Borrows on Section 59

A good interview in the NZ Herald with Chester Borrows on the smacking debate. He makes the point he is not pro-smacking, he is just against a flawed bill. Some quotes:

“I have prosecuted people for beating their kids, I have considered section 59 and how that would apply to situations,” Mr Borrows said.

“I have probably done more to protect children in this sort of area than anyone else who is in the Parliament, and I don’t want to see it trivialised.”

Mr Borrows served as a police officer in Auckland, Wellington and Nelson, before becoming a sole charge officer in the South Taranaki town of Patea.

A crucial point in his journey to Parliament was becoming a detective and investigating a series of child abuse cases.

“That experience has been life-changing, and made me want to make things better for victims of crime.”

It has also made more hurtful the comments from some supporters of Ms Bradford’s bill that by opposing it, Mr Borrows supports the hitting and abusing of children. “I think I’ve got quite a strong understanding of the nature of abuse, how it works within the heads of victims and how it works in the heads of offenders. I don’t like that label, I don’t think that’s fair.”

Mr Borrows, a 48-year-old father of three, also resents any assumption that he supports smacking.

“I have never advocated smacking. I don’t want to be labelled the pro-smacker. What I am is the defender of parents and children. This whole debate is about whether or not parents who smack their kid should be liable for prosecution.

“It’s not about whether smacking works, and it’s not about whether good parents smack and bad parents don’t. It’s solely about whether parents who do smack their kid should be liable for prosecution.”

And that is the crux of the debate. The Borrows amendment would outlaw all those cases cited by supporters of the Bill as having escaped successful prosecution, yet provide certainty that a light smack for the purposes of correction would not leave parents at the whim of Police or CYFS.

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