There's a lot of talk in the papers this morning about National wanting a "compromise" over the anti-smacking bill. But personally, I see nothing to compromise over. The brute fact is that John Key and his fundamentalist Christian mates want bad parents to be able to continue to assault their children. We don't. There's no middle ground in there; it's an either/or proposition. The only reason people talk "compromise" in such situations is to give a nicer mask to a demand for surrender.
I also don't see any reason to "compromise". Currently, the bill has a majority in Parliament. That majority shows no sign of weakening, and the fundamentalist campaign against it instead seems to have hardened MPs' resolve, just as their campaign against Homosexual Law Reform did. As things stand at the moment, the bill will pass its committee stage unamended on May 2nd, receive its third reading after the Budget, and come into force sometime in late June or early July. There's no need to water it down for it to pass, and given that it has been dangerously watered down already, it would be undesirable anyway.
If Key has a genuinely better wording which would achieve the purpose of the bill rather than subverting it, I'm all ears. But I really don't think that is the case. Instead, Key is just grandstanding, and at the same time trying to wriggle out of the trap he is making for himself over repeal.
(I make no apologies for the language used in this post. Hitting people is assault. Parents who hit their children are bad parents. If you're outraged over this label, then there's a very simple way to avoid it: don't hit your kids).