John Key announced yesterday the panel and terms of reference for reviewing how Police and CYFS are implementing the amended Section 59 (the anti-smacking law).
The TOR says:
To review New Zealand Police and Child, Youth and Family policies and procedures, including the referral process between the two agencies, in order to identify any changes that are necessary or desirable in the interest of ensuring that:
1. good parents are treated as Parliament intended under the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007
2. provisions of the law (both criminal and under the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989) are applied to those who abuse children.
Now like many, my preference is for a law change, not just a review of policies and procedures. But the choice of independent reviewer is a very good one, which should give some credibility to what he reports back.
The reviewer (along with the MSD CEO and Police Commissioner) is Nigel Latta, the host of the Politically Incorrect Parenting Show, that showed on TV One.
Latta has said:
I have been approached by the Prime Minister and asked if I would consider participating in a review of the Police and CYF processes around S 59 to see if the law is working as intended. I have agreed to participate in this review on the basis that it was understood that my role was independent and that I was able to speak freely about both the process of the review, and my opinions regarding its findings.
So if he disagrees with any conclusions, he will say so. And more interestingly:
For the record, and this is something I have commented on publically in a number of contexts, my personal view on S59 is that I did not agree with the original law change.
I also voted no in the referendum. I do not believe that a parent smacking their child, in the ‘common sense’ understanding of what that means, should be subject to criminal prosecution or investigation.
That is a very useful statement, because he has said not only should parents who merely lightly smack their child not be prosecuted, he says they should not be investigated (presumably by Police or CYFS).
Again my preference is for a law change, but nevertheless this review looks to be potentially quite positive if done well.
, Nigel Latta
, Section 59