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Clark defends smacking bill going to select committee

Filed under: General,Law & Courts — JohnPotter @ 2:14 pm Wed 6th July 2005

A bill removing the legal defence of “reasonable force” for parents punishing their children should be examined by a parliamentary committee rather than dismissed out of hand, Prime Minister Helen Clark says.

Greens MP Sue Bradford’s private member’s bill that would repeal section 59 of the Crimes Act is expected to face its first reading in Parliament this month.

A poll by an Auckland paper published at the weekend showed more than 70 per cent of voters want parents to keep the right to use “reasonable force” to punish their children.

The survey showed 71.2 per cent of voters believed section 59 of the Crimes Act – which gave parents the legal defence of reasonable force – was needed. The polled revealed 21 per cent disagreed.


  1. And what on Earth would the Anti-clark know about raising children?

    When you manage to conceive a child in the normal, accepted manner (no turkey basters), to carry that new life to full term, to experience labour and child-birth, to bring the new life into our world and then to raise a productive adult you have the right to speak of these things. Until then your interference is pure arrogance (not that we would expect any less from you).

    Sue Bradford is another one who needs to wake up and smell the coffee…”spare the rod and spoil the child” still holds true today.

    Why is it that New Zealand has such high youth suicide? Why is it that we have such high youth crime rates? Why is it that we seem to have such a blase attitude towards youth drink-drive offenders?

    Seems the “politically correct” brigade like Bradford have created a society where it is no longer correct to teach your children responsibility and accountability (there are a number of MPs who would benefit from that lesson).

    I’m a [separated] Dad to three wonderful kids (not that I am biased, of course) and I strive to teach my Team that there are boundaries and that crossing boundaries has consequences. They are also learning to be responsible for their actions and accountable for the outcomes.

    This comes through in simple lessons like a drink spilt on the carpet: there is no consequence if they tell me straight away…we simply get on and clean up the mess (a skill they will find useful someday). If it is hidden away from me, the consequences are more profound – restriction of privileges etc.

    Our elected representatives (they are referred to in this way because they are supposed to represent their electors) in Parliament need to realise that we do not need 120 members -40 is more than sufficient.

    They also need to realise that they are wasting precious time on legislation like the Civil Union Bill, which panders to a 2% minority, while the 98% majority stare an impending electricity supply crisis in the face. I would much rather have hot showers with the light on and no CU Bill.

    Wake up and smell the coffee! Start to look at what is important! The Family may be the single biggest impediment to the teachings of the State (Marx) but the Anti-clark and all her queer (see Oxford: queer(a): strange or unusual) hangers on will go first. New Zealand do not want to become a neo-fascist socio-communist lesbian police state.

    Trying to stop smacking just has repercussions in future years when more of our children take their lives unnecessarily or kill and maim others while driving under the influence or commit aggravated robbery, assault with intent to injure et al.

    Better that Bradford and the Anti-clark leave The Family to those best placed to manage it: the parents.

    Comment by Sparx — Wed 6th July 2005 @ 6:28 pm

  2. Well said.
    I remember as a kid I always took the option of the cane to lines or detention. I think the physical punishment got through, and gets through more effectively than the other options such as ‘time out’ And I’m sure it didn’t screw with my psyche nearly as much as the other forms of punishment offered would have.
    I think we already are a neo-facist socio-communist lesbian police state. This website probably wouldn’t exist if it were not the case. And it will only get worse with femminazzi uncle helengrad in power.

    Comment by Moose — Thu 7th July 2005 @ 11:14 pm

  3. A question:

    Perhaps the “anti-clark” is again pandering to a minority: those parents who take smacking too far?

    Comment by Ethos — Sat 9th July 2005 @ 10:26 am

  4. Just been reading the comments on the anti-smacking bill. Whilst I am not in favour of being patronised by a group of politicians, some of whom aren’t even parents, what is wrong with giving children basic human rights, such as the right not to be physically assaulted? Isn’t it the case that we need more education, as to what to do (to discipline children effectively) instead of smacking? Call me neo-feminist or whatever you like, but I think smacking damages children, and is rarely done out of a genuine wish to ‘teach’ the child anything – rather it is more often about the parent being frustrated and not knowing what else to do, smacking is a knee-jerk reaction. We have a no-smacking policy in our household, that means that when I tell my children not to hit each other, I can look them in the eye and know that I am being honest when I tell them that we don’t hit in our house.
    It may not be ideal for this to be passed down as a ruling from Parliament, but as long as there are parents who treat their children like property and think that beating them, smacking them or slapping them is OK and acceptable in the name of ‘teaching’ them, then I say lets make it law – I don’t see how it is enforceable, but maybe more funding will become available for parenting education. God knows, children can frustrate the crap out of any parent – I know mine do at times, but I don’t resort to losing it and hitting them. I’ve seen first hand parents who do, and the result is a guilty parent and a hurt (physically and emotionally) child. Let’s find another way.

    Comment by Emma — Tue 12th July 2005 @ 1:35 pm

  5. Emma,
    calling something as long thought-through as my smacking a child seems matronisingly insulting to me (My second major is in ethics). When a kid is doing something half-brained and dangerous I’ll administer a quick smack to jolt them to awareness. Then I’ll explain why I did so. And despite your comments with no shame or remorse whatsoever.

    I invite you to think of it this way. It’s no different than a cop PHYSICALLY RESTRAINING you with handcuffs or a baton if you’re doing some dumb-ass thing that is endangering yourself and others.

    Comment by Stephen — Wed 13th July 2005 @ 5:06 am

  6. Emma,
    calling something as long thought-through as my smacking a child seems matronisingly insulting to me (My second major is in ethics). When a kid is doing something half-brained and dangerous I’ll administer a quick smack to jolt them to awareness. Then I’ll explain why I did so. And despite your comments with no shame or remorse whatsoever.

    I invite you to think of it this way. It’s no different than a cop PHYSICALLY RESTRAINING you with handcuffs or a baton if you’re doing some dumb-ass thing that is endangering yourself and others.

    Comment by Stephen — Wed 13th July 2005 @ 5:07 am

  7. Emma,

    In my own mind, there is a huge distinction between smacking a child and physical abuse, which seems to be what this proposed legislation is directed at stopping.

    In my humble opinion, the decisions around smacking or not depend very much on circumstance and I have, in the past, used a light, quick smack to stop dangerous behaviour and then only if other methods have not yielded a result. Liek Stephen I also follow this up with a discussion of why we reached this point and how it can go better next time. My Team are great and this is very seldom a situation that arises.

    However, I believe that other methods of disciplining children effectively have equally bad side effects. For example, a Mum I know uses the “stand in the corner” option and my reading tells me this has disastrous effects on the child’s self-image and self-worth.

    It also appears, that a large part of our high youth-suicide, high teen pregnancy and high youth-crime rates come back to the dis-assembly of The Family in New Zealand by clark and her fellow feminist extremists. Some of these behaviours must come back to a basic lack of discipline as a child that has failed to teach logical consequences, responsibility and accountability. My Team all understand they can make choices, but they must be prepared to stand by the outcome and be accountable for their actions.

    “responsibility and accountability” is a very simple lesson most of our current elected representatives could do with learning. They need to start taking responsibility for their decisions/actions and being accountable for the outcomes.

    clark is so far into cuckoo-land that while she rushed to sign up to the Kyoto protocol [against the advice she was provided], she has consciously chosen that NZ will not sign up to the United Nations Doha Declaration which seeks to support the traditional family and encourage marriage. When will her acting out of her childhood issues stop?

    Comment by Sparx — Wed 13th July 2005 @ 5:09 pm

  8. Apologies Emma, I should have included this link for you:

    Labour Government’s feminist agenda undermines the family. (Dr M Newman)

    It provides some excellent background on some of the recent acts by clark and her cronies against The Family.

    Stay healthy and happy!

    Comment by Sparx — Wed 13th July 2005 @ 5:13 pm

  9. Wow Dave.
    You reckon smacking is “not a thought out action” Oh dear. I didn’t know you lived inside my head. Tell me what am I thinking right this moment? Patronising psychobabble perhaps?

    You “reckon you don’t resort to “primitive” methods of discipline” which you see as “barbaric” and that “hitting a child and restaining a criminal aren’t the same”.
    Oh my god. I reckon many of the crims I talked to in prison and as a Probation Officer would crack up over that one!
    (Think outside your current frame of reference here >> Cosh = restain, Pepper spray = restain, Water cannon = restrain. Are we on the same page yet?)
    Come to think of it my students would crack up too! But then they’re not living in PCNZ but ROK (From ashes to Number 6 economy in 50 years flat – tell me about an incredibly disciplined people!!!!)

    You’re not going to guilt trip me by inferring I and the legion of other well respected Teachers here are “primitive” and “barbaric”.
    I used to think in such a patronising, smug and condescending way. But then I spent time here and scales fell from my eyes.

    Comment by Stephen — Tue 19th July 2005 @ 1:09 pm

  10. Dave,
    Further condescenscion inferring those of us who thoughtfully chose to administer a smack occasionally to curtail harm to a child are barbaric and violent. Talk about overinflated PC spin! Its the sort of uncompromising over the top PC attitude that gives me the shivers. It reminds me of the hostile NZ feminists I met who would declare shrilly and self righteously overly inclusive definitions of sexual abuse.

    Demonise me, I’ll still be here. You’ll still be there. And there are reasons for that.
    But I guess from what you’ve said so far you wouldn’t appreciate knowing why I think so.

    Comment by Stephen — Wed 20th July 2005 @ 12:21 am

  11. Another thing Dave,
    with degrees in Social sciences and Education on top of 20 years working and studying pastoral services I’ve never seen ANY INCONCLUSIVE RESEARCH ANYWHERE which supports the idea that corporal punishment creates anti-social behavior in it’s recipients futher down the track. Indeed the research I looked at in this area when working at Paremoremo Prison showed that violent offenders generally fell into 2 categories. One category had been severely beaten as kids (we’re not talking about anything remotely like a well judged timely smack here. We’re talking about baseball bats, chairs and alkathane pipe stuff). The other category had such lenient parenting that precious little in the way of boundaries was set for them. They gradually became more errant and aggressive without due enforcement of guidance.
    So I’d be very interested to see your sources.

    Comment by Stephen — Wed 20th July 2005 @ 12:57 am

  12. I’m assuming you meant INDISPUTABLE and not INCONCLUSIVE.
    Owning up to the fact that no research in an area such as this is indisputable, I will still share this with anyone interested.
    My thoughts and concerns in this area are indeed not based on INCONCLUSIVE research. They are based on my own education and common sense and loathing of violence against defenseless children that can and has led to ASB and death.

    Comment by dave — Wed 20th July 2005 @ 3:38 am

  13. Hey Dave,
    Well bugger me. Not one single solitary research source offered to back the assertion that those kids who recieve corporal punishment develop anti-social behavior as a consequence. Funny that.

    Oh my God. It seems to me that your real agenda is coming out. Support the anti-smacking bill Childless Bradford is pushing.

    Listen. Nobody short of a psychopath wants anything which will see kids traumatised.
    But there’s such a thing as reasonable, and sadly I need to say I don’t see that in your attitude. At least not on this issue.

    You say you advocate anti-smacking as a law in place to give cops/doctors etc time to intervene, presumably because you see smacking as a precursor to violence and trauma.
    Well, whilst it’s a laudable aim to erradicate such trauma, do you for one moment think a law against smacking is going to stop some Mom from suffocating her kid with a pillow?
    Is it going to stop some Dad from coming home pissed and belting up his kids?
    Idealistically you might answer yes.
    Knowing that heavy legal sanctions (like prison for instance) ALREADY EXIST against such abusive behaviors and having done my ‘time in the trenches’ of NZ social services wher I’ve seen such events close up I think differently.

    Indeed I dare say all you’ll end up achieving is criminalizing those legions of loving parents/grandparents etc who administer a quick tap to a kid who’s too young and/or self absorbed to know thier doing something dumbassed and dangerous.

    Talk about taking a sledgehammer to crack a hazelnut!

    And you have the gaul to infer I’m the one here being primitive! LOL!

    Still I can take some comfort in a very recent NZ Stuff News pPll which showed overwhelming support to throw out Bradford’s kiddy-Bill.

    Comment by Stephen — Wed 20th July 2005 @ 4:32 am

  14. My apology.
    I meant to say that in 20 years of pastoral care as a social worker, probation officer etc with a degree in Social Sciences in NZ I’ve never seen ANY CONCLUSIVE RESEARCH which shows stopping smacking as a form of discipline reduces child abuse.

    Comment by Stephen — Fri 29th July 2005 @ 4:35 pm

  15. Stephen,

    Hear! Hear!

    Comment by Sparx — Sat 30th July 2005 @ 10:41 pm

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