Sue’s Truth: The referendum – the aftermath

The New Zealand Truth has become the Truth Weekender, so the publication both there and here of my regular article there will be a bit later in the week from now on. This week I focus on the aftermath of the child discipline referendum.

Last week the result of the child discipline referendum came out.

There is no question that the number of those voting ‘no’ was stunningly high.

However, I would have a lot more respect for the outcome of the refendum if the question originally asked had been a lot clearer.

In the last few days of the referendum period I increasingly came across people who said they totally supported the law change we achieved two years ago, but who also voted ‘no’.

I genuinely believe that the ambiguous and confused question put to voters has resulted in an ambiguous and confused answer.

It is also a fact that when the number of people who didn’t vote at all (46%) is added to the number of those who voted ‘yes’ or who spoilt their ballot papers, a slight majority of New Zealanders did not support a law change, whatever the interpretation of ‘no’.

And of course children and young people don’t get to vote, even though they are the people most affected. When you take this factor into account, 33% of New Zealanders voted ‘no.’

I am therefore pleased that earlier this week the Prime Minister John Key reaffirmed his Government’s position of sticking with the law as it is

He confirmed that until or unless there is evidence of New Zealand parents being criminalized for trivial or inconsequential assaults on their children, he plans to leave things as they are.

Mr Key also announced three measures he hope will allay the fears some parents have that they will be criminalized for trivial assaults on their children.

He is asking the Police and CYFS to take a look at processes around how they deal with those who abuse children; bringing forward an MSD review of how the child discipline law change is working in practice; and asking Police to continue 6 monthly reports on the operation of the law.

All of these steps are quite sensible in an environment where people continue to be so anxious about the ramifications of the new law.

I hope that despite the pressure now bearing down on them that John Key and the National Government will continue to stick to their principles.

After all, in 2007 they voted for a law change which finally gave children the right to the same legal protection from violence as we parents have.

I hope no New Zealand Government ever buckles to demands coming from some of the supporters of the ‘No’ vote campaign to reinstate a law allowing for parents to legally beat their children, including with implements.

This debate around child discipline has been raging for four years now.

It would be good to have some breathing space for a while to allow the law to bed in, and for rational reviews and research to take place so we can all understand what is really going on.

I also hope the Government will put more resources into some of the things that can really make a difference – for example, by increased access to parenting education, and lifting funding to groups which help support families and children.

158 thoughts on “Sue’s Truth: The referendum – the aftermath

  1. It is also a fact that when the number of people who didn’t vote at all (46%) is added to the number of those who voted ‘yes’ or who spoilt their ballot papers, a slight majority of New Zealanders did not support a law change, whatever the interpretation of ‘no’.

    I wish this had not been brought into the argument. It is IMPOSSIBLE to assess the opinion of a spoiled ballot or a non-voter. Asserting that they don’t support a change as a result of their failure to state an opinion is simply not helpful and is so obviously an error that it will gather fresh opprobrium from the masses who quite definitely disagree.

    Better it had not been said at all. The rest of the arguments are at least consistent with reality, if their expressions are somewhat “slanted”.

    reinstate a law allowing for parents to legally beat their children, including with implements.

    …as has been pointed out several times, the CURRENT law allows that provided it is not “for purposes of correction” and the inflammatory rhetoric about “beating our children” is JUST as insulting to most parents as it has always been.

    We don’t need more inflammatory rhetoric on this topic. All it will get us is more trouble.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  2. Marxists/Leninist ideology holds that the “bourgeois” nuclear family is an obstacle to socialist revolution and must be disenfranchised.

    The Khmer Rouge subscribed to this and forcibly separated children from their parents so that they could be raised “ideologically pure” by the Party.

    To New Zealand’s great credit, an overwhelming 87% of voters voted for liberty and freedom.

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  3. I hear that the National government is seperating children from their parents, sending them off to ‘camps’ operated by the armed forces and others carefully framed as ‘holiday camps’. Sounds like stage one Pol Pot to me.

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  4. You wouldn’t be Trevor Louden perchance oob? Or just some wingnut from Farrar’s troll farm who’s read far too much of Louden’s conspiracy theory.

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  5. 87% voted that “good parents shouln’t be criminalised”
    But in NZ you are free to interpret this however you like

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  6. “And of course children and young people don’t get to vote, even though they are the people most affected. When you take this factor into account, 33% of New Zealanders voted ‘no.’”
    —-
    that’s not true as it is with reference to their childhood experiences that adults form their opinions on smacking.

    [YESTERDAY EVENING, the Chief Returning Officer announced the results of the so-called "Anti-Anti-Smacking" Citizens Initiated Referendum. The count showed that nearly nine-tenths of the voting population responded to the question: "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"; by voting "No".

    What does that result tell us about those New Zealanders?

    Does it tell us that 87.6 percent of us are inveterate child-beaters: cruel and unusual punishers, who see their children as some sort of personal possession; mere extensions of their own, all-too-fragile, egos – rather than as vulnerable little human-beings, with the same right to be protected from common assault as any adult?

    Has it, if only for the brief moment it took to draw the heavy curtains of silence and denial more closely together, afforded us a glimpse of the ugly dysfunctionality at the heart of the New Zealand family?

    Has it alerted the 11.8 percent of us who voted "Yes" that all around us children are living in a state of deep emotional confusion: never knowing from one moment to the next whether the adults they love and trust most in the world are going to suddenly lash out and whack them?

    To hear the defenders of the "Anti-Smacking" legislation tell the story, that’s exactly what the result of the referendum has told us.

    Are they right?

    The answer, of course, is "No."

    http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com/2009/08/deafening-echo.html ]

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  7. Chris Trotter says something similar:

    “So why have these young New Zealanders (along with their non-smacking parents and grandparents) voted “No.” instead of “Yes.”

    The answer, I believe, is because, intuitively, they perceived the legislation repealing Section 59 of the Crimes Act to be a product of an extreme, left-wing ideology, which locates the source of most of modern capitalist society’s social pathologies in the “bourgeois” nuclear family.

    Other examples of social legislation – specifically those implicitly critical of conventional sexuality and the institution of marriage as traditionally defined – were widely perceived as being inspired by the same ideology. But, because they impinged upon the lives of such a small number of their fellow citizens, most “ordinary” New Zealanders were willing to let them pass more-or-less unchallenged.

    But, the “Anti-Smacking” legislation was a different kettle-of-fish altogether. It implicitly criticised both the conduct and the ethics of the overwhelming majority’s immediate – and extended – families. The law repealing Section 59 hit people directly where they lived.

    And they weren’t having a bar of it.”

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  8. That was in reply to Toads:

    You wouldn’t be Trevor Louden perchance oob? Or just some wingnut from Farrar’s troll farm who’s read far too much of Louden’s conspiracy theory.

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  9. All of these steps are quite sensible in an environment where people continue to be so anxious about the ramifications of the new law.


    the ramification of the new law they don’t like is that the law now frowns upon smacking or (in essence) blames the majority for the behaviour of an identifiable and (somewhat) treatable small minority.
    Smacking is seen as a contagion that spreads from mainstream society and goes feral when it reaches a certain down and out demographic. Sue Bradford blamed the death of the Kahui twins on “not being part of the good side of life” (despite the household pulling in about $1800 in welfare).

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  10. I will however, try to keep my peace here as well. It isn’t an argument that has a good ending place. Just another form of R-war.

    BJ

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  11. Sue you have a deeply flawed understanding of democratic process, how ridiculous that you think those that didn’t vote are supporting your position.
    John key is addressing the UN in a wee while when in New York, I guess he didn’t want to upset their agenda of banning all parental authority by 2009 in all western democracy.
    This ideological assault on our freedom must be resisted and those who think this is only about smacking are naive, stupid, or both.
    What’s next on the agenda Sue? giving 12 year olds the vote?

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  12. Logically, the question being asked is:
    Should: (for all cases where smacking is part of good parenting) (smacking be legal).

    However, because current scientific evidence shows that physical discipline has adverse long term effects on the child, the question might as well be:
    Should smacking, as part of pigs flying and fairies living in the back garden, be a criminal offence in New Zealand?
    In other words, no matter which way you vote, the voter is not giving general endorsement to smacking being legal in ordinary circumstances.

    One legitimate approach to the result might be to delegate judgement on whether or not smacking is bad for children from parliament to the courts, based on expert testimony (perhaps with measures that allowed anyone to have a say, with a review every ten years, rather than in every single case where the question arises). As long as efforts are made to ensure the process includes bona fide research, and is not stacked by pro-violence religious types, it is hard to see how the result could be anything except a conclusion that smacking plays no part in good parenting, and therefore there are no circumstances in which it is justified.

    In case anyone doubts me on this, a quick search on Google Scholar for “parenting physical discipline effects”. Some quotes from articles which came up high in the search:


    Although the merits of parents using corporal punishment to discipline children have been argued for
    decades, a thorough understanding of whether and how corporal punishment affects children has not been
    reached. Toward this end, the author first presents the results of meta-analyses of the association between
    parental corporal punishment and 11 child behaviors and experiences. Parental corporal punishment was
    associated with all child constructs, including higher levels of immediate compliance and aggression and
    lower levels of moral internalization and mental health. The author then presents a process– context
    model to explain how parental corporal punishment might cause particular child outcomes and considers
    alternative explanations. The article concludes by identifying 7 major remaining issues for future
    research.


    At each wave, mothers reported their use of spanking and rated their children’s behaviour problems. Maternal emotional support of the child was based on interviewer observations conducted as part of the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment. For each of the three racial-ethnic groups, spanking predicted an increase in the level of problem behaviour over time, controlling for income-needs ratio and maternal emotional support.

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  13. Ah yes, the vast left-wing conspiracy. Shunda, the guy who doesn’t like to see important issues politicised, reminds us once again that Sue is remote controlled from New York and wonders why only jh takes him seriously.

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  14. So Valis the UN doesn’t have a plan to ban all corporal punishment in the home no matter how minor by the end of 2009?

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  15. A1kmm , what you are saying doesn’t even make sense. That’s the problem in relying on lawyers and psychologists to make laws for normal people, they have no reference to reality.

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  16. Research pyschologists have a very good reference to reality – studies are not pulled out of thin air, they are based on actual evidence.

    The studies I quoted above have shown that if you hit real, typical children when they don’t do what you tell them to, initially they start to do what their parents tell them, but they also start to become more aggressive almost immediately, and in the long term, their behavioural problems get worse, they have a less developed sense of morality, and mental health is worse. In other words, there is certainly a reference to reality – the evidence that parents who hit their kids are doing long term psychological harm to them.

    Compare this to people who believe that they have a god given right to thrash their kids around a bit when they don’t do what they are told – where is their sense of reality?

    I expect that most people who voted no didn’t vote for the right to beat up kids when they don’t do what you want – even if that is what Family First wants. They voted for a process which decides based on whether or not smacking is good for kids in the long run. I agree with that principle – although I voted yes because I correctly predicted that the media would interpret a no vote as a vote to make smacking legal, which is not what my intention was.

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  17. I always love the title “sues truth” as it highlights both the subjective nature of truth and sues utter detachment from anything one could logically deduce from the experience the world offers.

    What A1kmm says about research psychologists is true for the most part. Many of them have a fairly strong grounding in reality. The problem is the ideologically tinted glasses through which they look. A research psychologist is like a mechatronics engineer whom suddenly decides they would make a wonderful quantum physicist. They simply arnt on the same level as the neuroscientist and are almost always very ideological about the way they do things. Thus why the named DClinPsych is a far less respected degree for a researcher compared to a unnamed PhD in neuroscience. You always have to be very careful with criterion validity when dealing with the work of a DClinPsych, that said I have not read the article to which A1kmm makes reference.

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  18. “current scientific evidence shows that physical discipline has adverse long term effects on the child, ”

    what do you mean by physical discipline?:

    Numerous overseas studies have shown that children who are physically punished are more likely to be aggressive and antisocial, have poor parent-child relationships and develop mental illnesses.

    But the lead author of the physical punishment part of the Dunedin study, psychologist Jane Millichamp, said the project appeared to be the first long-term study in the world to separate out those who had merely been smacked with an open hand.

    Preliminary analysis showed that those who were merely smacked had “similar or even slightly better outcomes” than those who were not smacked in terms of aggression, substance abuse, adult convictions and school achievement.

    “Study members in the ‘smacking only’ category of punishment appeared to be particularly high-functioning and achieving members of society,” she said.

    “I have looked at just about every study I can lay my hands on, and there are thousands, and I have not found any evidence that an occasional mild smack with an open hand on the clothed behind or the leg or hand is harmful or instils violence in kids,” she said.

    “I know that is not a popular thing to say, but it is certainly the case.

    “The more honest researchers have said, let’s be honest, we all wish we could say it’s all very clear and that no parent should ever lift a finger on a child – although I think that is totally unrealistic as a single parent myself – but the big problem is that a lot of the studies have lumped a whole lot of forms of physical punishment together.”

    Dr Millichamp said the Dunedin study so far found no evidence of the “slippery slope” theory – that parents who started off smacking often progressed to abusive punishments.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10404809

    “Otago Study Still World Leader 30 Years On

    For the past three decades, every aspect of their health and development has been tracked — their physical growth, their psychological growth, how they negotiated the hurdles life throws up, why they sometimes failed to negotiate them, and what health problems they had. And those are just some of the measurements made.”

    http://dunedinstudy.otago.ac.nz/news/childhd.html

    perhaps all those parents weren’t so silly?

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  19. A1kmm,
    I decided to have a look for the cited articles. I have access to the full texts. I used the same search s you.

    You deliberatly left out part of the abstract for the second which you cite one which clearly states that the effect of spanking on later problem behaviour is moderated by maternal emotional support and applies only where there are low levels of such support. The same study also makes no distinction between the degree of physical force used, relies heavily on self-report data, and refers to spanking as ‘hitting’. In over half of cases the amount of spanking used went down over the observed period and most others stayed constant. Additionally, maternal emotional support was correlated .29 to p<0.001 with the income to needs ratio used to measure effective social class.

    The other cited study, being a meta-analysis, would simply take me far to long to read.

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  20. I noticed in the Green party documents that Sue was “looking forward” to the next part of the Dunedin Study. Did she not receive her copy? I looked and looked but couldn’t find any reference on the Green web-site!?

    Hmmm come to think of it when Dr Millichamp presented her submission to the “select” committee Sue “questioned her motives”

    tch,tch,tch!!!

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  21. Cindy Kiro (on TV3 or TV1) refered to a meta analysis which (she claims) said it was “never ok to smack”

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  22. The meta analysis study I mentioned earlier (Gershoff 2002) did in fact exclude studies which included ‘extreme’ forms of discipline from the meta-analysis.

    I haven’t been able to find any actual results published or released results from Millichamp et. al. which draw any conclusions about the effects of hitting kids on outcomes. This paper (https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/119-1228/1818/) says who was spanked, but not the results on them.

    However, if that data-set was used to draw such conclusions, there would potentially be several methodological errors that would be hard to address:
    => There are essentially three groups in the study. Those who were not physically punished at all, those who were only physically punished by an open hand slap, and those who experienced being hit with an object or other more severe physical punishment (including those who received the strap at school).

    However, there are essentially two different populations – those who were not punished physically, presumably because there parents went out of their way to ensure they were not – such as by choosing which schools they go to, and those who were.

    Of those who were not physically punished, there is no filtering of the population. Of those who were physically punished, those who misbehaved at school and received the strap are excluded because they were hit with an object.

    So, due to the former practice of strapping children at school, it would therefore be a methodological error to compare those who were never hit, with those who were hit, but never with an object.

    It may be issues like this which account for why the first part of the study was accepted into a peer reviewed journal, but not the second part. Or maybe it just hasn’t been finalised yet – I have no information on this.

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  23. Sapient,
    you seem to be focusing on wether or not the smacking has a negative effect; a sort of clinical approach (talking about the Dunedin study a while back, trying to propagate mistrust of the other researchers here now)
    but I think that, to focus on what effect smacking has is to miss the point; the real question is: does believing a child will be ok in the long run warrant over-looking the human right to be free from physical harm? is that all it takes for us to set-aside out principles

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  24. I don’t know whether Sue received it either, but if you find the study anywhere I would like to read it.

    Until the study actually materialises in a public form, the meta-analysis you refer to is by far the best evidence – it looks at massive numbers of different people over all when you take all the people pooled across all studies it included, and so is most likely a far better study to go off than a single retrospective observational study which doesn’t appear to have even been published yet.

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  25. The arguement is not if the act constitutes a violation of human rights but if the act, when used correctly, produces a net benefit for the child themselves and for society. Human rights are themselves a trivial and totally subjective concept with no place in such an arguement.
    In establishing net benefit one must detirmine both the potential for benefit and the potential for harm and thus my criticisms are extremly relivant, particuarly in showing the bias of both sides, though in this thread only one side has shown such.
    Smacking should be a last resort but it should still be an option to which one can resort. All the studies, including the meta-analyses, which find smacking to be bad find eaither that there is no distinction made between smacking and hitting or, where such a component is studied, that it only leads to negative outcomes where there is low maternal compasion (likely where smacking actually acts as a reward of sorts).

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  26. Yes Bioneer I agree; although the real question is how do we stop more kids getting ‘the bash’ or being beaten to death? The answer is to change the culture of acceptance of violence towards kids.
    s59 is an attempt at this. The whole debate about light smacking (or trivial assults) is a side-show. Key has assured us that good parents doing good parenting will not be criminalised.
    People promoting light smacking, however well intentioned, are not reducing the level of acceptance of violence towards kids. You could even argue they are doing the opposite.

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  27. Human rights exist for a reason – they make humans free to pursue the highest order activities of humanity – to develop their cultures, ideas, and knowledge bases – without fear of interference from other who would violate their rights.

    It is not surprising that modelling violence to children makes them copy those behaviours. That is why violent acts against our children do not have a net benefit for humanity. It also teaches them that it is better to avoid getting caught doing things, rather than helping them develop their own model of what is right or wrong.

    Low levels of emotional support interact with smacking to increase levels of aggressive behaviour – so the overall damage to the child is greater than the sum of the parts… but that doesn’t excuse smacking even when there are high levels of emotional support, it just means it has a much smaller negative effect.

    Smacking is hitting… there is no technical distinction between the two. The meta-analysis excluded studies which included abuse. To quote the study:
    “To ensure that the corporal punishment considered in the meta-analyses
    did not include possible physical abuse, studies that grouped or compared
    corporal punishment with techniques that knowingly would cause severe
    injury to the child were excluded. Examples of excluded definitions of
    corporal punishment include “whipping, punching, slamming against the
    wall, tying up” (Bryan & Freed, 1982, p. 79), “angry abuse, slaps, or
    beatings” (W. McCord, McCord, & Howard, 1961, p. 83), and “spanking,
    slapping, shoving, yanking, kicking, beating severely with object (leaving
    a mark on the body), hitting firmly but not severely (no mark is left on the
    body), pulling hair, twisting an ear, making the child kneel on hard objects,
    making the child stand for a long time, pinching, shaking” (Rohner,
    Bourque, & Elordi, 1996, p. 845). Two coders agreed consistently in
    deciding which studies to exclude on the basis of this criteria”.

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  28. Hey what’s wrong with Marxists/Leninist
    they wrote some fantastic music

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  29. Human rights are human inventions and are thus subjective and non-universal. Rights exist due to mutual agreement not to exercise a positive freedom (liberty) and are in themselves a negative freedom. Since children are not privy to the agreement they do not have human rights, they can only have extended privledge. We agree that human rights can be violated in some circumstances such as is the case with imprisonment if a social advantage is perceived. It is likewise with these extended privledges.
    I would normally scroll up now to re-read the rest of your post and address the point but the new layout makes it that much more difficult so I really cant be bothered. Though one should note that these studies are correlational.

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  30. You mean Sue and her advisers aren’t familiar with the Otago Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study? The one that made the cover of Time magazine?

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  31. Fin

    The answer is to make it damned clear what is NOT permitted. To make it a teachable law.

    That is what this law (and the previous law) fails to do and be.

    You make a list of things that are EXPLICITLY against the law, that you can put onto a little “pledge card” in 5 languages and promulgate in every culture in the country. You make it absolutely clear that these things are against the law and WILL be prosecuted and failure to report them is complicity. You give family members a lever to use against the abusers that has nothing to do with “intention” or “for the purpose of” and make it simple enough that they don’t need to find out from a judge in a courtroom that they’ve made a mistake.

    This is at least in part, about moral reinforcement for the people AROUND the abuser who are inclined to “do the right thing” and their ability to put pressure on the abuser to seek help. The principle defense the child has is the community/extended family that contains the family to which the child belongs.

    Which is none the wiser in the current circumstance.

    BJ

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  32. Two new long-term studies that show many children have been subjected to violent physical punishment clearly illustrate the need for the repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act, the Green Party says.

    “These studies, part of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, show that some parents are not deterred from beating their children so badly it results in long-lasting physical injury and emotional trauma, Green MP Sue Bradford says.

    Ms Bradford has a private member’s bill before a Parliamentary Select Committee that would end the legal defence of ‘reasonable force’ in child assault cases. Submissions close on February 28.

    Ms Bradford says the results of these studies are very pertinent to the debate around whether to repeal s59.

    “The figures show that four out of five children in one study were physically punished, that 45 percent were hit with an object and six percent were subject to extreme violence. These findings bear out all other evidence that New Zealand remains a very violent place for children to grow up.

    “While these figures are from the people who were children in the 1970s and 1980s other research would indicate that the figures haven’t changed since,” she says.

    “We just can’t go on ignoring the evidence, because of unfounded fears that parents will be turned into criminals for lightly smacking their children. These findings reinforce that it is imperative that we eliminate the anomaly in New Zealand law which gives people a defence of ‘reasonable force’ when they hit or beat children.

    “The fact that violence against children is legal helps to sustains a culture of ongoing severe violence.

    “There are many other options for child discipline and, in fact, the results show that children and young people find non-violent punishment like time out, grounding and loss of privileges have more impact on them. This is consistent with what many educators and researchers have been saying for years – physical punishment is actually the least effective in terms of changing what parents perceive as ‘bad’ behaviour.

    “I look forward to seeing the results of the next stage of the study, which examines the long term effects of physical punishment on children.,

    “These two investigations will be very useful in informing the work of the Select Committee,” she says.
    http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/studies-prove-need-repeal-section-59

    Preliminary analysis showed that those who were merely smacked had “similar or even slightly better outcomes” than those who were not smacked in terms of aggression, substance abuse, adult convictions and school achievement.

    “Study members in the ’smacking only’ category of punishment appeared to be particularly high-functioning and achieving members of society,” she said.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10404809
    :oops:

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  33. I wonder if at some stage people could be given a statement to read and sign such as “never shake a baby” or “if you kick someone in the head (in a fight) you will do ___” (eg getting a drivers licence). Then there would be no excuse.

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  34. The answer is to change the culture of acceptance of violence towards kids.

    you make some basic assumptions there; why not target those most at risk as Pita Sharples said (or the Kahuis) “it was the sort of place where they were likely to have a beer crate dropped on them”
    in other words why try to alter the behaviour of the rest of the country for people like that when the rest of the country are bringing up their children very well (without Sue Bradfords advice)?

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  35. There is no evidence that smacking causes a more violent society, this is just hand wringing nonsense from those blinded by an all encompassing anti force ideology.
    There is however ample evidence for children having an increasing lack of empathy for other people which is leading to a drastic increase in child to child violence that will likely transfer into adulthood.
    This is due to a lack of clear boundaries and the current practice of trying to increase a childs self esteem through artificial means, ie the pushing of a radical human rights ideology into the education system, parenting courses, and now the law.
    It is people pushing the anti smacking ideology that will make our society more violent, the evidence is already there and rapidly increasing.
    You are bringing about the very thing you are trying to cast out.

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  36. nothing is subtracted from this equation – smacking is violence created.
    It may not cease for a thousand years – but – as it says on the UN building
    about beating swords into ploughshares.
    All the Macho swelling doesn’t look good on the record.
    Inviting the Law into areas of likely gossip and hearsay
    Is fraught with danger
    Maybe some thinking from
    Inside the box….?

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  37. Mark I am raising kids in an environment created by the left, I am living with this rubbish every day and can see very clearly the damage the left have done to our kids. This anti smacking nonsense is not progressive it is just the left over ideology of people who did too much acid back in the day.
    Now these has beens have influence, so they implement their ancient tired old agenda.
    Its too late.
    Move on.
    There were issues that needed addressing back in the sixties/seventies and perhaps people like Sue were necessary back then.
    But now these people are like old wine skins, no longer flexible and incapable of holding “new wine”.

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  38. In the discussion that has surrounded the law change the point is often raised that research shows no detectable harm to children who have been mildly physically punished when compared with children who have had no such punishment. It is true that this is what a considerable body of research shows. One is our own Christchurch longitudinal study. (Fergusson, Lynskey, 1997)

    http://yesvote.org.nz/2009/06/11/ian-hassall-how-did-we-come-to-have-a-law-that-supported-hitting-children/

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  39. Shunda – I am entirely sympathetic to your views – it’s why I wouldn’t Vote in the Referendum.
    – no kids!
    I can only think it is the hardest of jobs – there is a line between violence and abuse – why – if I can’t tap my tiny terriers on the nut to stop them getting runover, then they’ll die.
    There is no argument – just some common ground.
    NZ is tediously over regulated already
    and has a density of obsolete references
    Incite the Law into my home?
    IME – Never
    You have the children – not me; you voyage a sea I may not know
    Love them kid’s – when the storm is gawn
    They will return you same i reckin

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  40. On Back benchers the insightful Catherine Delahunty is adamant that the referendum result is the result of asking a confusing question she says that loudly 3 times. Perhaps she should have answered for all the poor dears who didn’t understand the question?

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  41. jh asks “why try to alter the behaviour of the rest of the country for people like that when the rest of the country are bringing up their children very well”
    The ‘rest of the country’ you refer to who are good parents are not going to be criminalised. We can not make a law for ‘the rest of the country’ and one for the Kahuis. I’m sure you’re not advocating different laws for different people. The difficulty is that you are wanting the perfect law. Your search will be long. What do you think of BJ’s ‘pledge-card’ in 5 languages? (with respect BJ) I’m sure that Chris Kahui will keep it in his pocket for quick reference… Oh I see you, jh, prefer a child bearing license. Of course the logic is indisputable. How come you need to pass a test to drive a car but anyone can raise a kid? So when sitting the ‘raising kids test’ how would you measure the smack’s force?
    This law, like most laws, is an ass. It may seem strange then that I am proud my party (as well as pretty much all others) voted for it.

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  42. The ‘rest of the country’ you refer to who are good parents are not going to be criminalised. We can not make a law for ‘the rest of the country’ and one for the Kahuis.
    —-
    this is the point :people who voted “No” don’t want smacking to be an offence.

    or as the Press editorial says:

    “It is the fact that the law frowns on smacking that will encourage parents to rethink and change their behaviour towards their children such is the influence of formal sanctions in altering humans’ attitudes.”

    this assumes that one shouldn’t smack and that those who have and do need to change their ways. People don’t except that in fact they think schools are too slack and “you can’t do anything” as in we are at far end of the pendulum. Getting to the Kahui’s the fact that theft is illegal doesn’t stop people from doing it.

    The yes vote ignores research that smacking is harmless instead conflating smacking with severe corporal punishment and general bad parenting and cannot produce any evidence of a slippery slope. There is plenty of evidence (however) that an identifiable group are “most at risk” and that programs are available but are short of cash.

    The repeal S59 campaign has been a red-herring and the referendum has shown it is a small elite who are trying to wag the dog but that they are out of touch, not backed up by research and have their heads up their backsides.

    The pledge card is a good idea as people wont be able to claim ignorance.

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  43. “The pledge card is a good idea as people wont be able to claim ignorance.”

    We could have pledge cards for every aspect of our daily lives!
    We could bind them into a manual! A manual called, “How to live your Life”!

    jh! This is exciting!

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  44. Due to the ‘success’ of the $9m make-work referendum scheme is it true that the Government is running three more referenda?

    “Should smacking as part of good political correction be a criminal offence”?

    “Would you like to pay less tax”?

    and
    “Should other motorists be required to get out of the way when you want to use a busy road?

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  45. The referendum proved that its possible to pass laws via MMP that the overwhelming majority of people don’t want.

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  46. fin said “Of course the logic is indisputable. How come you need to pass a test to drive a car but anyone can raise a kid?”

    The only major flaw in citing driving lincence in relation to the “parental licence” concept is that the most popular method used by parents to exercise harmful levels of violence upon their children is by driving carelessly. This is yet another area where stranger danger runs a poor second to the danger from family members nevertheless almost all of the child road safety resources are focused on the relatively minor problem of child pedestrians being struck by “speeding” drivers. Yet another example of politicians pandering to public hysteria or hell bent on raising revenue for hobby horse projects instead of excercising their responsibility to provide good governance.

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  47. I think that MMP deflects attention from individual politicians due to the horse trading that goes on between parties. The strategy seems to be to be as bad as you can get away with, but no the worst. Also, we are seeing the results of list MP’s who wouldn’t have a show of winning an electoral seat pushing their barrow over the wider public interest. due to their appeal to a nutter element where they otherwise, wouldn’t pass smell test.

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  48. how do they all fit under one bed????
    Is there something you’re not telling us jh?

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  49. From The Press

    “New Zealand taxpayers spent just short of $9 million on a referendum that could never be more than symbolic: a token action against equally helpless symbolism, since the 2007 Crimes Act amendment was never more than that, either.
    Gestures such as these are unreal next to the horrific roll that continues in the homes of our most vulnerable children. When a far more substantive response is already addressing the causes of child abuse, albeit to a limited extent due to lack of resources, such expensive gestures are nothing short of obscene. Proven early intervention programmes already exist and are working to turn around our most socially deprived families — just not enough of them.
    Some may find this unpalatable, but none of the mothers, fathers, whanau, step families or other caregivers of the children killed or injured over the past few weeks set our to neglect, maltreat or beat them. Rather, they lacked the skills for the vital job of caring for these vulnerable infants
    With the right kind of help all could have been shown how to become better parents, and save their children from the fates they have met
    Unfortunately, effective programmes, proven to work with the most intractable families, those most prone to abuse their infints, are seriously under resourced. That $9m, spent on working intensively to turn around severely dysfunctional families might have saved the lives that were damaged or lost during the referendum, and substantially assisted hundreds more to turn around similarly blighted lives.
    Families most. likely to kill their children are typically beset by poverty, crime, fragile mental health, unemployment, lack of education, poor housing, drug abuse, and histories of violence and victimisation.
    However, with diligent, systematic, professional care, provided by experts and focused on the needs of the child, deprivation that spawns child abuse spanning many generations can be addressed, creating a safe environment for children like those who died or were critically injured during the past few horrific weeks.
    A specialist service focused on prevention and targeted at the highest risk group, is able to act to help these families learn the parenting skills they lack, and therefore break the cycle of child maltreatment and abuse.
    With the referendum over, perhaps we can put polarisation and gestures behind us. Perhaps
    we can focus instead on adequately resourcing programmes that prevent ehild abuse. The outcome such programmes provide seems to be something we all want whether we ticked “yes”, “no”,
    or were so fed up that we did not vote in the referendum.

    Dr Annabel Taylor teaches social policy and social work practice at the University of Canterbury School of Social Work and Human Services. She also chairs the Family Help Trust, a Christchurch-based charity working to prevent child abuse in families suffering the greatest
    social dysfunction and deprivation.


    In other words Bradfords efforts just polarised us and didn’t help anyone much. The whole thing hogged resources where people who know what they are doing could have made good use of them.

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  50. Police are not there to interpret law; that’s a very slippery path to head down on. What other laws would we like them to interpret – and who gets the benefit of the doubt? We now have a govenment that doesn’t listen to its people but will let the police interpret laws – and you want that?

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  51. Sadly JH, your first two words (“I think”) are at odds with the rest of your ‘contributions’ to the debate.

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  52. Well I’m a tiny bit concerned – red and Green are the colours the colourblind have the most trouble with – and the person is obviously well and truly lost – dunno – call me a good samaritan – we’ll fix him to a pony and head it off towards the Right direction

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  53. adw

    Some of us, who ARE Greens, have made this point at length. The law remains… as it is a product of a private member’s bill and a bizarre agreement between Labour and National.

    I don’t think that people in general recognize the problems they cause themselves by “letting the police decide”, nor the problems they are storing up for the future.

    It is apparently very common for New Zealand’s legislation to be more vague and leave more to the police and courts, than anything I am used to seeing. Perhaps it comes of having an “informal” Constitution and Bill-Of-Rights following on the British model ( All we need is to form the Maori into the new House of Lords ).

    So it isn’t unexpected. To my mind the parliament is doing a half-@ssed job so is only worth half the money we pay to support it, but that’s not a referendum measure we’re going to see action on anytime soon. :-)

    respectfully
    BJ

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  54. “Police are not there to interpret law; that’s a very slippery path to head down on.”

    It sure is.
    Just have a look at other countries that pass laws (South America) that are not strongly enforced.
    The likes of Sue Bradford will have this country in a similar state in no time.

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  55. Shunda – you want the police to go ‘by the book’ in every instance (let’s leave aside the question of smacking for a moment)?
    Discretion excercised by the police is a double-edged sword – it can, often as not, work to your advantage. I’d be a little concerned if there was no lee-way given under any circumstances. Wouldn’t you?
    Back to the smacking question – have there been a number of instances to date, where the police have abused their powers around instances of smacking? Key seems to think not. I think not. Do you think so (or just wish it were so?)

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  56. You know I agree with you Shunda. The thing is that it isn’t a matter of “Sue Bradford”. It is common practice in New Zealand. Regulation is whatever the regulators think it is. Law is whatever the police and courts think it is.

    Which works until it doesn’t, but when it stops working things turn Orwellian really really fast. The police state is easy to reach.

    Of course a system of explicit but self-contradictory laws gives almost the same result, except that the police themselves don’t control what enforcement is done.

    In both cases though, the ordinary citizen is in a trap. Everyone will have broken some law, and nobody can know all of them, and so everyone is vulnerable and must do whatever the system “bosses” wish of them.

    Nothing to do ’bout it now.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  57. Greenfly

    The issue with the police is a two-edged sword as well.

    You will not hear of the times when an officer who thinks the law is a silly intrusion turns a blind eye to more abusive behaviour.

    Police discretion is one thing. Being unable to know what is actually illegal is an entirely different level of vague. This version is NO different from the previous version except for making it illegal to use “reasonable” force for purposes of correction. You can still use “reasonable” force tor prevention and a couple of other things, but…

    WHAT THE **** IS “REASONABLE” !???

    Nobody knows. The police decide. Same as before. No clarity, and it is just as legal to use an axe-handle today as it was 3 years ago. As long as it is not “for purposes of correction”.

    So different communities with different standards of “reasonable” persist in misunderstandings, people around the victims don’t have any guideline to determine what is “right” or “wrong”. The whole sorry mess is perpetuated, and kids continue to be hurt and killed.

    I am all for “police discretion” , but I FOR SURE want to know where the lines are, beyond which that is all that stands between me and a courtroom.

    That certainty is what we don’t have much of in NZ. Except for stop signs and speed limits I don’t think we get much of that at all.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  58. bj – at risk of creating a black hole, I have to say that there is certainty, if you don’t hit.

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  59. If you were really worried about police abuse of power greenfly, you would be as concerned as I am at the govt passing ambiguous laws.
    Just because it is not happening now is no comfort whatsoever.
    This law is infrastructure for the abuse of power not only by police, but also social workers that currently have no independent review authority.
    In effect it comes down to the social beliefs of the individual social worker or cop as to how much they hassle people such as myself.
    The slippery slope is not smacking leading to violence, it is stupid lawmaking leading to a banana republic.

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  60. “Just because it is not happening now is no comfort whatsoever.”

    You’ll be equally worried about tazers then Shunda? And increased powers for the police to ‘observe’ you electronically or the raft of other erosions of privacy that have quiety slipped into place since the National Party took power in New Zealand. Or is it just this one Shunda?

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  61. police discretion is at the very heart of our social problem
    If u 2 r a cop – no problem – if you are black or unwashed, look out – if there’s nothing there they’ll make it up! And back it with ultra-serious consequences (blackmail at it’s finest) if you plead not guilty.
    A shameful sham.
    Doubters try your luck

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  62. The overwhelming majority don’t want “good parents criminalised”, and they won’t be.

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  63. Shunda – tazers then, you’re not a little concerned that the police might be less than perfect in the deployment of such power – I don’t mean now of course, while the issue is under a spotlight of sorts, but later, when there are other issues to distract us, the public. Can you see that those same police that you fear might misuse their power to arrest ‘good parents’, might be as likely to use the tazer in ways that don’t comply with the initial terms of use. For example, they might be used to force a man standing, harmlessly, in a river, to give himself up …hang on…!!

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  64. I would bring in a larger quoted piece:

    In the last few days of the referendum period I increasingly came across people who said they totally supported the law change we achieved two years ago, but who also voted ‘no’.

    I genuinely believe that the ambiguous and confused question put to voters has resulted in an ambiguous and confused answer.

    It is also a fact that when the number of people who didn’t vote at all (46%) is added to the number of those who voted ‘yes’ or who spoilt their ballot papers, a slight majority of New Zealanders did not support a law change, whatever the interpretation of ‘no’.

    And of course children and young people don’t get to vote, even though they are the people most affected. When you take this factor into account, 33% of New Zealanders voted ‘no.’

    This represents a complete failure of Sue Bradford to consider the views of New Zealanders or accept the democratic process if it doesn’t result in what she wants.

    She starts with pure anecdote, which we’re expected to believe 100%. It is that people supported the change in the law that outlawed smacking for correction but also don’t want that practice outlawed. This is nonsense or else Sue Bradford meets a lot of people (actually, she doesn’t give an indication of the numbers, just that it was an increasing number) who find simple questions as difficult to understand as she does.

    To lump together all of those people who couldn’t vote or didn’t vote, together with the tiny portion of yes votes is ridiculous and the mark either of panic at having realised she is so far off public opinion or else a bizarre attempt to continue to justify her irrational position.

    I doubt anything would shake her from wanting to control other people’s lives.

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  65. In the last few days of the referendum period I increasingly came across people who said they totally supported the law change we achieved two years ago, but who also voted ‘no’.

    she should buy a lotto ticket

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  66. No matter what spin the anti-smacking brigade puts on last week’s referendum, the result is still mind-boggling. …

    The assumption of voter ignorance is the typical sort of patronising claptrap used by the liberal elites to conveniently explain away something that disturbs their comfort zones. …
    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2009/08/armstrongs_view.html

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  67. Well dang me, how do you get hit by a non-object then? Duh, Sue Bradford, mentally challenged methink!

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  68. Trendy lefty liberals. If they don’t get what they want they go and have liddle widdle tantrums and shout, and shout, and shout (3 times even – heavens tuh betsy, exit, stage left, no right, no…)

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  69. You’re right, the majority won’t, but a significant minority will… it’ll just take a little time for it to play out. Friend of mine is a cop. Says that they have been instructed to take it easy for the first couple of years and then whammo, all hell will break loose with arrests galore on the flimsiest of accusations. Wake up sheeple, the greens and the gummint are taking control. Time to stop taking the Valium…

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  70. I hope no New Zealand Government ever buckles to demands coming from some of the supporters of the ‘No’ vote campaign to reinstate a law allowing for parents to legally beat their children, including with implements.

    I don’t know which “no” supporters you’re talking about (perhaps you could name them?) but clearly 87% of voters did not vote for the kind of law you put up as a straw man. Voters want a smack, as part of good parenting, to be legal. That is all. Sue is being disingenuous by bringing up position that do not fall into the scenario voted on.

    John Key is dead wrong and presenting an untenable position (especially for a man who was minded to vote against the law change in 2007). The vote was clear that people don’t want a light smack to be a criminal offence. Therefore, it is untenable for John Key to say he wants to ignore that vote, retaining the criminal offence, instead offering further guidance to police.

    John Key claims that the vote was not for a change in the law when it clearly was. A smack is a criminal offence and people do not want it to be so. It can’t be put any clearer than that.

    We continue to have weak leadership.

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  71. The overwhelming majority don’t want “good parents criminalised”, and they won’t be.

    fin, the only way that can be true is to change the law. Currently, a smack for the purposes of correction is illegal. Whether a parent who administers that correction is arrested, or not, is up to the police. So you can’t be certain that good parents won’t be criminalised. The overwhelming majority voted for a law change, not words from politicians.

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  72. Voters want a smack, as part of good parenting, to be legal. That is all.

    Except for the guys running the ‘No’ campaign? Larry Baldock:

    Mr Baldock said his proposal, unlike the Boscawen bill, would let parents hit their children with instruments such as a wooden spoon.

    “I’m not opposed to the wooden spoon or ruler because you can control things with that better than you can with an open hand.”

    And Bob McCroskrie:

    Although McCoskrie personally thinks it is OK for a parent to use a wooden spoon to discipline their children, he believes it would be clearer if it was written into the law that it was all right to use an open hand to smack a child on the bottom and the hands.

    “I’ve always thought it would be better to give parents certainty and just say use your hand, and then you know exactly what the force is. At the same time, I hear mums say they prefer the wooden spoon and sometimes that has the same effect as an open-hand smack. I do have a problem with belts… we should stay right clear of that level just to avoid any doubt.”

    I wonder how many wooden spoon mums there are out there.

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  73. Greenfly

    If the only way to obtain certainty is to not smack at all, then the effect is what 87% of NZ has been afraid was happening in the first place.

    – That raising children to have respect for their elders is against the law.

    That isn’t what the LAW says. I DO have a right to use “reasonable force”.

    I can argue that in court with confidence that the jury will be 87% in agreement with me. I can argue it with the cop on the beat too, with confidence that I am far more likely than not to find him in agreement with me.

    The problem is that there is NOT certainty… and if I were to overreact to some provocation by my child I would have exactly the same options for arguing, though the odds of success would diminish. The key is that I COULD argue, and that it is a matter of opinion and my eloquence, not law, whether I succeed in that argument.

    The key is that if I were to abuse my children it is STILL a matter of opinion, within my family, whether I did or not. No clear cut definition exists. My Mother-In-Law can’t tell me it’s against the law, because the law doesn’t SAY what is against the law. My wife. My friends. Nobody can gainsay my opinion, because the never to be sufficiently damned law is “reasonable” rather than explicit.

    The point I have been making (Fin, pay attention) is that if EVERYONE in the family (and I include the Kahui family) knows what explicitly IS against the law, then it is far more possible/likely one or more of them will stop the process before a child is injured or killed. A clear law gives people greater power to resist and inhibit abusers.

    Right now it is still open slather. Is it “reasonable” to products of the once-were-warriors culture and mindset? Is it reasonable to some extremist religious whacko?

    Those cultural aberrations are where the law MUST be explicit for it to be understood… where the culture of the larger society has to prevail over the culture of violence. It can ONLY do so by making it CLEAR that their idea of “reasonable” is not acceptable.

    Which will not prevent a drunken fool from destroying someone else’s children. Such is still possible. A clear prohibition only makes it less likely.

    This law does NOT do that.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  74. Ecch!

    Misspoke… as I didn’t mean to imply that it is impossible to raise children to respect their parents without smacking. It is possible, just difficult.

    It IS impossible to do without using force of some sort. It may be impersonal force ( confinement to a chair or a room ) or some other non-violent but forceful measure, but those things ARE force. They are harder for the child to learn from. The spanking is clear, immediate, and easily understood. With millions of years of evolution behind that understanding.

    BJ

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  75. Greenfly

    My odds of dying when shot with a Tazer are vastly less than if I am shot with a Glock. Policing is NOT a safe profession, and the use of the Tazer can be and is governed by law just as the use of firearms is governed by law.

    Having the Tazer doesn’t give the policeman carte-blanche to shoot whoever he-she chooses because the person shot, is still innocent until proven guilty, and can sue the cops if the shooting doesn’t meet the criteria of the law.

    A vague law however, makes it impossible to determine innocence or guilt without going to court, and the lawsuit against the cop for “false arrest” is even less possible. I am less pleased with the Tazer’s deployment if the law around their use is vague. Which perhaps lends weight to your concern, as recent laws in NZ ARE vague. Much like the government itself is vague. However, the Tazer isn’t the problem. The tools the police use are not a problem. The police function within a framework of law. Their actions are subject to societal control through the law.

    The control goes out the window when the law is vague.

    BJ

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  76. Assault Laws in NZ are quite adequate – the will to enforce them is not as good.
    Thus this effort at lancing the boil through robust Publuc Discussion – leading nowhere in particular…the desired effect – no change…?
    Violence is a mortal decision – you need a License to to own a house, car, trailer, gun, plane.
    The only adequate system that Polices Parenthood comes, too late for the Children. And the damage done echoes for lifetimes (longer)
    Who can face the Facts? What if…?
    If Adolph’s Daddy didn’t hit him quite so hard, quite so often?
    Who can be in favour of abuse when it translates so readily into State Hate crimes?
    Our record as a species is extremely poor – we seem to relish violence – specious excuses are simply not defendable.
    Proper education on the ramifications of belting little humans should be given out at school. That would make for the single largest drop in NZ’s crime rates – Ever!
    As is, all parents are, in a sense, Test Pilots; not an ideal situation.
    For violence is an evil contagion that takes the strongest person, and destroys all parties involved – it takes the bravest character to lay the abuse aside.
    As for Tazers….get out the body bags – if you suffer from epilepsy, heart or cns issues, any electromagnetic sensittivityi – they may be worse than bullets.
    With the Level of compassion given out at your local Police Barracks – good luck.
    Perhaps the next Referendum might address Euthanasia.
    Tazers represent a drop in our standard of civilization – state sponsored torture is not a good look. Incidentally, Bush’s Boys are looking at Charges of same – let’s hope sanity prevails, and Justice is Seen to be Done. (is tourism still our no;1 earner? Bring out the torture – cut those numbers down!)
    I am constantly amazed to see a society driven by gossip, rumour and hearsay, assume the righteous Garb of a Sanctified Correctness.
    Figures are purposely missing, but State sponsored torture in NZ is of the Third World Variety – for violence is a plague that denies the “‘better angels od our nature” eeecccch…poor, poor and hopeless.
    If we are to leave violence as an historical activity – our Goverment must be the Best Example
    Wow it’s Late – thought I’d shaken off my feckless Ideals…
    Not today

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  77. bj – I went ecch! too, when I read – That raising children to have respect for their elders is against the law.
    but you claimed a mispeak in time :-)

    I take your many points and agree with you – not difficult, because I am not arguing that the law is water-tight and clear. The problem of vague laws is also a factor in the use of tazers by police and that too is true enough but I was thinking of others issues, in particular the diminuation of the art of persuasion and negotiation as a result of holding a ‘zapper’ in your hand. The same argument applies with a law that says you can smack. Where before, time and discussion would have brought in the errant soul, now, a quick belt becomes the preferred option.

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  78. Mark – the possession of tazers by police reminds me of the classic experiment done where subjects were given the ‘ability’ to administer electric shocks to people who were unable to see those administering the electricity. It became, as I recall, a very ugly scene, with dials being cranked-up and periods of zapping, prolonged. All cunningly acted, I believe, bar the dial-turners, but sobering as hell.

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  79. Hi Fly – yep, it may be late nite cynicism on my part – but having an ‘anti-smacking’ vote whilst bringing in tasers seems a little inconsistent hey?
    Time for a Polly of good conscience to enquire after our exact intentions.
    And what happened to our integrity, consistancy, humanity.
    Not everyone will be affected the same way – some are relatively unaffected whilst others may die.
    Wonder if we gonna taser Children….as part of good guidance blah blah.

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  80. I’m ashamed to be a NZer. The mentality that allows parents to hit their is without one of the most horrendous attitudes and probably accounts for the low mental aptitude of NZers as a Nation. It is the basis of the power and control issues which contribute the whole bullying culture of NZ.

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  81. Sue
    What a load of crap.
    I am ashamed that we have people like you that are stuffing up our country at a rapid rate of knots.
    If smacking is used less than ever before Sue, why is our country becoming more violent?
    Power and control?
    pffft!!

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  82. How much force should we allow? How do we then educate the public about this force to use? Is it a good idea to promote the use of force on kids?

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  83. Preliminary analysis showed that those who were merely smacked had “similar or even slightly better outcomes” than those who were not smacked in terms of aggression, substance abuse, adult convictions and school achievement.

    “Study members in the ’smacking only’ category of punishment appeared to be particularly high-functioning and achieving members of society,” she said.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10404809

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  84. I’m not sure if the study looked at poor wrecks of children who had been brow beaten or whatever.

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  85. I’m not sure it is that diffuclt, but then all kids are different. I don’t subscribe to ‘tough love’ techniques but if a kid realises that someone (a parent) who has always loved them, is really cross and apparently losing some of that love, then the kid will realise they’ve done wrong.
    BTW, you can add 9ks to any speed limit except by a school, you’re only ‘allowed’ 4ks over there.
    I think a culture change is more likely to affect the Kahui’s than education, however well intentioned. But funding educational courses, such as the ones jh refers to is probably a very good idea. I would assume the Greens would be all for such funding.

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  86. ‘similar or even slightly better’
    and from these words in a newspaper article from the author of a study that is refuted by thousands of international studies you want to promote smacking and risk losing the chance to change the obvious culture of acceptance of violence towards kids in NZ.

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  87. Shunda – are you arguing (through your question to Sue) that our country is becoming more violent because smacking is used less than ever before?
    Could you perhaps be overlooking other factors to further your argument?
    Nothing on the effects of television, xbox, sugared-up diets, modelling American gangsters, violent music lyrics etc. etc?
    Just ‘smacking is used less’?

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  88. I can’t quite see how legislation designed to stop violence is having the opposite effect but agree with greenfly, it’s certainly what people want to see on tv. If it wasn’t it wouldn’t be there, right?

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  89. Phil – it’s when the talking stops that you have to start letting the dogs off at night…

    … or perhaps it’s for the same reason that you maintain yer lively banter over on Kiwiblog..

    ..congratulations btw..

    ..your ceasless grinding has worn some of their grit off..

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  90. a short history of the green party…

    ..nine years in parliament…

    ..the first half..

    ..g.e..

    ..the second half..

    ..smacking..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  91. You appear to be being disingenuous Fin or didn’t you understand the article?

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  92. “I can’t quite see how legislation designed to stop violence is having the opposite effect”

    Oh of coarse not, I mean, it was you guys that came up with that legislation so how can it possibly be wrong!!.
    Maybe jimmy smacking plays an important role in helping some children to develop empathy for others. Maybe jimmy there are some kids that NEED to be taken down a peg or two

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  93. “Nothing on the effects of television, xbox, sugared-up diets, modelling American gangsters, violent music lyrics etc.”

    Are you part of family first greenfly?

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  94. Why are you bothering phil? You and I are not so different you know, just opposite ends of the spectrum.

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  95. Shunda – I doubt jimmy had a hand in it (so to speak). Not wildly extrapolating again are you?

    Am I part of family first? It’s always been family first for me Shunda, then friends, community, my job(s) then finally, a little time for myself, blogging :-)

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  96. Wildly extrapolating?

    hmmmm, I was responding to:

    “The mentality that allows parents to hit their is without one of the most horrendous attitudes and probably accounts for the low mental aptitude of NZers as a Nation.”

    Low mental aptitude from smacking?
    Perhaps a more reasonable angle for our collective stupidity is the fact that “smart” women are told the “smart” thing to do with their unborn children is to rip em to bits and suck em out.
    I would have thought stopping smart people from breeding would breed stupid people by default. No?

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  97. I’m going to start collecting signatures for a public referendum on whether we should smack Sue Bradford.

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  98. “Should smacking politicians as part of good political correction be a minimal offence in NZ?.”

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  99. I wish we were as passionate about supporting young Mothers in the huge task of parenting.
    The reality is we leave them to struggle & hold threats over their heads.

    Looking back over 70 years I believe we had it so much better. We were cared for in hospital; we had a Nurse calling at our home, even in the country.
    I raised four good citizens from that support base.
    I do not believe I would be able to do half as well in today’s climate of confusion.
    I take my hat off to today’s successful Mothers.
    I would never judge one who fails; the odds are stacked against them.

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  100. What can we do Kelpie? Being a mum in the traditional sense is almost frowned upon by women’s rights activists now days, do you think maybe that is a factor?
    My wife is a fantastic mother, I would love to see some radical feminist try to preach their crap to her, it would not be pretty!!!

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  101. Shunda – ‘ almost frowned upon’ – That’s harsh!

    What have the views of a ‘radical feminist’ got to do with the discussion?

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  102. Actually I don’t know, must have had a visit from the rant fairy again :)

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  103. I think his point was that there are thousands of studies that came to opposite conclusions of that single study.

    It may be that the study is unique in that it differentiated between light smacking and more extreme forms of punishment and somehow managed to unearth some new truth, but not being an expert who has read heaps of studies on the matter, I don’t know.

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  104. It’s quality that counts not quantity ;but you would assume the Green party are familiar with the research.

    In the discussion that has surrounded the law change the point is often raised that research shows no detectable harm to children who have been mildly physically punished when compared with children who have had no such punishment. It is true that this is what a considerable body of research shows. One is our own Christchurch longitudinal study. (Fergusson, Lynskey, 1997)

    http://yesvote.org.nz/2009/06/11/ian-hassall-how-did-we-come-to-have-a -law-that-supported-hitting-children/

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  105. Intellectual Dishonesty and Red Greens (oxymoron Greens)

    # Falafulu Fisi (275) 7 2 Says:
    August 31st, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Toad and his pro-Bradford legislation buddies is a classic example of what’s known in philosophy as tautology logic. It is described as a proposition where it is always true under any possible valuation (also called a truth assignment or an interpretation) of its propositional variables.

    If one says the term smacking in relation to Bradford’s bill, Toad, Bradford & Co will say beating, which means that they equate the 2 as:

    smack == beating

    Whichever term that one chooses to describe this anti-smacking bill, will always be true according to tautological logic which is adopted by Toad, Bradford & Co. Yep, I saw a post from Toad yesterday (Sunday) on a different thread using the term beating.

    Toad, may I call you Toadology? I am sure that the term beating will keep coming from you including Bradford & Co, for as long as this anti-smacking bill is being debated in the public.

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2009/08/i_got_hacked_-_yeah_right.html#comments

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  106. That’s MMP for you: poly’s can’t see beyond parliament. Key obviously thinks the (titter titter): “greens” (titter titter) are his constituency.

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  107. And my response to Falafulu over there, jh, was:

    No, I don’t equate the two. They are on a continuum. Tell me, what is the precise amount of force where it ceases to be “smacking” and becomes “beating”?

    Seems no-one among the spankers over there’s up for answering that question. Are you, jh?

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  108. Of course smacking /beating is a continuum but you do replace smacking with beating. Or are you saying that because you can’t define it they are the same?

    Smacking is the one where:

    “In the discussion that has surrounded the law change the point is often raised that research shows no detectable harm to children who have been mildly physically punished when compared with children who have had no such punishment. It is true that this is what a considerable body of research shows.”
    http://yesvote.org.nz/2009/06/11/ian-hassall-how-did-we-come-to-have-a -law-that-supported-hitting-children/

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  109. She accused her opponents of double-standards. Bradford said the same people who were saying it was okay to assault a child, would be horrified at the prospect of a law allowing anyone to use physical force against their wife. I don’t know if people really do think about that, that it (should be) okay to do that to children but not to adults,” she said. “There are a lot of people that are absolutely dedicated to getting my law overturned; they want the right to beat their kids, they want the right even to beat them with implements. The true agenda here is to able to beat their kids again legally.”

    :roll:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-news/news/2815051/Death-threats-to-Sue-Bradford

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  110. the “No” vote won a resounding victory: “No” to Sue Bradford. “No” to the Green Party of Aotearoa/NZ.

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  111. Toad

    I’m not going to do it over. We outlined a reasonably explicit law earlier.

    The question SHOULD be about the law, not the descriptions. This is polarizing language and we should know better.

    Smacking and Spanking and Beating are different words with a nuanced differences. As an American my nuances are probably different from yours, but a beating is something administered for a rather longer duration, and doing more lasting damage, than a spanking.

    Spanking a child is a short duration event, it is not a beating. Most parents are well aware of the difference.

    The repetition of the insult, and Sue does do this often enough, has made enemies of people who would be inclined to view our environmental policies more positively. In fairness, Sue has copped a hell of a lot of flack from the other side. Self-defense is understandable, but the polarization is real.

    BJ

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  112. And yet ‘No’ meant ‘Nothing!’

    If anything, the ‘No’ vote transformed ‘Smilin’ John’ into ‘Johnno’

    No good, if you know what I mean.

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  113. Greenwash of the Left:

    I’m quite sure bj is a true green as for the rest of you it’s obvious where your priorities lie.

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  114. Thanks for the link jh. I’ll use it to ask Key why his party is so determinedly anti-environment.

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  115. No, it looked more like a goblin with a bald head.
    All it kept saying was “you have to ACT, you have to ACT”

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  116. Bang on as much as possible about environmental issues (get votes); everything else is left-wing issues.

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  117. “There are a lot of people that are absolutely dedicated to getting my law overturned; they want the right to beat their kids, they want the right even to beat them with implements. The true agenda here is to able to beat their kids again legally.”

    A wrong word or misconceived message during a conflict is like gasoline on a fire. Inflammatory language is one of the most common causes of conflict escalation. Avoiding the escalation of arguments requires awareness and self-control. An immense amount of embarrassment and pain could probably be avoided if everyone paused before speaking, heeding the advice to “think before we speak.” However, in reality, people are not always calm, rational, or careful. We are emotional creatures and, despite better judgment, our style of communication reflects this. Learning certain principles and techniques of communication can counter this tendency: conflicts already charged with emotion can be kept from escalating and even be defused.
    General Principles

    Listening is the hero of good communication. Communication requires at least two parties: one to speak and one to listen; ‘good’ communication demands that both parties take turns speaking and listening. Many conflicts drag on because one side will not stop until they feel heard and understood — sometimes that is all they want. Once they feel they have been understood, the conflict dissipates. At other times, a conflict arises because one side didn’t hear what the other said, and replied inappropriately in word or action, or didn’t respond at all. If one is going to do only one thing to avoid escalation, it should be to listen carefully and make sure the other party knows they are listened to.

    but Peace Activists (as claimed) would know that wouldn’t they?

    http://crinfo.beyondintractability.org/essay/escalation-limiting_language

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  118. jh – the principal ‘banger-oner’ here is you, knocking your hosts and thumping your tub. What an easy job you have assigned yourself, knocking, banging and thumping. How much more difficult and challenging you would find it, putting foward a good argument, that wasn’t couched in the demeaning language of the knocker. Not holding our collective breath though.

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  119. Hug? Quiet time? Break from TV? Improved diet? Understanding parent? Distraction?

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  120. “We outlined a reasonably explicit law earlier”
    Can you give me a link to this please. I don’t want to get you to write it out again, you must be busy enough trying to get Owen to concede that someone else knows more about CO2 than he does.

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  121. Who said anything about promoting the use of force? The vote was about appropriate use of a smack not being illegal. No-one is promoting any particular parenting technique. All parents and all children are different. A variety of techniques are, this, appropriate. It should not be illegal for parents to choose occasional smacking, provided it is not abuse.

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  122. We can have a debate about what would and wouldn’t be legal. The result was quite clear that voters think a smack can be part of good parenting and, so, shouldn’t be illegal.

    Just because you don’t agree with someone about how smacks should be administered, if they’re deemed appropriate, doesn’t mean that all smacking should be criminalised.

    People clearly don’t want smacking to be criminalised in a blanket fashion. Sue Bradford just refuses to accept the will of the people and, as such, should resign from a democratic parliament.

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  123. Firstly not all striking or touching of people is punishment or assault. There is such a thing as physical communication.
    If I pat someone on the shoulder, this is a sign of approval. If I slap a child’s hand because I am being ignored when asking them to stop them doing something dangerous, this is an attention getting communication to help verbal communication. Children need this more than adults and it is part their learning what tones of voice mean.
    There is a large variation amongst children as to their sensitivity to and speed of learning communication skills.
    Most parents have to learn on the job and will resort to what their parents did for lack of better options.
    Some well intentioned parents will avoid all physical ways of controlling and/or teaching their child limits and find their child is often disruptive and wilful. They then may resort to locking them in a room and other methods which can be very damaging emotionally if the child feels abandoned. From my experience in therapy the emotional impact of an act is the important determiner of the long term results, not what the act was. So in overcoming my timidity it was being belittled that had long the long term effects, not the having my hand slapped for putting my finger in the jam pot.
    So from my own experience and from my observation, and helping of others, Dr Millichamp’s findings agree.

    Punishing people who have done the wrong thing under stress is not helpful. We need more parenting courses that are practical. I have observed (and helped) parents who do not use physical violence on their children, suffering violence from their children and resorting to defensive methods that amount to mental cruelty which can cause more long term harm than minor physical violence.
    If we punish parents for their not ideal treatment of their children, are we not guilty of another form of violence?
    Is it not better to offer viable alternatives and help?
    For example, in the recent prosecution, I consider offering the Mason’s a parenting course as an alternative to Mr. Mason getting a sentence should be the first response.

    Regardless of all the above I agree with the change to s59 as it was too often used to defend violence.

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