you, JS.

Children are not dogs, cats or rabbits. Though in the case of dogs, a smack is a very good correctional method. Smack a dog for doing something bad, he wont do it again. People are not allowed to BEAT their dogs. Just like they arent allowed to beat their children.

Children are not adults. This is the point you have illustrated so well yourself. We do not let them drive, drink, smoke or vote. You argument here is idiotic, and you should be embarassed for making it.

We DO smack animals. We are not allowed to cruelly beat them. We use riding crops with horses. Cattle prods with cows.

When we pat our dogs we use more force than when we discipline them. But the difference is the intent and the dogs are aware of this. That is why mild physical discipline and cruel beatings are so easy to distinguish. A mild smack on a dog is no worse a physical contact than any other normal contact.

A smack on a child is exactly the same. If we rough house with our kids we probably use more force than when we smack them. The difference is the intent.

Everyone rational person on the face of the planet can distinguish between a smack and a beating. Why is it that you and your ilk fail to make that distinction? Why, in a discussion about smacking, do you constantly bring up gross physical abuse? Can you really not tell the difference? Are you THAT stupid?


JC, a child is not an adult wife.

The acceptance of females as equals, with equal rights and responsibilities, was one of the major reasons why wife-beating became to be considered a bad thing. When the assumed superiority of men over women disappeared so did the justification for spousal discipline. Who are you to discipline another adult who has the same capacity for rational judgement you have?

Are you really saying that children will come to be considered equal to adults? That they will have the same rights and responsibilities as adults from the moment they are born?

Why are people being so fucking stupid?

james cairney:

Kimble: In ‘my predictions’, I stated: “As with the right to hit one’s wife for correction, the right to strike children will slowly cease to be accepted by society”

Yet you assert “Are you really saying that children will come to be considered equal to adults?”

I said no such thing (nor did I imply it). How on earth did you draw that from those words? Whether striking is acceptable and whether groups are “considered equal” are not the same thing.

For many groups of people, the ‘smacking of pets’ is considered unacceptable, yet it simply does not follow that these groups now ‘consider pets as equals’!

Now if I may borrow your words, why are people being so fucking stupid?


Who told you it was illegal to smack pets?

You hysterical lefties are just making shit up as you go. Next you’ll play revisionist and claim smacking has been illegal for last hundred years or some such shit.

Peter S:

It is interesting that Bradford advocates the law treating children as adults with regard to smacking/assault, and yet the Greens were howling against the proposal to lower the age at which a child can be prosecuted as an adult for commiting an adult crime.

The double standard is just as evident when you consider that Bradford is also an abortion advocate.

If a child has the same rights & protections as an adult, then an unborn child should be afforded the same protections.

mo more:

One point I haven’t seen raised: I have seen parents inflict sheer terror in their children without lifting a finger, especially adult men (but also mothers) screaming in anger at cowering little kids. I’m sure the damage from that behaviour is at least as bad, but probably much worse than a smack.

Does Sue have a nifty little solution for that type of emotional “assault” too, or is that somehow acceptable? Is she saving that, to be addressed in future Green/Labour party law?

James Sleep:

Yes I think JC has hit the nail on the head. Absolutely correct, the bill of course will technically make parents at wrong when they hit their children but police will not have their priorities set on finding parents who lightly smack their kids. Because it is made illegal parents will start to look for alternatives to correct their childrena dn I think its a great bill to do that, as well as stopping child beaters geting away with their crimes.

james cairney:

“It is interesting that Bradford advocates the law treating children as adults with regard to smacking/assault”

I imagine her reasoning is that children are 1. more vulnerable than adults and 2. are at present afforded -less- legal protection against assault than adults.

It is not a ‘double standard’, it is totally consistent with her other position.

Peter S:

” imagine her reasoning is that children are 1. more vulnerable than adults and 2. are at present afforded -less- legal protection against assault than adults.

It is not a ‘double standard’, it is totally consistent with her other position.”

You missed the bit about abortion.

The unborn are afforded the least protection of all, because Bradford & her ilk regard them as less than human, and yet it could be argued that the unborn are the most vulnerable of all.


James Sleep says……….but police will not have their priorities set on finding parents who lightly smack their kids.

James, do you have information that we do not know about??
How do you know what the police priorities are??

Greg O’Connor has stated publicly that police will have to investigate any complaint of smacking under this new bill.


James you made the comparison between physically disciplining a wife and child, I didnt. Do you really think that if the wife wasnt considered the equal of the husband (ie not the same mental capacity) that physical discpline would be as frowned upon as it is now?

You do not discipline you wife because she is your equal. You do not need to discpline her, physically or otherwise. On the other hand children need to be disciplined/corrected. It is the disciplining of adults spouses in general that is archaic, not simply physical aspect of it. And it is YOU that drew the parallel between spousal and parental physical discpline, not me.

Many groups of people consider the BEATING of pet unacceptable. A smack is not a beating. The sorts of loons that would find smacking a dog unacceptable (and on par with gross physical mistreatment, even though in reality the smack is nothing more than a tap) probably DO consider animals the equivalent of humans.


If my dog bites someone I can legally get him put down.

If my wife assaults someone I can legally call the cops.

Now knowing full well that the previous 2 options aren’t available for children and also remembering that timeout requires the use of physical force, what child policing agency should I call?


Totally agree with you Peter S.

The govt has made it legal in this country to kill an unborn child, yet they want to make any sort of smacking of a child an illegal act.

What do you say to that James C??


Sue Bradford explicitly said two years ago that she would like to make smacking illegal. She didn’t think that it was the right time to do so back then, but now it looks like she’s going for broke!


Ok, from now on if anyone says that smacking is wrong and illogical because you cannot smack an adult the way you would a child, they are a fucking idiot for life. No chance of parole, no appeal to a higher court, no extenuating circumstances. Idiot For Life (IFL).

If you have made this argument you are not thinking at a higher level than everyone else, you are not being particualrily insightful, you are not contributing anything to the discussion. You are an IFL.


“I imagine her reasoning is that children are 1. more vulnerable than adults and 2. are at present afforded -less- legal protection against assault than adults.”

I’m sorry, but WTF?!?

Have you never heard of “assault on a child” – children have far, far more protection against (real) assault, including at least 2 government departments to protect them.

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School vows to turn a blind eye if anti-smacking bill becomes law

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 26, 2007

Source: TV3 NEWS

School vows to turn a blind eye if anti-smacking bill becomes law  

Tue, 24 Apr 2007 2:16pm

A Wellington Christian school which allows corporal punishment by parents says it will turn a blind eye if the so-called ”anti smacking bill” is passed.

Wainuiomata Christian College allows parents to physically discipline students on school grounds.

Principal Martin Keast says parents will still be called on to deal with their children if the bill passes, but he won’t ask parents how they will be disciplined.

Mr Keast says the school plans to comply with the law and parents will be forced to take their children off school property to administer discipline.

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‘Operation Relentless’ Netting Results

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 26, 2007

Source: Scoop

‘Operation Relentless’ Netting Results

‘Operation Relentless’ Netting Results

New Zealand Police Wellington News Release

A homicide last week only strengthened Upper Hutt Police’s resolve to crack down on crime in the area.

Mid last week police launched ‘Operation Relentless’ – a blitz on criminals and a crackdown on crime in Upper Hutt.

The operation has been modeled on a successful tactic used by the Avon and Somerset Police in the UK. It involves a succession of dedicated days of action, each against a particular type of crime.

The operation involves almost all Upper Hutt police staff, who are abandoning their desk jobs to become ‘operational’.

Upper Hutt Police are also being strengthened with the involvement of specialist police groups from outside the area and staff from other government departments.

“With Operation Relentless in full swing, we had plenty of staff to divert to last week’s homicide investigation,” says Acting Upper Hutt Police Area Commander Inspector Mike Hill.

Steven Stone, 21, died on Thursday during a cannabis robbery for which four people were caught on Thursday and Friday and face charges of aggravated robbery and murder.

“Despite having a major homicide investigation underway, we have been able to continue much of what we planned for Operation Relentless,” says Inspector Hill.

Action: Road Safety

• Nearly 50 people have been caught driving through stop signs and another 10 caught running red lights.

• Three people have been caught traveling at excessive speed on River Road:

– one was caught doing 139km/h in wet conditions

– a second was caught at 141km/h

– the third was caught at 145km/h

• 2642 vehicles were stopped at breath testing checkpoints on Friday and Saturday night:

– 10 people were caught driving over the alcohol limit

– 3 people were arrested for drink driving

– 1 person was arrested at a checkpoint on a warrant to arrest
Action: Alcohol abuse

Police visited a number of licensed premises throughout Upper Hutt over the weekend.

• 3 arrests were made for disorder on Friday night.

• 2 off-license operators were caught selling to an underage person. Both face prosecution.
Action: Drugs

Upper Hutt Police targeted drug crime over the weekend with the help of a drug dog, staff from Customs and the Military Police.

• 11 search warrants were executed.

• 13 arrests were made for a variety of drug offences, mainly relating to possession and cultivation of cannabis.

• Police dismantled two indoor growing operations.

• A 35-year-old man appears in Upper Hutt District Court today charged with producing a Class B controlled drug and unlawful possession of a firearm (sworn-off shotgun).
Action: Family Violence

Upper Hutt Police have made home visits to at risk family violence victims and offenders. Police staff were generally well-received.

Inspector Hill says staff often make home visits like this, but not on the scale that they can with Operation Relentless.

“It is useful to have rational discussions away from the tensions of violence having taken place or police involvement in an emergency situation.

“It is also useful for us to update our assessment of the level of risk present and to provide additional guidance and support.”

Police were joined by Child, Youth and Family staff.

“The visits opened the door to further communication and assistance. Mostly it was about building trust and our relationship with people.”

Further visits to known family violence victims and perpetrators are planned.
More about Operation Relentless:

Among the police staff involved Operation Relentless are those who normally work in specialist police roles like intelligence, youth aid, highway patrol or in administrative and support functions.

For dedicated periods of time, almost all Upper Hutt Police staff are being diverted to operational work targeting key crimes.

“Operation Relentless is giving Upper Hutt Police the ability to put maximum resources into some key policing areas,” says Inspector Hill.

“Using all our staff operationally gives us the capacity to deal with issues in ways we cannot ordinarily.

“On a normal daily basis however Police can’t neglect other critical functions undertaken by staff not on the beat.”

Crime was down in Upper Hutt during 2006. Recorded violence, drug and antisocial offences, theft and burglary decreased in Upper Hutt during the last six months of 2006 compared with the same period in 2005. However, Inspector Hill says police need to keep changing tactics to keep it that way.


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Teens say the darndest things

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 26, 2007

Source: Sideswipe Story 

Teens say the darndest things

A Brown’s Bay reader writes: “My husband and I are still laughing about what our 16-year-old son came up with when the anti-smacking bill was getting a lot of press. He is going through that non-communicative phase so we were pleased when he pulled himself away from his internet game to ask about the bill. He seemed very concerned. We were explaining when he interrupted with, ‘Oh, it’s only about smacking is it?’ He thought it was the anti-snacking bill.”

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