Press Release 21/11/06
The Society agrees with the 87% of New Zealanders who hold strongly to the view that parents should be able to smack their children without fear of breaking the law (Today’s on-line Stuff News Poll). Clearly the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders, as evidenced by the results of numerous nation-wide polls over the last few years, vehemently oppose Green MP Sue Bradford’s bill that seeks to repeal section 59 of the Crimes Act (1961). Her bill, which was reported back to parliament yesterday from the Justice and Electoral Committee, with significant amendments as well as a bill name change (!); if passed into law, would criminalise every parent and person in the place of a parent, who used any form of force against a child in the context of and/or for the purpose of loving corrective discipline.
Bradford, who has clocked up a number of criminal convictions herself, for nasty assaults, is delighted that the select committee has supported the repeal of section 59, to the extent that it will now be unlawful to use any form of force when correcting a child – whether it be a light smack or force used to remove a child to a “time out zone” as a corrective disciplinary measure.
The majority of the committee have chosen a partial repeal of s. 59 rather than a total ban on force, which has incensed the Children’s Commissioner, Dr Cindy Kiro, the Families Commission and many other supporters of Bradford’s original bill. Four so-called non-disciplinary activities involving “parental control”, where the use of force will be allowed to be used in dealing with children, have been allowed for in the amended bill, but the force used, as in the Principal Act, must be “reasonable in the circumstances”. These activities are limited to: “(a) preventing or minimising harm to the child or another person; or (b) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in conduct that amounts to a criminal offence; or (c) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in offensive or disruptive behaviour; or d) performing the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting.”
The Society points out that none of these four activities necessitating force require additional legal protections for parents, who under existing law, are more than adequately protected if spurious charges of assault are brought against them for the well-motivated use of “reasonable force”. It is a blatant lie for Bradford and her misguided do-gooders to tell good parents that a new law (the four amendments) is required to safeguard their use of “reasonable force” in common-sense situations (like harm prevention etc). These exceptions appear to be offered by Bradford and her supporters as a sop to good parents in the belief that they are so naive and stupid as to believe that such protections are necessary. Few will be fooled by her mindless rhetoric. Her repugnant and anti-family bill goes as far as stating “Nothing in any rule of common law justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction”.
What good parents need is protection against politicians like Sue Bradford, the Children’s Commissioner, the Families Commission and other misguided ideologues, who are pushing this ridiculous and pernicious piece of legislation, knowingly seeking to deprive good parents of their God-given right to act as effective parents, to exert moral leadership, to correct, discipline and lovingly guide their children to become good citizens and act as good role models for the next generation. Bradford has turned an ill-devised bill into an utter nonsense – one which for many years to come will remind good New Zealand parents of how much harm politicians can cause to the public good when they lose sight of reason and common-sense and abandon the moral compass in favour of a direction set by misguided United Nations ideologues.