Thursday, June 21, 2007



And the children of New Zealand breathe a sigh of relief...

The Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act comes into force today, so as from today it will be illegal to beat your children for the purpose of correction. More limited force is still allowed, for example to save a child's life, but the old-fashioned smack as punishment is now unacceptable. And the children of New Zealand breathe a sigh of relief...

Despite the ravings of the (socially conservative) police union, the police seem to have done a good job of interpreting the law. Inconsequential smacking will be recorded, but is unlikely to result in a prosecution unless the parent is making a habit of it. Any use of a weapon or kicking, or repeated smacking, is no longer "inconsequential". So, you can lose your temper and give in to frustration, but if you do it repeatedly or smack out of some distorted parenting theory that regular beatings, like Brussel Sprouts, are good for children, then you'll end up facing charges. And I don't have a problem with that at all. All members of our society deserve to be protected from violence, and that includes violence by those who are supposed to care for them.

38 comments:

I don't have a problem with it either. If a parent is wilfully ignorant and continues to use corporal punishment when advised of the alternatives they do not deserve the privilege of raising a child.

I mentioned in a comment to Bomber the other day how my daughter was fingerprinted at school to take out library books, so I was told. On another occasion she had a barcode stuck on her wrist and was scanned...all done without parental consent.

You know what - hardly any parents gave a damn. Yet we had them marching in the street for the right to give kids the bash. Kinda brings into focus a clear view of how ignorant so many are.

Posted by Ruth : 6/21/2007 12:57:00 PM

I thought this was a bad law at inception, I thought it was a bad law when passed by parliament, and I still think it is a bad law. It will do absolutely nothing to protect children. It will not lead to a reduction in child deaths, or cases of child abuse. It will lead to an escalation of bitterness in child custody disputes.

And before you go, o you terrible child beater, I have never hit my children, I have never smacked my children and I will never do either. I believe that there are much more effective methods of discipline.

And for those who say it’s only the religious fruitcakes who against this, from my circle of acquaintances I have never seen such a split where the left and the right are equally split.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/21/2007 01:36:00 PM

All members of our society deserve to be protected from violence, and that includes violence by those who are supposed to care for them.

And all members of our society deserve the right to freely associate with who they choose, harm caused by a denying this freedom may be greater than harm that in the association.

What causes more harm, imprisonment of children away from their loved ones or smack with an open hand?

Posted by unaha-closp : 6/21/2007 02:00:00 PM

And all members of our society deserve the right to freely associate with who they choose, harm caused by a denying this freedom may be greater than harm that in the association.

Young children cannot choose who they associate with. As said elswhere, no family should ever be regarded as owning its members, and the police should not assume that families always want the best for their members.

Posted by Ruth : 6/21/2007 03:51:00 PM

Young children cannot choose who they associate with.

Wrong, we learn to differentiate between people very early on and choose between them.

What this law does is removes the child's freedom if the child has been smacked. Their punishment for being the victim of a smack is that they will be detained at the state's pleasure. The harm due to this unjustifable punishment of the victim, is always going to be greater than the harm caused by a smack.

Posted by unaha-closp : 6/21/2007 04:28:00 PM

Ruth,

I noticed you abandoned the Smacking Bill thread back on P.C.'s blog, as I predicted you would - any chance of getting an answer to my questions?

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 6/21/2007 04:35:00 PM

Yet we had them marching in the street for the right to give kids the bash.

Oh, and back on topic: that's an outright lie, at least as far as the majority of the protesters were concerned. Unless of course you define 'the bash' as light smacking ...

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 6/21/2007 04:45:00 PM

Duncan - I have an RSS reader, saw the title, and did not read the latest smacking thread - nor do I intend to. You know my views on the issue. I am not going to comment where I feel unwelcome and the opinions offered are no more than an echo chamber.

I have read your views on immigration and I applaud them wholeheartedly though. Go in peace.

Posted by Ruth : 6/21/2007 05:17:00 PM

A wonderful law which did more to cripple the Government than any other law they have managed to do.

And of course no child is breathing a sigh of relief. The ones who really do get beaten, already are having it done against the law. And generally getting successfully prosecuted under the existing law.

Posted by David Farrar : 6/21/2007 05:41:00 PM

meh. the public will completely forget by this time next year.

when no one is arrested for minor smacks in the supermarket, everyone will forget the palaver.

much the same as the homosexual law reform and prostitution law reform, only the nutters and extremists will be caring.

Posted by che tibby : 6/21/2007 06:45:00 PM

Inconsequential smacking will be recorded... And I don't have a problem with that at all.

Good for you.

Bad for society.

Nice to see you following the party line on this one - I guess as a blogger you don't have to worry about slandering parents with quotes like

"So, you can lose your temper and give in to frustration, but if you do it repeatedly or smack out of some distorted parenting theory that regular beatings, like Brussel Sprouts, are good for children"

As I read that, you're advocating a looser law than the last one.

Posted by scrubone : 6/21/2007 06:54:00 PM

I just ran a poll of my daughters. 100% of them thought that the new law was "a very, very very good rule."

I'm delighted that this bill has finally become law. Today is a good day.

Posted by Deborah : 6/21/2007 07:43:00 PM

"This has got to be a positive step and we're backing it".

John Key, interviewed on radio today.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0706/S00305.htm

Posted by Anonymous : 6/21/2007 07:45:00 PM

Last week my frail 71 year old mother confronted a woman who whacked her toddler in the supermarket (yes, the classic crying kid in the aisle scenario) with a withering "try that next week and I'll be calling the police." The women picked up her child, verbally insulted my mother with the most vulgar language, and left.

The most interesting thing was the reaction of onlokers, one of whom actually came up and congratulated my mum.

Now this law is in place and in action, it is going to provide a powerful cautionary brake on lazy parenting by violence, and it is going to embolden more members of the community to confront violence against children when they see it.

Posted by Sanctuary : 6/21/2007 08:42:00 PM

"Now this law is in place and in action, it is going to provide a powerful cautionary brake on lazy parenting by violence"

Nice call Sanctuary.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/21/2007 09:26:00 PM

"... the old-fashioned smack as punishment is now unacceptable...".

This is great news and definitely something to celebrate; to all you 'old fashioned' people out there: Next time you feel like smacking your kid, give yourself some time out!!

Linda Axford

Posted by aladin : 6/21/2007 10:04:00 PM

States DPF: "...and generally getting successfully prosecuted under the existing law."
Generally???
Therein lay the problem, DPF, the old law couldn't get rid of that word 'generally', hence 'sigh of relief'.

Linda Axford

Posted by aladin : 6/21/2007 10:13:00 PM

What the hell is the relevance of children's opinions? Children do not know what is good for them. Sue Bradford's party is the one leading the charge to have unhealthy food banned from school campuses because children don't know what food is healthy. So don't play hypocrite.

Posted by Swampy : 6/22/2007 07:16:00 AM

Ah, David, this deal might have all been a clever National Party plot to give Labour and the Greens just enough time to make themselves really unelectable in 2008?

Posted by Swampy : 6/22/2007 07:19:00 AM

What matters, Ruth, is opposing the creeping socialism that would see our children indoctrinated to be little socialists from birth because the government will dictate every single aspect of how parents are to bring them up. This stupid law is one element of that.

So we know what matters, and that is the freedoms that we currently have that are being eroded by commies like Bradford with stupid laws.

Posted by Swampy : 6/22/2007 07:23:00 AM

"commies like Bradford"

any evidence to back that up - you know, something recent along the lines of "im a communist".

if there is i will gladly accept the label for her

or is this just another sad attempt to discredit the greens through name calling?

sure discuss the issues - but do we really have to play the commie parnoia game?

Posted by fraser : 6/22/2007 10:32:00 AM

Commie paranoia is a game? I thought it was the right's raison d'etre.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/22/2007 11:06:00 AM

Sanctuary: the woman your mother accosted quite likely wouldn't be breaking the law under the new Act, so calling the Police wouldn't be particularly scary for her. Try reading it - "force used is reasonable in the circumstances" and aimed at "preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in offensive or disruptive behaviour," ie entirely legal under the Act.

Of course, if the woman decided that, given all the busybodies around these days, it would be safer to just punish the kid with a smack when she got home, that would certainly be illegal under the Act, not to mention grossly unfair on the kid - but for the mother it would have the significant benefit of being unlikely to be viewed by the aforementioned busybodies. On the whole, I'd rather she just gave the kid a whack in the supermarket and ended their tantrum right there.

So what's next, folks? I suggest we should move on to apply a powerful cautionary brake on lazy parenting by arbitrary imprisonment (ie, time out). Lobby your MPs!

Posted by Psycho Milt : 6/22/2007 12:56:00 PM

The wooden spoon needs to be incorporated into the New Zealand coat of arms....

Im sure parents get off on hitting their kids. Bet you anything that the timaru horse whip lady is a closet bondage queen....

Brendon "Millsy" Mills
Anti-childbeater

Posted by Anonymous : 6/22/2007 01:39:00 PM

Oh, and Swampy..

I take it you think its alright for parents to beat their kids with whatever they can get your hands on and get off in the courts..

I bet you beat your kids too...does it turn you on?

Brendon "Millsy" Mills
Stirrer

Posted by Anonymous : 6/22/2007 01:41:00 PM

I see a child died in Starship yesterday after being beaten - lucky we have that law to stop this kind of thing.

Oops it didn't

Posted by Anonymous : 6/22/2007 02:34:00 PM

I see a child died in Starship yesterday after being beaten - lucky we have that law to stop this kind of thing.

Oops it didn't

Posted by Anonymous : 6/22/2007 02:35:00 PM

"lucky we have that law to stop this kind of thing. Oops it didn't"

And can you tell us where the repeal of section 59 claimed it would stop child abuse?

No? that might have soemthing to do with your claim being completely false. Rather large red herring youve got there.

Repealing sec59 was never about stopping child abuse - it was about stopping people who are ALREADY up on charges from getting away with it.

BIG difference.

Also - are the parents of said child facing charges? You should be pleased that if they are, they cant try to get away with it by claiming sec59

Posted by fraser : 6/22/2007 04:15:00 PM

"You should be pleased that if they are, they cant try to get away with it by claiming sec59"

One struggles to picture the defendant's lawyer attempting to convince the jury that the infliction of fatal head injuries was a reasonable use of force...

Posted by Psycho Milt : 6/22/2007 06:30:00 PM

One might have struggled to picture a lawyer attempting to convince a jury that savage beatings with stockwhips, blocks of wood and alkathene pipes constituted "a reasonable use of force". Right up to the time that the Section 59 defence in those cases succeeded.

Posted by Spectator : 6/22/2007 08:12:00 PM

Hmm - if it's only taken a few years for a few whacks with a riding crop to become a "savage beating with a stockwhip," one can only wonder what the story will have escalated to by the time our grandkids are hearing it.

Posted by Psycho Milt : 6/22/2007 08:44:00 PM

How on earth is a few hits with a riding crop not an unacceptable beating? I find it astounding that people supported this woman, and continue to do so.

Curiously it is the same people who foam about the violence inherent in Islam. The religion of Islam is not barbaric or vile, any more than Christianity is.

The barbaric thing here is the implication that it is acceptable to answer thoughts, ideas, and errant vulnerable younsgters with violence.

Anyone who thinks this is bonkers, irrespective of ideology, religious or otherwise.

Posted by Ruth : 6/22/2007 09:22:00 PM

The police guidelines (that Idiot/Savant links to in the original post) make it very clear that it is not acceptable for an adult to kick a child, punch them in the head, or hit them with a weapon. What humane parent would disagree?

Now it would be a bit more reassuring if the vocal opponents of the bill (McCroskie, Barnett, Copeland etc) actually took the trouble to say they agree with that. But they don't.

If they really only want to defend "light smacking", they would support the overall intent of the guidelines. Why can't they bring themselves to do that? What do they REALLY think parents should be allowed to do?

And why do the media never bother asking them?

Posted by Anonymous : 6/22/2007 10:10:00 PM

Ruth, I don't know how hitting a child with a riding crop can be considered "reasonable" use of force either, but 12 people who heard the facts of the case did. Most of us, unlike Sue Bradford, accept that juries will sometimes make decisions that we find surprising, given the little we know of their case from news articles. Bradford's approach is to decide that if juries won't give the decision she wants, she'll take the issue out of their hands. You don't have to be some kind of child abuser to find that unacceptable.

Posted by Psycho Milt : 6/23/2007 08:45:00 AM

Why dont the family-values fuckwits, right-wing libertarians, christian nutters, fathers rights brownshirts, legally-read child abusers, and tinfoil hat wearing consparicy theroist talkback callers just admit it.

They think it is perfectly OK for a parent to beat a child with rubber pipes, baseball bats, riding crops, wooden spoons and jug cords and get away with it.

Spare me this "loving physcial discipline" bullshit (this is not a bondage party), or this "light smacking crap", just come out and say it. Because I am sick to death of this absolute bullshit about this bill, and its about time the people who were against this bill/act/law started being honest.

Same with you "uhana-closp" (when youre not busy dressing up in brown shirts and trashing the local CYF Office/Family Court judge's house.), scrubone, David Farrar, Duncan Byrne, Swampy (the same Swampy that gave Micheal Wood a hard time on his blog, I take it), and Psycho Milt. It is time you all just fessed up and just came out and said it. Same for McVicar, McCroskey, Barnett, Allen, Tamaki, Rankin, Milne, Hide, Roy, Peters, Mark, Stewart, Copeland, Baldock, Alexander, et al. Just say you are perfectly OK with parents beating their children.

Then we can take it from there. And to these tinfoil hat wearing talkback callers. This is NOT a dictatorship, there is no plan to steal your kids and send them off to state run orphanages, and CYF is NOT in the same league as the Stasi, KGB, NKVD or anything like that.

Now, is there anything I have missed out?

Brendon "Millsy" Mills
Sick and tired of the crap.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/26/2007 11:44:00 AM

Millsy: If you want to post that sort of crap, do it elsewhere. I understand that Kiwiblog is the New Sewer, and I think you'd be much more likely to find the style of mutual abuse you prefer there.

Everyone else: please don't feed the trolls.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/26/2007 11:50:00 AM

Oh come on I/S. Do you really think that the brownshirt wannabe...oops I mean caring loving father who ran cyfswatch would have said something like that to the thug who made a death threat to Sue Bradford.

Sometimes, my friend, you have to fight fire with fire.

Millsy

Posted by Anonymous : 6/27/2007 12:35:00 PM

Millsy: If you want to "fight fire with fire", I suggest that you do it elsewhere. Your style of abusive trolling is not welcome here.

Everyone else: there's been a significant influx of abusive trolls over the last few months (notably, since the demise of the Sewer and Jordan's pulling of comments on his own blog), to the extent that they seem to be driving out serious commenters and rendering the comments function useless. I have neither the time nor the inclination to moderate comments, and so if it continues I will simply disable them until such time as I think the trolls have left for greener pastures.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/27/2007 01:11:00 PM