Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The section 59 debate

Parliament has just started the committee stage of Sue Bradford's Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Bill. The bill is being debated clause-by-clause under SO 298 (3), which means speeches are supposed to be relevant to the clause being considered. Currently, they're debating the title clause - and the debate is drifting already. There will be an interesting debate on clause 2, over Judy Turner's attempt to require a supermajority or a referendum for the bill to pass, but the real fight will be over clauses 3 (the purpose) and 4 (which replaces s59 of the Crimes Act). Chester Borrows' SOP amends both of these clauses, and we will get the first indication of the numbers on clause 3.

Taito Phillip Field seems to be taking a big role, and is trying to present it as a diversity issue - smacking being a cultural practice which should be protected. I wonder if he'd say the same about female circumcision?

Clause 1: The usual political posturing and game-playing. Maurice Williamson admits beating his kids (wanker). Gordon Copeland tries to scare everyone with the Crimes Act. Phil Heatley talks about prostitution and drugs and accuses Parliament of undermining his family. Heather Roy claims the public have no idea what the bill is about, and that people will pay no attention to it (ignoring the fact that if they don't, the police will now be able to pay attention to them). Nick Smith froths at the mouth and calls the bill "social engineering". Passed 62-58. The House rose and will resume at 19:30.

Clause 2: Judy Turner argued for her amendment requiring either a referendum or a supermajority for the bill to pass. Given the referendum also requires a supermajority, this is simply a transparent attempt to stack the deck and lock in the status quo. Sue Bradford argued that MPs have a duty to represent and show leadership, rather than dodge the issue; she also argued that a referendum would ignore the interests of children (interesting; do the Greens support lowering the voting age?). Nicky Wagner thinks the public isn't ready for the bill, and therefore argued for indefinite postponement of the bill coming into law. Chester Borrows and Steve Chadwick opposed a referendum. Taito Phillip Field called Bradford "misguided", and that the commencement date was "far too soon", hence his attempts to delay it. He accused the state of interfering with the "god-given" right of parents to raise their children and teach them discipline. Rodney Hide also admitted beating his kids - and was proud of it (another wanker). Maurice Williamson made an ironic point about Labour's use of the whip for a bill opposing smacking (and of course National's whipping its members to support Chester Borrows' amendments is completely different). He also denied the right of people without children to legislate for parents (somehow I don't think he'd appeal to the same principle over gays, though). Peter Brown supported a referenda in principle, but opposed United Future's attempts to stack the deck. Colin King advocated a delay to allow for an education program. John Carter blamed Helen Clark. John Hayes blustered about the decline of "discipline" (by which he really meant deference) under Labour. Jill Pettis forcefully asserted the right of people to have a view about domestic violence and smacking, and pointed out that this bill is essentially about equality under the law. Gerry Brownlee continued National's theme for the day, and complained about Graham Burton. Judith Collins said "I smack my child, and I'm damn proud of it" (I wonder how her children feel about that pride?). Lynne Pillay decided that if she used the word "commencement" loudly and often enough, people wouldn't notice that she wasn't talking about it at all.

After 23 speakers, some of whom actually addressed the point, debate was finally closed. Judy Turner's SOP failed 115 - 6. The first of Taito Phillip Field's 50 amendments, which delayed the commencement of the bill by a month, was agreed to, and the rest (as well as various silly amendments by national MPs) were subsequently ruled out of order. The clause passed 63 - 58, with the support of 2 NZ First MPs and Peter Dunne. Following this, Maurice Williamson tried to argue that his amendments were in order by appealing to the monarchical fiction that the Royal Assent might be refused.

Clause 2A: By this stage the pretence that MPs were even debating the clauses had broken down completely. Instead they were standing up and flinging shit at each other across the chamber about the bill in general. About four people were able to speak before the session ended. It looks as if the committee stage is going to take at least another member's day, and maybe overflow into a second.


TV3 are reporting that Field has tabled 50 amendments to try and block the bill - didn't you once tell me that was impossible?

Not sure if one of them is to abolish section 103 (corruption and bribery of MPs).

Posted by Rich : 3/14/2007 06:39:00 PM

Copeland's speech on clause 1 (the title clause) was the only only one that seemed to seriously address the issue of what the title of the bill should be.

Titles Clause debates are usually silly - you're debating the title for nearly two hours?! - and oppositions generally attack a bill and propose all sorts of fanciful titles at a title clause debate ("the anti-smacking bill", "the anti-parents bill", "the sending a message that won't actually get to perpetrators of violence against children bill" etc.).

Copeland genuinely approached the issue of the appropriate title from an almost non-partisan view (i.e. his contribution could almost have come from a supporter of the bill who considered it unfortunately named).

And it is unfortunately named.

His proposed alternative name for the bill was the Crimes (Abolition of the use of Parental Force for the Purpose of Correction) Amendment Bill. I think you'd agree that that would better reflect what the bill is about. It is almost word for word an adaption of the end of the Select Committee-inserted purpose clause (which he almost certainly opposes).

I'd hope that you'd also think the Education (Tertairy Reform) Amendment Act wouldn't have been better named the Education (New Part 13A inserted) Amendment Act.

The bits in the brackets of amendment acts should describe something about what the act does - not what section or part of a law the act amends.

I'd also add to your coverage that 62-58 was the result of the Maori party only casting 3 votes.

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 3/14/2007 07:23:00 PM

Graeme: I agree that the earlier title (well, a less dyslexic one) was better. OTOH, as an amendment bill, its a section that fundamentally doesn't matter; the title will never be seen again, except to people researching the history of legislation.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 3/14/2007 07:34:00 PM

Rich, I heard that the 50 Field amendments are more an attempt at a philibuster?

Certainly it will give him some media oxygen that might resonate with his constituency, and imho it tends to indicate that he is not going to just sit there and draw down the salary...

Posted by Span : 3/14/2007 07:46:00 PM

Bugger, I seem to have strayed into liveblogging. Wasn't I supposed to be watching TV tonight?

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 3/14/2007 07:48:00 PM

"Wasn't I supposed to be watching TV tonight?"

Well, probably not free-to-air, anyway...

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 3/14/2007 08:14:00 PM

20:45 and they're still on clause 2. This won't get finished tonight, and if it takes as long as expected it might take another two member's days before they get to the third reading.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 3/14/2007 08:45:00 PM

An interesting Monarchical fiction - it appears the Governor-General disagrees with you:

And his view would seem to be the important one.

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 3/14/2007 10:02:00 PM

The Governor-General can disagree all he likes - but in the real world, rather than that of monarchical fiction, if he ever refuses assent, he'll be out of a job and we'll be a republic before lunchtime.

But perhaps its time that we clarified the situation and ended the pretence once and for all, by having bills automatically become law when passed by Parliament.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 3/14/2007 10:08:00 PM

The fact of the matter is:


The National party are a bunch of violent fuckheads who dont care about a kids right to be free of violence. I think they get off on beating their kids, nothing like bashing a child with an iron bar for spilling the milk to make you feel better. Taito Philip Field is a typical child beating coconut ape who, with his race need to go back up the trees where they belong, and, we need to push violence out of this country RIGHT NOW!

HITTING CHILDREN IS WRONG, and the sooner these coconuts, white trash bogans, scruffy Old-Testamenters and white-middle-class-closet-nazis realise this, the better.

Its time we moved into the 21st Century folks. A new order, where violence is frowned upon.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/14/2007 10:30:00 PM

And somewhat less vitriolicly: the assent has not been refused since 1708. It is a dead letter. Anyone arguing that it does not automatically follow from Parliament passing a law is clutching at a very, very thin straw.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 3/14/2007 10:35:00 PM

Millsy: Its time we moved into the 21st Century folks.

Indeed it is. And perhaps you could start by leaving behind your 19th-century racism.

And as a general note, the comments section here is much nicer if people treat trolls appropriately and ignore them.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 3/14/2007 10:39:00 PM

It just goes to show what kind of people these pro-child beaters are. They advocate violence against women and children, and then they try to systemattically undermine our constitutional system.

What next, tea and crumpets with Frank Banimaramara??

Posted by Anonymous : 3/14/2007 10:40:00 PM

And somewhat less vitriolicly: the assent has not been refused since 1708. It is a dead letter. Anyone arguing that it does not automatically follow from Parliament passing a law is clutching at a very, very thin straw.

Also shows how out of date the monarchy are. Time for a republic, I say!

Posted by Anonymous : 3/14/2007 11:32:00 PM

"The National party are a bunch of violent fuckheads who dont care about a kids right to be free of violence. I think they get off on beating their kids, nothing like bashing a child with an iron bar for spilling the milk to make you feel better."

LOL - what beautiful troll irony.. the people that need regulating are always OTHER people, 'cause I have such great personal self-control.. Classic.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/15/2007 08:57:00 AM

Like I said, if parents love their children, they would stop hitting them and start hugging them.

But parents would rather hit their hug, and then polem on their right to do so, as if that is the one thing holding up society.

To have a law which endorses violence against children is disgusting. We have the highest rate of youth suicide, third highest rate of child abuse in the world, but oh no, we would rather just go on beating our kids and threating them with violence.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/15/2007 08:58:00 AM

You see, when you say it like that, you're modelling the behaviour you want, rather than just adding more abuse to the world. Way better.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/15/2007 09:47:00 AM

What interested me about your report was certain parliamentarians expressing "pride" at having smacked their children.

Most parents I know feel only anguish, guilt, remorse. Maybe, at a push, an unavoidable but distasteful necessity.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of smacking pride seems the most inappropriate description of those undertaking the act.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/15/2007 10:00:00 AM

Oh dear, millsy has returned, and now Craig R finally has a recent example to use of a nasty leftish troll.

Millsy, kindly consider that your style of debate may do more to undermine your points than to bolster them. Being verbally violent and seeking to attack others for their violence looks a tad hypocritical.

And Idsy, thanks for the great coverage, I really appreciate it.

Posted by Span : 3/15/2007 10:40:00 AM

You're right I/S a referendum on the bill would be stacking in favour of the status quo because a majority of the population disagrees with Bradford's bill.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/15/2007 11:41:00 AM

That last comment was meant to be labeled Oliver

Posted by Anonymous : 3/15/2007 11:42:00 AM

Judith Collins. What a joke. I thought she was against people who spank being in responsible roles. But now she says she is proud of it when she visits spanking on her own children. Is that perverse?

Posted by Anonymous : 3/15/2007 11:54:00 AM

Anon: What interested me about your report was certain parliamentarians expressing "pride" at having smacked their children.

Yeah. It's quite different from losing self-control, and it certainly confirmed my low opinions of the MPs concerned.

Oliver: The referendum proposal required a 60% majority to pass. That's the bit which is "stacking the deck".

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 3/15/2007 11:58:00 AM

Maurice Williamson made an ironic point about Labour's use of the whip for a bill opposing smacking (and of course National's whipping its members to support Chester Borrows' amendments is completely different)
I understand that National split its vote on the second reading 43-5 and will do so again on the third. This appears to be a sign of conscience vote and not a party vote. It is disgusting that the Borrows ammendment will fail when it may have the support of most MPs due to the fact that Labours block voting on this issue but NZ First and United Future aren't.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/15/2007 02:40:00 PM

If you vote Labour/Green you should expect to be supporting progressive policies. By the same token, no-one voting National/ACT should be under any misapprehension that they *aren't* voting for old fashioned reactionary conservatism.

There is a lot of rubbish talked, IMHO, about the voters in places like South Auckland being social conservatives and insisting on candidates like Field. Why, in that case, was Mangere Bridge perfectly happy to elect the fairly liberal, entirely uncorrupt David Lange?

Posted by Rich : 3/15/2007 04:05:00 PM

Is "white trash bogans" racist? I'd call it descriptive..

On the principle that you can't be racist about your own people, I'd like to add "degenerate child molesting pommy bastards" to the list of opponents of the bill to be abused.

Posted by Rich : 3/16/2007 11:58:00 AM

Re rubbish being talked - it's amusing to read the ongoing delusional and paranoid rhetoric anout this from the usual bloggers on a Friday afternoon. At least it would be amusing if there wasn't such a lot of anger and malice hding behind the facade of righteousness.

One can imagine these Civilization Warriors, nostrils flaring, riding out to fight this apocalyptic battle for the right to ...well never mind.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/16/2007 02:14:00 PM

Welcome to the dark side of the New Zealand culture, Ruth.

Hate ridden, intolerant, bigoted and paranoid.

Sort of like those chaps who got together in a certain Bavarian beer hall back in the 1920's, and those nice Italian chaps who had a fondness for black shirts. Not to mention of course a certain Spanish military commander in Morocco...

Posted by Anonymous : 3/16/2007 05:08:00 PM

Are you taking the piss or something? Your own posts in this very thread provide the best example of hate-ridden, bigoted, intolerant and paranoid I've seen in a long time.

Posted by Psycho Milt : 3/16/2007 07:09:00 PM

> Is "white trash bogans" racist? I'd call it descriptive...

haha rich are you taking the piss also?

Anyway I ask people to consider what other situations we can broaden what is illegal in order to ensure convictions, since it apears to be such a good way of achieving ends such as the reduction in violence against children.

1) Make drinking anything before driving illegal (i.e. any hint of alcohol at all)
2) Make any sort of speeding (over the marked limit) get a fine
3) Make possession of stolen property apply regardless of whether a reasonable person would know
4) make possession of drugs part of 'distribution of drugs' and require perscriptions to be on the person at all times
5) Make sex involving any sort of restraint or as a group illegal so rape cases can more easily be prosecuted
6) Make saying bad stuff about people illegal (no exceptions) to help with slander prosecutions
7) make shouting at people a part of the assault law
8) The discovery of discriminatory statements to automatically prove discrimination against all members of that group regardless of context
(eg milsy)
9) Looking at a person and thinking sexual thoughts to be part of sexual harassment

The system will make sure it only convicts the bad guys and in the mean time the real crime rate will crash to almost zero (even if the technical one goes up to 100%)


Posted by Anonymous : 3/17/2007 09:38:00 AM

As far as I can tell, the media coverage of this has been utter shit as usuall, tonight for the first time I saw a reasonable breakdown of what the law will actually mean, rather than the standard "volence is wrong" blah blah verses the " the government is invading my lounge and telling me how to raise my kids" bollocks sensationalist, shallow arse american style coverage that has seeped into or media, particularly TV.

This law is aimed at munters who think its okay to beat there kids with radiator hoses, and up until now have got away with it under the law.

Apparently you can still use force to punish "disruptive behaviour" or to "prevent a crime".

So no doubt you can still smack your kid on the arse if he's being a disruptive little shit and won't listen to reason.

I think its really just a blow to crap lazy parenting that has is so prevelant in our culture.

To many people have kids without thinking and then put no great thought into raising them either. Why bother to explain things and cultivate good relationships with your children when you can just smack them if they disagree with you or piss you off....

My 2 cents

Posted by QuinnaginO'finnigan : 3/22/2007 11:32:00 PM

Liberalism: The new fascism. Complete with its own dogmas that must not be challenged. Just like socialism last century, veering into totalitarianism. Counterfeit philosophies have polluted all of your thoughts.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/30/2007 04:42:00 PM