Key’s response

August 22nd, 2009 at 1:02 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Options for changing New Zealand’s approach to children will go to the Cabinet on Monday after New Zealanders voted by 88 per cent that a smack should not be a criminal offence.

Well it is good to see that the voices of 1.4 million New Zealanders won’t just be ignored.

It was muffled by a low turnout of 54 per cent, including 0.3 per cent who spoiled their votes, so even the huge “no” vote fell just short of half of the enrolled electors.

That is not a low turnout for a not held with an election. The that chose MMP for the run-off with FPP had only a 55% turnout. So it was only 1% less than the choice of electoral system.

Prime Minister said in Australia – where he is on an official visit – that voters had said strongly that “they don’t want good parents to be criminalised for a light smack”.

Yes, but that is not just saying they do not want to be prosecuted and convicted. It is saying they do not want it to be a criminal offence.

His own view was that the law was “working as it is now”.

But on Monday, he would take to the Cabinet “options which fall short of changing the law but will provide comfort for parents about this issue”.

There will be a lot of interest in these. However I believe that the law should be changed. The reason is quite simple.

The criminal code is there to reflect the views of the public on what is and is not acceptable behaviour. And almost every provision in the criminal code would have 99% of adult New Zealanders say this should be a criminal offence. 99% say it is wrong to murder, it is wrong to rape, it is wrong to beat someone senseless, it is wrong to steal etc etc.

But here we have 88% of adult New Zealanders (who voted) saying this should not be a criminal offence. If Parliament does not heed the views of voters on this issue, then we have an awful precedent where Parliament is sits as rulers rather than servants of the people, imposing their private criminal code, rather than society’s.

I’m not an advocate that Parliament in every circumstance should do what public opinion wants. The referendum on the number of firefighters was a classic case. Economic issues can be similiar as the public can vote for cutting taxes and increasing spending without the responsibility of having to balance the budget.

But when it comes to our criminal code, I find it hard to offer up a reason why Parliament would insist on criminalising something that not only lacks majority support for being a criminal act, but in fact has massive and sustained opposition.

The public understand this issue. Hell, it has been debated for two to three years. They know exactly what they voted for. The percentage who spoilt their ballot papers was a miniscule 0.3%.

There is a simple solution to all of this. The Borrows/Boscawen amendment/bill. It will in fact provide greater protection to children (as it significantly lowers the level of acceptable force for non-correctional situations) but remove the insulting differentiation between smacking for preventing disruption and for correction.

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57 Responses to “Key’s response”

  1. dimmocrazy (286 comments) says:

    Well said DPF, whatever one thinks of the substance of this law, DEMOCRACY requires that it is changed, for precisely the arguments you propose: we are talking the criminal law system here, which supposedly represents the core common moral values of society, not the political ideology of a few. Not heeding to the clear and unambiguous voice of the people is effectively an act of treason.

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  2. Cerium (23,793 comments) says:

    Sometimes lawmakers have to go against public sentiment. There are plenty of examples of that later proving to be the right thing to do.

    This is different, a bit of the right tweaking could see just about everyone being happier with the result.

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  3. billyborker (1,101 comments) says:

    There is a simple solution to all of this. The Borrows/Boscawen amendment/bill.

    There was a a far simpler solution available, and it still is – complete repeal of S.59. Children should be afforded the full protection of the law.

    The referendum has simply shown that the vast majority of NZ parents do not know how to parent. They want to be able to vent their frustration at this inability on their kids by whacking them.

    I’d like someone, anyone, to list 5 good reasosn why it is essential for parents to be permitted to act violently towards their children.

    [DPF: Because a four year old is not fully rational and it is a parents job to look after them, and that sometimes means it is necessary to use a small degree of force to get them to do something they don’t want to. And you should reflect on the arrogance you show of claiming you are a better parent than the vast majority. If you want to make those claims, then tell us about your kids, and how well they are doing compared to everyone else]

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  4. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    “I’d like someone, anyone, to list 5 good reasosn why it is essential for parents to be permitted to act violently towards their children.”

    I’ve got one, and its that you should have been drowned at birth.

    [DPF: 20 demerits – unnecessary personal attack rather than debate the issue]

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  5. billyborker (1,101 comments) says:

    Redbaiter, you neatly prove my point – your only answer is violence.

    No doubt you were savagely beaten by your parents, probably buggered at school as well, making you the vicious and angry thug we see before us today.

    [DPF: Also 20 demerits for that response]

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  6. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Borker – Are you a parent?

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  7. hj (7,137 comments) says:

    “Yes, but that is not just saying they do not want to be prosecuted and convicted. It is saying they do not want it to be a criminal offence.”

    That’s it!

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  8. billyborker (1,101 comments) says:

    Patrick – yes, parent of two, grandparent of 2 with a third on the way and step grandparent to 2 more.

    So yes, I have been there, done that. I know what I am talking about, I know how easy it is to hit, how most hitting is a reactive, not proactive, and that ultimately violent parenting is not parenting.

    If a child is old enough to understand why they were hit, then they are old enough to be educated and reasoned with. If they are too young to understand reason then how do you expect them to understand pain?

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  9. nickb (3,696 comments) says:

    borker you have the manners and intellect of a 12 year old, don’t lie to Patrick

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  10. Alan Wilkinson (1,933 comments) says:

    Well said and exactly correct, DF.

    If Cabinet doesn’t get that message they are simply being willfully and criminally obtuse.

    As for borker’s question: “I’d like someone, anyone, to list 5 good reasons why it is essential for parents to be permitted to act violently towards their children”:

    1. Because the law does not now distinguish violence from any other kind of physical force.
    2. Because the law no longer includes a “reasonable” test for the court to interpret.
    3. Because good parents should not be unequivocably criminalised for spanking a naughty child with prosecution left to the discretion of the bureaucracy.
    4. Because sometimes a quick spank settles who is boss, where the line is and lets everyone get on with their lives.
    5. Because people like you are offensive busy-bodies who cannot conceive other people are entitled to see things differently and to act reasonably in their own ways.

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  11. wreck1080 (3,999 comments) says:

    Even I know that a law change is required.

    Ya can’t just ignore 90% of the people big John. Or, I’ll vote for the hated labour next time round.

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  12. Capitalist (277 comments) says:

    The National government is at a crossroad. It can change the law to make it acceptable to the majority or It can be a pawn to the Sisterhood and its social engineering. Which was the principle reason why Labour was sent away with a flea in its ear.

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  13. billyborker (1,101 comments) says:

    Alan, try harder, only one of your 5 comes close to answering the question – the rest are simply justifications for why you want to act violently, not why it is necessary for you to act violently.

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  14. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Borker – So when you lecture us on what is suitable behaviour around a child, I trust you don’t make your offensive and extremely racist comments around yours?

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2009/08/general_debate_22_august_2009.html#comment-599146

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  15. Alan Wilkinson (1,933 comments) says:

    borker, don’t prevaricate. Only #4 is a reason for spanking and the rest are all direct reasons to fix the bad law you support.

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  16. billyborker (1,101 comments) says:

    Patrick, to be offended is a CHOICE – and if YOU choose to be offended, then that is your issue, not mine. You may also CHOOSE to pass on your thin skin to your children, or may teach them that differing opionions are the rub of humanity.

    Back to the topic – Farrar claims a 4 year old is not fully rational so force is necessary for a grown man to get his way with a child. Why does anyone think that I child will understand force better than example?

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  17. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “to be offended is a CHOICE ” you’re talking about children, who may or may not be offended by your racism?

    The same children who can choose to continue to be naughty or not – A light smack can help them make up their minds quicker cant it.
    I suppose you can choose to be offended by people giving their children a light smack, or there again you could mind you own business

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  18. TripeWryter (716 comments) says:

    I’ll make it even simpler for the Prime Minister, Phil Goff, and Susan Bradford, and Deborah Morris-Travers, and Inspector Greg O’Connor of the Police Association, and Police National HQ: it doesn’t matter a flying rat’s fuck whether the ‘current law is working’, and that ‘no parents have been prosecuted under the current law’.

    It’s this: parents don’t want to have to be looking over their shoulders or glancing sideways if they should smack their kid in the supermarket or the mall or wherever, wondering who has ratted on them to the police or to the CYPS.

    That’s what the law has done.

    It is abhorrent.

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  19. Redbaiter (11,880 comments) says:

    [DPF: 20 demerits – unnecessary personal attack rather than debate the issue]

    Unfair. He asked for five good reasons, and that was as good a reason as any I could come up with.

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  20. dimmocrazy (286 comments) says:

    Borker, end of the day, all you argue for is that the state defines how people interact with their children, to a great level of detail. While nobody will disagree with you when it comes to serious violence abuse, child labor, withholding the necessities of life etc, there simply is a difference of opinion when it comes to parental correction. 90% of voters now say that this is where the line must be drawn, this is where there is NO ROLE FOR THE STATE.
    Why can’t you simply take that as a given, and if you don’t like it, immigrate to a country where the general populus thinks according to your views?

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  21. Inventory2 (9,370 comments) says:

    Agree wholeheartedly about the Borrows amendment/Boscawen bill. We blogged an open “Memo to John” this morning, urging the government to sponsor Boscawen’s private members’ bill as a Government measure. We certainly hope that John Key will take this result seriously, and show some genuine leadership here.

    http://keepingstock.blogspot.com/2009/08/memo-to-john.html

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  22. Manolo (14,161 comments) says:

    Key is another spineless politician. His middlename must be Neville. Full stop.

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  23. theodoresteel (90 comments) says:

    Is protection of minorites and those without a voice a good enough reason to go against the wishes of the majority? Isn’t that a fundamental concept behind representative democracy?

    Also, what would the position have been on legality of homosexuality? and allowing women the vote? What a referendum had been held (where women couldn’t vote) on universal suffrage? Long lines to draw I know, but it is kind of related to your argument that criminal laws should follow the whims of the majority.

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  24. theodoresteel (90 comments) says:

    [DPF: Because a four year old is not fully rational and it is a parents job to look after them, and that sometimes means it is necessary to use a small degree of force to get them to do something they don’t want to. And you should reflect on the arrogance you show of claiming you are a better parent than the vast majority. If you want to make those claims, then tell us about your kids, and how well they are doing compared to everyone else]

    neither is a ninety-four year old senile parent. And it is the job of their children to look after them. And sometimes that may mean it is necessary to use a small degree of force to get them to do something they don’t want to.

    There is a caring familial relationship. There is a lack of mental capacity for understanding on the part of the person subject to physical correction. If you can point out a difference I would like to know one.

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  25. Repton (769 comments) says:

    there simply is a difference of opinion when it comes to parental correction. 90% of voters now say that this is where the line must be drawn, this is where there is NO ROLE FOR THE STATE.

    So would you be happy with, say, parents beating their childresn with a cane for the purpose of correction? I think many would call that child abuse, but if it’s for the purpose of correction and thus there is NO ROLE FOR THE STATE then I guess c’est la vie..

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  26. grumpyoldhori (2,205 comments) says:

    Using the does not understand rationality therefore a smack can be used falls down a bit at times.
    We have people who are mentally ill and not rational who can and do hurt themselves, should the approach be a smack to a mentally ill adult who is about to harm her/himself .

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  27. Inventory2 (9,370 comments) says:

    Repton – you fall into the Sue Bradford trap when you start to use terms like “parents beating their children with a cane”. Had there been less hyperbole and more honesty from the left, we may never have reached this point. But the more that Bradford et al talked about “beatings”, “thrashings”, “violence” etc etc, the less objective the debate became.

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  28. Shunda barunda (2,986 comments) says:

    “So would you be happy with, say, parents beating their childresn with a cane for the purpose of correction? I think many would call that child abuse, but if it’s for the purpose of correction and thus there is NO ROLE FOR THE STATE then I guess c’est la vie..”

    So we’ve had a big problem with parents beating their kids with the cane have we Repton? the problem with those such as yourself is that you don’t know when the balance has been achieved. Then out come the references to the causes championed in the past to give legitimacy to keep on pushing your latest crusade.
    Interesting that the most liberal state in the USA just voted down Gay marriage. And why? because after achieving their goal they just kept on pushing, forcing conservative ministers to marry gay couples seemed to repel the masses it would seem.
    It seems its all about the fight with these people, and keeping alive an old ideology born in the sixties that is 20 years past its use by date. Some important goals were achieved, its a shame those that were fighting for them the most have become some of the most blinkered and blind people in modern times.
    Old wineskins can’t hold new wine I guess.

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  29. democracymum (616 comments) says:

    Compulsive viewing!

    http://johnkey.co.nz/index.php?/archives/66-VIDEO-John-Key-on-the-anti-smacking-legislation.html

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  30. Chuck Bird (4,890 comments) says:

    David you put the case very well. Not just about smacking but what is appropriate for a referendum. We would all like 10% taax and so called free health and education.

    Why not consider a Rodney Hide. Let Mr Key know if he continues to bring Parliament into disruptive by giving the majority of good parents the fingers that you will join ACT?

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  31. Shunda barunda (2,986 comments) says:

    Good video democracymum, Key needs to take his own advice and stop behaving like Helen Clark.

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  32. getstaffed (8,040 comments) says:

    How can Comrade Bradford say “It’s about protecting our most vulnerable citizens”, when she’s quite happy to see the lives of our most vulnerable (~18,000 p.a.) being routinely terminated. If a smack is ‘violence’, then what exactly is experienced by each of those 18,000? (Note: I’ll jump in before DPF does. Let’s not turn this into an abortion thread. I am simply asking readers to make a comparitive assessment in their own minds)

    Bradford and her ilk are a stain on our era. Everything she stands for represents damage to the future of NZ.

    On a different note, can someone explain a ‘working’ law looks like – with reference to Key’s absurd comments that “the law is working”. The law as it stands has made criminals of probably hundreds of thousands of NZers, with their being dragged before the courts as the mercy of their kids, teachers etc and their conviction at the mercy of discretion of others.

    Listen up Key: This law is NOT working for NZers.

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  33. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    If Parliament does not heed the views of voters on this issue, then we have an awful precedent where Parliament is sits as rulers rather than servants of the people, imposing their private criminal code, rather than society’s.

    While I agree wholeheartedly with your post DPF, I’m beginning to wonder where you’ve been the last 30+ years. If Key ignores this referendum it will be no precedent.

    Parliamentarians have been arrogantly ignoring the opinions and wishes of a sizeable majority of NZers since Muldoon’s time and, to a degree, even before that (e.g. the Vietnam war).

    They have behaved as rulers, never as servants. I could list so many personally observed examples, let alone historical ones…

    The attitude was perhaps best summed up for me by Jim Bolger who, when PM, wouldn’t join Moore, Anderton and Peters who each came on my show one morning a week to be questioned, often using questions submitted during the week by listeners. When I asked Bolger why, he replied in that ridiculously affected tone he used to adopt “Because ayyyeee am Prime Minister”.

    I couldn’t even be bothered pointing out to the bumpkin that that was precisely why he should be accountable.

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  34. Chuck Bird (4,890 comments) says:

    Discussing abortion achieves nothing. Whatever one thinks of it it will never be made illegal. I am certainly far from a pro choice advocate but I would be just as angry if a militant minority somehow manage to make it illegal against the wishes of 90% of the population. This smacking issue is as much about democracy as about parental authority.

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  35. dimmocrazy (286 comments) says:

    A serious legal scholar once proposed that the concept of ‘rule of law’ (what we ought to have in a democratic society) includes the principles that:

    – law should conform to standards that enable it to effectively guide action, and
    – that the machinery used to enforce law should not deprive it of its ability to do so.

    The ‘smacking legislation’ as it stands does not comply with these principles. The law is ambiguous and difficult to interpret and understand. It applies a standard that is in sharp contrast with what many reasonable moral people think (i.e. the majority). As a result, this law is incapable to effectively guide action.
    Its enforcement depends on interpretation by police and other enforcement agencies, and it has severe possibilities for abuse and harassment. Enforcement involves a huge level of discretion. As a result, what is prosecuted day one in place A, may be OK on day 2 in place B. It is a law, in other words, that is not the same for everybody at all times. The way it is enforced further deprives its ability to guide action.

    This law has never complied with the requirements of a proper law, and the referendum simply proves that the people have recognized this.

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  36. Fletch (6,516 comments) says:

    I also think the law MUST be changed, as I blogged this afternoon –

    According to a comment from John Key this morning, he would take to Cabinet –

    “options which fall short of changing the law but will provide comfort for parents about this issue”

    This is not good enough. It falls into the same status as the unwritten idea that gives Police discretion in whether to prosecute in situations where a child has been smacked. There is a reason why we write down laws: it is so that everyone understands them; lawyers, judges, police and the public can refer to them; use them to prosecute or defend; determine whether laws have been broken or crimes committed.

    What is going to happen in 50 years when the “general understanding” around the issue has long passed from human memory? All that those in the future will have is what we have written down or prescribed in law – the law that must be obeyed and enforced.

    That provides little “comfort” for me, or for the parents and future parents of this country.

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  37. billyborker (1,101 comments) says:

    [DPF: Because a four year old is not fully rational and it is a parents job to look after them, and that sometimes means it is necessary to use a small degree of force to get them to do something they don’t want to. And you should reflect on the arrogance you show of claiming you are a better parent than the vast majority. If you want to make those claims, then tell us about your kids, and how well they are doing compared to everyone else]

    Perhaps you could give an example or 2 of WHY “…it is necessary to use a small degree of force to get them to do something they don’t want to.”.

    If a child can’t tie a shoelace, should you “use a small degree of force”?

    If a child won’t eat cabbage, should you “use a small degree of force”?

    If a child won’t go to bed, should you “use a small degree of force”?

    I would really be interested in seeing some examples where you think its OK to “use a small degree of force”.

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  38. getstaffed (8,040 comments) says:

    I would really be interested in seeing some examples where you think its OK to “use a small degree of force”.

    borker – willful defiance, causing (or being about to cause) harm to self, others or property. And remember, ‘a small degree of force’ could be a range of measures including timeout, rapid removal from place of danger, instant cessation of privileges or a light smack.

    I want to be able to choose which mechanism best suits my parenting style, my child’s personality and the actual situation. I want you to have the same freedom.

    But that won’t do for you hang wringing, PC liberals who want to control how I raise my kids.

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  39. TripeWryter (716 comments) says:

    If a child can’t tie a shoelace, should you “use a small degree of force”?

    If a child won’t eat cabbage, should you “use a small degree of force”?

    If a child won’t go to bed, should you “use a small degree of force”?

    I would really be interested in seeing some examples where you think its OK to “use a small degree of force”.

    Borker:
    I don’t know if you are a parent. I am.

    I would not smack a child if he or she can’t tie a shoelace. But I would, if that is what it took, for a child who COULD tie a shoelace and who refused to.

    If a child refused to eat cabbage, or go to bed when told. You bet. That is wilful defiance. (never mind that wilful and defiance is tautological, but you get my meaning)

    If you are a parent, how you bring up your child is entirely up to you. I would not display the effrontery that the backers of the repeal of section 59 have done.

    As I said to a person who upbraided me after my first (and last, really) supermarket experience: these are my children, I am responsible for them, and if you want to usurp my place and tell me how to bring them up, please give me your name and address, and I’ll have them and all their gear around to your place by teatime’.

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  40. Manolo (14,161 comments) says:

    “Key needs to take his own advice and stop behaving like Helen Clark.”

    Unfortunately, policywise Key is nothing but a poor rendition of Clark.

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  41. Piob (17 comments) says:

    I’m hopeful that conservative Christians don’t get their way on child smacking any more than they did on homosexual law reform, corporal punishment and Sunday trading. In spite of the result of the referenda, with it’s ridiculous question, I hope the government shows some leadership.

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  42. Bogusnews (414 comments) says:

    Five good reasons for smacking kids? I don’t know where the magical number five came from, but I’ll give it a go.

    Saying that because we don’t smack adults we shouldn’t smack kids presupposes two things:
    1. The way we discipline adults actually works. (I’ll list this as reason one. No one with any common sense will argue our current discipline system for adults is actually working.)
    2. Children and adults both think about things in the same manner, approach things in the same manner and therefore respond to the same stimuli. This can be number 2. You can reason with an adult, try reasoning with a two year old. there are many things we do to adults we would never do to children and vice versa.

    For number 3, we can look at the disastrous consequences of removing corporal punishment from schools. the year after corporal punishment was removed expulsions increased by 34%. Within four years by nearly 112%. The MOE has twice released policy guidelines that urge teachers to lower the standard of behaviour they expect from children. It’s the only way they can think of combating the massive increase in expulsions. We were told children would become more gentle and peaceful. I think you would have to have rocks in your head to think it has worked.

    For number 4, try the fact that there is virtually zero evidence that appropriate smacking causes any harm. For example, out of 133 alleged research papers on smacking (many of which are touted by the nit wits that support anti smacking over here) found that 87% had to be discounted. Why? Because they were just opinion driven editorials with no new empirical evidence.

    for number 5, I’ll say this. I’m going to spend 250,000 on each of my kids on average before they leave home. Essentially, unless someone is prepared to give me at least $100K for each of them, if they want to tell me how I have to raise them, they can just f**k off.

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  43. Piob (17 comments) says:

    When you remove smacking as part of your parenting toolbox, things become quite simple – you find another way of correcting behaviour! It’s quite sad that so many people regard smacking children as their god given right. Use your brains people and find a non violent way of dealing with your children. It’s not that hard – and I’m glad that our leaders are ahead of some so many of us. I just hope they don’t buckle.

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  44. big bruv (14,211 comments) says:

    I am really starting to dislike Neville Key, when will the wanker wake up to the fact that the people have spoken?

    He has reached the level of arrogance shown by Klark within twelve months, unless he does something about this law his poll ratings will drop dramatically.

    I hope the bastard is rolled by the few real Nat’s inside the party, he is more suited to being on Labour’s front bench anyway.

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  45. Grizz (244 comments) says:

    This is a totally pointless debate. Whether or not we can smack our kids detracts us from what I feel is the more immediate issue being children who are murdered or severely beaten by their caregivers. If only we had better laws to recognise at risk children and help them before they are harmed and to have more tools to never allow certain people to ever be in the position of being a parent again. Once we can sort this out, I will be happy to have a smacking debate.

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  46. Fletch (6,516 comments) says:

    ps, if Sue Bradford now believes that 88% of the country have just voted for “violence against children” (a phrase she likes to throw around) then there is something wrong in the way that SHE understands the question and the whole issue.

    The woman has her own issues.

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  47. side show bob (3,410 comments) says:

    Piob you simple minded cretin I for one are tied of government telling us how to run our lives, that slag Clark was bad enough and it seems the new clown is a born again arsehole. I don’t tell you how to raise you children, that’s your business let me mind mine. This law has allowed children to be remove from homes with simple allegations, I have been told so to my face by front line CYFS workers who love this law as they are now the law. How would you like someone walking into your house and taking your children on the allegation of smacking. This law is an evil law that seeks to turn children against parents and allows to much power into the states hand. And if you think I’m talking shit then I humbly suggest you study your history, start with Hitler, Nazis.

    Meanwhile If National have forgotten who they work for perhaps the warehouse needs to stock up on torches and pitchforks. Bring on the revolution.

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  48. side show bob (3,410 comments) says:

    For anyone interested there is a debated on the website “abovetopsecret” (USA) about the New Zealand referendum, some interesting posts that a few of our politicians would do well to read.

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  49. kino flo (83 comments) says:

    Reasons why the Prime Minister does not want to repeal the law. Either

    1) He genuinely believes the amendment is the right thing to do for the future of our children and our country. Or…

    2) He is confident that his electoral support will enable him to ride out a brief storm, because he is concerned that the repealing the amendment will damage the international reputation of his government. That is, he doesn’t want to be known as the reactionary conservative at the APEC table. Or…

    3) The internal polling suggests that most of the swinging middle ground do not want the amendment changed, or do not care enough for Key to be concerned.

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  50. Chuck Bird (4,890 comments) says:

    “The internal polling suggests that most of the swinging middle ground do not want the amendment changed, or do not care enough for Key to be concerned.”

    Is that another way of saying he is a prostitute – a political prostitute. Three guesses why he brought bask knighthoods.

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  51. Fisiani (1,051 comments) says:

    It appears there are two options

    1. If the law stays unchanged but police are ”invited’ or ‘encouraged’to not prosecute then parents who smack have committed a criminal act but will not be prosecuted.
    2. If the Burrows amendment is added to the law then parents who smack have not commited a criminal act. They are not reported to CYFS and not reported to the Police

    Nearly 90% of New Zealand actually voted for Option 2

    Mr Key No deals no compromise no fudging no reviews. Give the people what they have asked for.
    It. costs you nothing.

    Could this be a political masterstroke.
    Spend 48 hours making it sound like you will go for option 1 then announce that the will of the people is clear and go for option 2

    That would bring thousands of Labour voters who cast their ballot for NO towards National.

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  52. Piob (17 comments) says:

    I’m not calling anyone a simple minded cretin Side Show Bob, but the idea that the state has no role in the raising of our children is just wrong. Even the most rabid libertarian would agree that there a limits to what a parent can do to their children. I would argue that children deserve to be free from parental violence, and I would include the kind of ‘loving smacking’ that Simon Barnett advocates a his primary means of correction, you might argue that a light smack should not be called violence. But the state does have a role and our representatives have to decide where that line is. Personally I’d rather leave medieval biblical attitudes out of the debate and stick to proper recent evidence (which every non Christian child & family agency and lobby group has done). I’m also prepared to let our representatives show some leadership and leave things as they are and go against the referenda – it ain’t broken!

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  53. side show bob (3,410 comments) says:

    Sorry Piob it is broken, you have one major failing in your argument you place your faith in government to do the right thing, this they may do but history is littered with examples where the government uses laws to attack the very people that elected them, the people. I’m sorry but I do not trust government, you may, good luck to you. I believe you will live to regret this trust in our elected officials.

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  54. MikeNZ (3,233 comments) says:

    Fisani
    I’m not sure we can trust Key anymore.
    What with this smacking law and all that he has said and done since becoming PM, over it. Intefering with the voting by saying he won’t change no matter the vote. then saying he wouldn’t be voting so trying to put the party faithful off voting.
    Plus the racist super city seats on top of that.

    I think we need to have someone of honesty and principle like Rodney Hide having a major say around Mr Keys table to get fairness and Justice done for kiwis.

    My boy thinks John Key looks smarmy and maybe thats the truth out of thew mouth of babes.
    I just think that if John Key and National have broken the social compact with us. We should never trust them in power alone again.
    Party Vote ACT to keep Key honest.
    How hard is that?

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  55. Scott (1,807 comments) says:

    I’m sick of godless activists hijacking this country.Bring section 59 defence back in its entirety for parents and for schools.

    Watch violence drop as order is restored-particularly in schools where teachers apparently feel unsafe in the playground.

    Time for a law change. Smacking is the right thing to do as part of good parental discipline and if you don’t agree with me fine. Just stop imposing your views of parenting on everyone else.

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  56. Nigel Kearney (1,094 comments) says:

    My take on this is that Key desperately wants the media to like him, because they control how the voters see him. The media are mostly interfering busybody leftists who think it’s fine to control how other people raise their kids and I’ll bet most of them voted ‘yes’ in the referendum. Voters will probably forget about the smacking issue by the next election but it will be a hard two years for Key if the media turn against him. So it’s just cynical politics to ignore the referendum, as it has been with the other referendums that have been ignored.

    I don’t agree with David’s argument that Parliament should defer to the public on matters of criminal law. It’s an area where Parliament needs to analyse the problem and choose what it believes is right, even if that may be unpopular. The number of seats in Parliament, on the other hand, is something that politicians should have no say in whatsoever as they have a hopeless conflict of interest. The public have already voted on that and David is pleased they were ignored.

    [DPF: I disagree. The number of MPs in Parliament doesn’t really affect the average person. It is a minor trivial issue. The criminal code does greatly affect the average person and you should not have things as crimes which the vast majority of the population say should not be a crime]

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