Monday, March 26, 2007

Holding firm

Sue Bradford's Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Bill is back before the House on Wednesday - though the debate is likely to be delayed by the introduction of a local bill. Meanwhile, the pressure is really going on the bill's supporters to change their votes. Child-beaters are organising marches around the country, and there will be a march on Parliament on Wednesday for a Destiny-style display of hate. And NZ First President Dail Jones has threatened the two NZ First MPs who support the bill with demotion down the party list.

Fortunately, it looks like the numbers are holding firm. It may take some time, but this bill has a majority and it is going to pass. The child-beaters had better start getting used to the fact.

Meanwhile, if anybody knows of a counter-protest in Wellington on Wednesday, please post the info in the comments.

Meanwhile, it seems that there will be a counter-protest in support of the bill. Noon, Civic Square, Wednesday. They want a "creative, peaceful and slightly whimsical event... to provide a highly visible presence for those who support the amendment of Section 59". Balloons are recommended.


Child-beaters are organising marches around the country

Don't give in to the dark side.

Posted by Danyl : 3/26/2007 01:05:00 PM

Anyone who hits a child, whether it is for "discipline" or from anger, is by definition a child-beater, and has my undying contempt. If an accurate description of their actions causes them to feel ashamed, then all the better.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 3/26/2007 01:13:00 PM

When political demonstrations are held, it's useful to know who is behind them. Sue Bradford is not usually (but accurately) described in the media as "a caring Mum from Rodney", but as a Green MP. Fair enough - that's what she is.

Why do journalists seem incapable of spending two minutes on Google to find out more about pro-smacking protesters? For example, a weekend march was organised by "Sue Reid of Masterton", who is doubtless a loving mother, but who might also be the person of the same name from the Family First website and anti-Green forums.

These "ordinary Kiwis" are activists - they didn't just spring up from nowhere. Of course they are fully entitled to their political affiliations, and we're equally entitled to know about them.

Two minutes. That's all it takes.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/26/2007 01:17:00 PM

Smack lips not children.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/26/2007 01:31:00 PM

Absolutely anonymous. I think it's extremely important to talk not only about the policies but about the people behind them. Political movements are driven by personalities and individuals, not abstract concepts.

These marches are an appalling example of cruelty and malice hding behind a facade of righteousness.

Good luck with the counter-protest.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/26/2007 01:42:00 PM

Anyone who hits a child, whether it is for "discipline" or from anger, is by definition a child-beater, and has my undying contempt. If an accurate description of their actions causes them to feel ashamed, then all the better.

If someone smacks their child on the wrist then calling them a 'child beater' is in no way accurate. If they believe that a light smack is an appropriate way to discipline their child and they resent the government removing their right to do so then they have every right to protest against it without being labeled a 'child beater.'

I support Bradfords amendment because it's obvious we have serious problems with child abuse in this country and I think her bill is a constructive way to address this. But people have genuine fears about the intrusion of the government into their family life and their apprehensions should be debated rationally, not waved away as an endorsement of child beating.

Posted by Danyl : 3/26/2007 02:14:00 PM

" Anyone who hits a child, whether it is for "discipline" or from anger, is by definition a child-beater, and has my undying contempt. If an accurate description of their actions causes them to feel ashamed, then all the better."

OK, child-beater then. I don't get made to feel ashamed by what others think of my parental abilities, so give me whatever label you think applies. But if you're going to be that liberal with your undying contempt, it's worth bearing in mind that I hardly know another parent who hasn't also smacked their kid at some point, and I don't think I'm unusual in that respect - which makes for a lot of contempt to distribute. Can't be good for you.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/26/2007 02:29:00 PM

Hey, I'm with Insolent Prick on this one. Unless we allow parents to legally beat the shit out of their kids - chain them to trees, thump them with riding crops, and all the other stuff that loving-but-righteous "ordinary Kiwis" regularly do under s59 - then where will the next generation of Jake The Musses come from?

Just remember, going on the anti-smacking march may stop that uniquely Kiwi heritage - familial violence - being passed down the generations!

And then where would we be?

Posted by Anonymous : 3/26/2007 04:51:00 PM

If so then you should propose that law.
If you want to ban it why don't you propose a law that bans those activities e.g. a law that says "this law bans beating the shit out of their kids - chaining them to trees, and thumping them with riding crops."

Posted by Anonymous : 3/26/2007 06:35:00 PM

"Destiny style display of hate"
how extreme does your rheotic have to get?

Posted by Anonymous : 3/26/2007 06:57:00 PM

Sport doesn't have the mongrel it once had, the "Flying Bottle" beer barns have all turned to poofy cafes, the boss has pansy bloody rules about a spot of biffo at work, and the cook gets all ansty if you come home and give her a good bopping. Christ what's a man supposed to do if he can't take it out on the rug-rats?

The fact is that there are still far too many so called parents in this country who deep down believe that they have the right to bash their children. They know better than to admit to this publicly so they hide behind the facade of that all they ever do is a "light smack or two". If that was the case, then any sane person would know that "trivial and transient smack" that is of no criminal concern, is very unlikely to be prosecuted by the Police or convicted by a Court. We all know that of numerous technical breaches of many laws that are "not in the public interest" to pursue. This happens all the time.

The REAL reason why anyone actually objects to the repeal of S59, is that they believe they have the right bash their children and still avail themselves of the legal defence it provides. They are generally just too gutless to admit it.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/26/2007 08:02:00 PM

red rag,
for those of us that are (although only mildly) opposed to s59 who are NOT child beaters (by any definition)
your position is both obviously false and bemusing.

I guess it is a bit like how people only oppose drug laws if they are druggies or dealers and people only support benefits in order to get them.

> very unlikely to be prosecuted by the Police or convicted by a Court.

it is in the public's interest to make examples of people. for example regulatory bodies might find a business and make a big deal of dealing with them in order to signal to others that they should change their behaviour.

Let's assume oyu are the police.

Presumably the idea is you are in a position where you dont know if someone beats their child or not but you do know that they smack their child (otherwise the law is irrelevant). you are contemplating procecuting them. you look at some evidence that is far too weak to stand up in court about how they seem to have dome more than smacking (lets say some sort of third party hearsay or maybe he was convicted for a violent crime before). That sounds reasonably convincing to you so you decide to charge. You therefore procecute them for the smacking crime. The jury is forced to convict because he is obviously guilty.

tell me where that goes wrong?

Posted by Anonymous : 3/26/2007 08:18:00 PM

I'm just getting weary of this bill being constantly labelled the 'anti-smacking bill' by its opponents, and especially the media.
Hey all you bullies (sorry: kind, loving parents) out there, are you comfortable with replacing the word 'smack' with its literal meaning of 'hitting with an open hand'?
Roll on Wednesday.


Posted by Anonymous : 3/26/2007 10:53:00 PM

Benificary bashing, I can understand. Calling for lower taxes, I can understand. Deporting Ahmed Zaoui, supporting the war in Iraq, calling for the banning of unions or the privatisation of health and education, I can understand. The call not to sign Kyoto, I can understand.

But not this. It is repugnant that people are marching in the street for the right to hit their kids. But I suppose it is to be expected given our ingrained attiude towards children and using violence against them, and the fact that we can be quite bigoted, paraniod and intolerant when we put our minds to it.

These marches are the face of 21st century facism, Kiwi style. It is not about "keeping the State out of our homes". It is about the assertion of a new form of bullying and coercion. It is about the intolerant, bigoted, heirachical society, where children, women, blacks, Irishmen and Jews are seen and not heard, and gays are thrown in jail, where children are mere chattels of their parents, and have the worst treatment inflicted upon them, or intimidated by physical force, it is about where myticism and supertision replace science and reason, it is about a new authortarianism that is asserting itself under the guise of "Family Values".

Violence, hatred, intolerance, bigotry, intimidation and bullying are not family values.

The whole world is watching, people, we must do what is right and counter these demonstrations head on. Remember: Ghandi and Martin Luther King never hit their kids. We need to draw inspiration from them. Sit down and block the marches. Go to them and wave signs in support of the bill.

This is about more than the treatment of our children. It is about what kind of society we want. One ruled by fear or one ruled by love.

The choice is yours New Zealand. However my faith in the average New Zealander has dropped remakably.

"New Zealanders are an easy-going, compassionate people who pride themselves on the concept of a fair go for all."


Posted by Anonymous : 3/27/2007 12:29:00 AM

Words only have power if they actually mean something. Child beater has a stigma attached to it, which you are exploiting, because normal people know it applies to people who *really beat* their kids.

So we need the law to define the difference between just smacking and a "really beating"? OK so how about we arrange a demonstration in Parliament, and televise it? Line up say 10-20 children of MPs and subject them to a range of "disciplines". Start with a few smacks on the bottom for the toddlers, a "clip around the ear" or two (in varying degrees of hardness) for the 5-10 year olds, and progress on through the spectrum to a sound caning for the young adolescents. Finish up with some of the older ones getting a good "kick up the pants" and maybe a solid face slapping to round things off. Should make for riveting primetime TV.

The purpose would be to start with clearly the clearly "trivial and transient" and ramp things up until the kids are getting a "real beating". At that point Parliament could see for itself the difference and vote for clear cut legislation that legalises one and criminalises the other. Or not.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/27/2007 02:13:00 AM

Now that it's not going into urgency I suspect this bill may now be allowed to die on the vine. The public are overwhelmingly against it and it's killing Labour in the polls.

I think the real losers here are the Green Party supporters who voted for a party that was supposed to advocate environmental policy. The Greens had their big climate change policy release yesterday and TV news ignored it to cover the polls showing most of the country is utterly opposed to Bradfords amendment.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/27/2007 05:56:00 AM

Interestingly I have no recollection at all of my parents smacking me, although I'm told it happened a small number of times, and I informed them it did not hurt... I think various strategies are easier to apply to various kids.

I think the law is about 'preventing smacking as a form of dicipline' as opposed to 'preventing smacking'. You could still presumably 'beat' a child through preventing him from harming himself or others. Like beating his arm when he reaches for the fireplace.

("so why did you assault the kid with a riding crop?" "well he was reaching for the fireplace and we have a riding crop here just for that purpose....")

> So we need the law to define the difference between just smacking and a "really beating"?

What I'd like is for the law to differentiate between who we want in jail and who we don't want in jail (or to lose their kids etc). and it is surprising I need to even say that.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/27/2007 07:20:00 AM

"I think the real losers here are the Green Party supporters who voted for a party that was supposed to advocate environmental policy."

Yes. Every time Bradford or Norman comes up with another piece of sideshow bullshit, I recall Phil U's assessment of what their advancement meant for the party - he was spot on.

Posted by Psycho Milt : 3/27/2007 07:38:00 AM

"If an accurate description of their actions causes them to feel ashamed, then all the better."

No, it just makes you seem out of touch with the reality of raising children. It also makes you sound very innocent, since obviously you can't judge genuine physical abuse.

Seriously, my four boys (2,4,6,& 7) would have you whipped.

Posted by Muerk : 3/27/2007 07:58:00 AM

The Greens are about more than just the environment - see The Green Charter.

Millsy: spot on - sometimes it *is* neccesary to call a spade a spade.

Something I noticed from this Herald article was various organisations claiming to represent the Pasifica community opposing the bill. I think this is, apart from anything else, insulting to the many Pasifica people who *don't* abuse their kids. And I'd hope that if any of these groups (e.g "Affirming Works") are getting public funding or are licensed to look after kids that their funding and licenses are withdrawn as soon as possible.

Posted by Rich : 3/27/2007 09:06:00 AM

The Greens are about more than the environment - but it is their core platform and it's the main reason people vote for them instead of some other far left party like the Progressives. If Bradfords bill goes through it will be their single significant achievement in this Parliament and it has NOTHING to do with the reason they were voted into power.

I tepidly support Bradfords bill for reasons I articulated earlier but I suspect it's actual impact on reducing child abuse is going to be minimal and I don't think it's worth squandering this much political capital over when there are much more important issues the Green Party could be addressing. Why didn't they go to the mat over public transport or increased funding for alternative energies? That's WHY they're there!

Posted by Danyl : 3/27/2007 09:50:00 AM

"Child-beaters are organising marches around the country..."

No, you can do better than this, I/S. If you have to pretend you don't know the difference between smacking and beating in order to smear Bradfords' opponents like this, does that suggest you don't have a real argument?

Not everyone marching against or opposed to the Bill wants to smack their children -- many are opposed to smacking, they just don't want Nanny in their family. In fact, not everyone opposed even has children -- but smacking and beating are not the same, and you know it.

AS YOU WELL KNOW the parents who do beat their children aren't going to listen to Bradford's law change any more than they listen to the laws that already make beating illegal. As lawyer Michelle Wilkinson-Smith says in today's Herald, "I say the repeal of section 59 is unnecessary because in my experience it is just that - unnecessary. I never lost a case which I prosecuted on the basis of section 59."

There is already sufficient law on the books to prosecute your child beaters, and you know that too.

This is not about smacking. And it sure as hell isn't about beating -- and I'm damn sure that you know it.

Posted by Peter Cresswell : 3/27/2007 10:08:00 AM

Again, idiot, you're resorting to hyperbole: the very kind that is alienating vast tracts of New Zealand, and turning them against the legislation.

Let's look at some simple facts.

Section 59 currently allows for "reasonable force". Beating a child, or causing an injury, is not reasonable force. There is no evidence that the Courts are letting violent parents get away with systematically beating their children.

The kind of parents who beat their children senseless now, will not stop doing so just because section 59 is removed. They are already breaking the law.

Occasionally smacking a child does that child no benefit. It also does the child *very little* harm.

Of all the harmful things done to children, occasional smacking by parents in an otherwise loving and caring environment is *not* the major social priority that Government should be addressing. Far more important is the number of children who are currently being seriously beaten. This law will do nothing to protect those children.

What Bradford has done is allowed the debate to be won by fruitcakes on the other side, who proudly proclaim on their t-shirts: "I LIKE SMACKING!"

A far better measure would have been Burrows' bill, defining reasonable force, vigorous prosecution of parents who go beyond reasonable force, and an education campaign around non-smacking methods of child discipline. Instead you managed to get the Green Party to hijack the government to pursue an extreme agenda.

Posted by Insolent Prick : 3/27/2007 10:34:00 AM

Yes anonymous, I know what the law is about and I am against any person raising their hand to a child or any human or animal for any reason whatsoever, however, I'm just trying to explain that smacking is in fact actually hitting with an open hand.


Posted by Anonymous : 3/27/2007 10:47:00 AM

"If an accurate description of their actions causes them to feel ashamed, then all the better."

I think that their reaction would be "the bill's proponents are hysterical" rather than shame. The constant equating of smacking with beating is probably one reason that so many oppose this bill.

I've come to the conclusion that all that equating is not just hysterical ranting - the bill will be used against smacking because its proponents believe this to be "beating".

This bill is left-wing wedge politics; it’s the Greens getting back at conservative "pro-family groups" which have been gunning for them.

Once more the Greens dress up a reasonable idea in a lot of zealotry and then parade around wallowing in their self-imposed sense of martyrdom.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/27/2007 10:57:00 AM

Brief notes from the Section 59 march.

I don't think I saw a single 'pro-Bradford bill' marcher that was old enough to have children.

Someone from the 'anti-Bradford bill' brigade was too busy booing the government to notice that their infant had crawled into the middle of Parliaments driveway. A policeman rescued the child.

Posted by Danyl : 3/28/2007 02:43:00 PM

"[no marchers] old enough to have children"..

What, they were all pre-puberty?

Even if they didn't have children, they may have been young enough to remember *being* one. This is about childrens rights being more important than adults rights of "ownership" over their kids.

Posted by Rich : 3/28/2007 02:53:00 PM

That may be Danyl, but it is equally absurd that those on the right think that only people who have children are entitled to an opinion on this issue.

I have 3 children, I work with 'at-risk' youth, and can tell you that everyone I know in social services - and most have had problem kids of their own - support Bradford's amendment m-- including me.We have not spoken up as we should have - as Tony Milne said --we have better things to do-- but still.

It stikes me as somewhat creepy that the most vocal pro-smackers do not have kids - Farrar, Cresswell,Perigo, and the usual angry suspects. It just disgusts me that those people blame Maaris on the dole and solo mums for all our problems - but that's a post for another day.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/28/2007 04:33:00 PM

ruth - Farrar's not a pro-smacker - he's an anti-anti-smacker.

(much like I suspect he's an anti-anti-smoker - reckons people shouldn't smoke, but doesn't think it should be illegal).

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 3/28/2007 06:24:00 PM

Well, it strikes me as somewhat creepy that the most vocal anti-smackers do not have kids. Promoting shitty laws that will only affect other people isn't a good look, feckless yoofs.

It's also not just the right opposed to this. You think any cops'll be putting lily-white-ass middle class professional P. Milt in front of a jury for smacking his kids? I don't think so. I'd say black-ass proletarians are the ones that need to worry. Beyond that insalubrious achievement, the only one likely is a feeding frenzy for CYF and divorce lawyers. Somehow I find it difficult to raise enthusiasm for the prospect.

Posted by Psycho Milt : 3/28/2007 08:04:00 PM

Yeah Graeme - I think David is ok - he's not afraid of debate - nor are you Milt and I do understand your point of view.

My posts supporting Bradford on right wing blogs always get deleted.

Key's blogs hasn't deleted my posts on this issue though.

What are people so afraid of.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/28/2007 09:27:00 PM

Those of us without kids are still affected by damaged kids growing up believing that the correct response when someone annoys you is violence.

Posted by Rich : 3/29/2007 01:24:00 PM

I would think school teaches you that, and interestingly it does it due to a lack of discipline (in the wider sense of the word). After-all what boy has not been in a fight at school? Probably the result of having to fight some stupid kid that a teacher was unable to control via the toolset available to them… And how often have such children found, in the end, that hurting such a child created a more favourable response than telling a teacher?

Posted by Anonymous : 3/29/2007 10:27:00 PM