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GOOD DAD – BAD DAD? – You be the judge

Filed under: General — Julie @ 11:04 am Fri 26th June 2009

We’ve always argued that good parents are being criminalised and harmed by the anti-smacking law and we currently have a number of cases in front of both the Prime Minister and other Cabinet ministers for their consideration. These have been independently reviewed by a senior policeman.

In the latest case covered by the media we’ve been saying that this is a ‘good dad’. And we stand by that .

We would never support a parent who ‘repeatedly throws their child to the ground’. But in this case that NEVER happened!

How do we know ? Because we had an observer in the court who heard ALL the facts (unlike the media who relied only on what the witness alleged in the police report!)

In the same way that the anti-correction lobby groups use words like ‘beat’ ‘thrash’ and ‘violent’ to describe a loving parent who may use a smack to correct a child, in this current case, words count.

Please take a moment to read what our observer wrote (our emphasis added):

Dejected and disorientated. That’s how I feel after watching proceedings in the District Court today.

The police prosecuted him for pushing his son more than once, and the son either falling or stumbling more than once. It took place on the edge of a rugby field where the son was refusing to get on and join his team. A considerable battle of wills had escalated as the child protested his remiss father’s omission to bring the proper shorts in which to play. There was also some problem with the boy digging in his studs in a manner which made him more prone to stumbling as well.

A passer-by intervened and was told to mind her own business. This resulted in a letter to the principal of the school the boy attended. The principal referred the letter to the police. CYF were only involved after the police decided to prosecute. CYF interviewed the family and were happy that the boy was at no further risk . The father’s out of the blue arrest, fingerprinting, photographing and interview occurred 3 weeks after the incident took place.

In court today what I have described is what the police read out as their reason for charging the father with common assault. The principle of justice whereby an accused person has the right to face his or her accuser no longer applies. It is up to the police to not just use their discretion about whether to prosecute but also to decide if the testimony has veracity . It is not up to the court to establish such.

The father pleaded guilty primarily because he cannot afford to defend the charge. He doesn’t qualify for legal aid and proceedings to date will cost him $1500 he doesn’t have. It hurt him badly to make this concession. He hadn’t known it was against the law to ‘shove’ his boy. He has no record of violence and has never been in the dock before. His lawyer made an application for a section 106 discharge without conviction and the police say that due to the level of violence alleged , they will not contest this . The father has agreed to an anti-violence course which helps.

The judge took many minutes to read the many testimonials submitted in support of the father who has raised his two boys single-handedly for most of their lives. During this time, we – myself, the grandparents and partner – all remained very quiet. Apart from the father sniffing and blowing into a tissue in an attempt to hold his composure the room was silent. The father was ashen.

Eventually the judge agrees to remand the father on bail to reappear in two months at which point he should have completed the course of anger management. We filed out with wet eyes and words failing. The lawyer tells the father that there is still no guarantee he will get a discharge without conviction in September. So the distress and uncertainty he was hoping to put behind him today will continue for weeks to come . He tells me he will never trust the police or justice system again.

This is, by their own description, a middle-class well-educated couple. A couple who both work and try to raise their blended family well. The grandparents are bewildered. Angry. Like me. Disorientated and dejected. But that is nothing compared to what the father is feeling.

The bar has been lowered. The police can and will prosecute any degree of force on hearsay . Be warned.

There are some important issues here :

    1. Why didn’t the woman witness report it immediately to the police rather than writing to the principal. Was she just annoyed at being told to mind her own business?
    2. Why was the witness the only one concerned about the father’s actions when there were many many other parents present at the sportsfield who weren’t concerned?
    3. Why did the police not interview other potential witnesses rather than rely on one passer-by?
    4. The dad was trying to get the child on to the sports field to play. Why would he ‘push the child to the ground’ which would defeat that purpose?
    5. Why prosecute if the police are willing to accept discharge without conviction? Do they have no other choice under this law?

    6. By the police using the phrase ‘repeatedly pushed to the ground’ based on what only the witness said, they have portrayed a dad dealing with a strong-willed child as abusive

    7. By the media using this terminology, they have done what the anti-smacking supporters have done. Words matter, and by changing ‘attempting to push the child on to the field to play’ to ‘repeatedly pushed to the ground’ they have changed the whole nature of the actions of the parent.

    8. Does this mean that using force to remove a protesting child (who may also fall to the ground in protest – as they do!!) to ‘time-out’ is potentially an assault ???

There is an updated report in the NZ Herald today which has brought some balance to the coverage.

One other note :

The ‘perfect parent lobby’ aka Barnados, Plunket, Families Commission and Deborah Morris believe that parents should NEVER get tired, frustrated, or angry and should ALWAYS correct bad behaviour with precision and perfection!

They are still looking for their ‘poster parent’!!!

As stated at the beginning, good parents are being criminalised by a flawed law.

We will continue to fight against a law that does that. We’d be keen to hear your feedback on this issue.

Thanks for speaking up on this issue, and please encourage people to visit our website

51 Responses to “GOOD DAD – BAD DAD? – You be the judge”

  1. Allan Harvey says:

    Thuggery towards children is assualt.
    Why should it be acceptable to asualt any citizen, child or adult?
    This man did not “smack” his child, he knocked him to the ground several times.
    He has pleaded guilty to his offending.
    The above is just trying to reinterpret the facts.
    Family First are nothing close to a perfect parenting lobby when they support such thuggery.

  2. SicKofNZ says:

    I believe his lack of finance to employ a solicitor caused him to plead guilty. It has not been established if the child willingly fell to the ground in protest or how hard the push/shove was.
    Emotive words such as ‘he knocked him to the ground’ don’t help enlighten anyone with the facts but rather enforce the view that you and 17% of our democratic society have.
    The overwhelming majority (83%) don’t agree with you and are probably not interested in debating it with you either, especially after having that minority view lorded over the rest of us.

  3. tren Christchurch says:

    Just wait 5 or so years when this law is mainstream. The Family court, Barnardos, Womens’ refuge, Cyfs, lawyers, judges, violence course providers all need more clients and money. The domestic violence industry is expanding into new areas of growth.

  4. Scott B says:

    that’s why I am against the law, it is giving custodial parents yet another weapon against us!

  5. julie says:

    Gosh Allan. Are you condemning every parent who ever lived already?

    What do you think parents should do if the child doesn’t want to go to school? Should we consider their ‘feelings’ and say, “Well, your want is more important than any educational lessons”.

    I wonder what CYFS would have to say about that?

    But on another note, you would condemn me and CYFS workers, other good parents including lovely Christians for what we did to my son with sport.

    He had to learn to lose. His tantrums were shocking. But we all worked together to make sure he lost to adults in a loving way else his life would have suffered from the attitude he had.

    Kids need to learn that life isn’t about, “My way or the highway”.

  6. ian says:

    Allan Harvey is NOT on the side of fathers, he is part and parcel of the establishment. Beware of this man

  7. julie says:

    Ian, Allan IS on the side of fathers.

    We don’t all have to agree with each other.

  8. Hans Laven says:


    A. The argument that children should have the same protection from assault as do adults is untenable and tiresome. It is assault to physically force your unwilling spouse or adult neighbour to come in from the dark or rain, to strap a struggling, objecting adult into a seatbelt, or to physically make your spouse or adult neighbour go to bed at your preferred time. So according to your reasoning children should also be protected from those actions. Realistically, parents will always need the right to use physical force on children in ways and circumstances that will be generally disallowed towards other adults (except when done by police).
    B. This father said he did not want his son to let down his team. No doubt, the father spent some time encouraging his son to do his duty, but eventually he laid down the law and insisted the boy take his position on the field. In my opinion, the boy had a right to learn how seriously his father viewed the matter of responsibility to one’s team, and the boy had a right to learn that when his parent gives a clear instruction this must be followed because refusal will only result in force that ensures it is followed. Both of those lessons are morally profound and likely to benefit the child, possibly even save the child’s life (e.g. when the boy, as trained, follows a parental instruction to jump out of a burning building despite feeling afraid or reluctant to do so). Instead, state intervention has taught the child that his parents have no authority, that he will be supported in being disobedient, and that it’s ok to disregard his commitments and to let down his team.
    C. Condemnation of this father’s actions seem especially ridiculous when you consider that the person complaining was there to watch a game where children were being repeatedly pushed to the ground and otherwise violently manhandled by others.
    D. For this story, terms such as “thuggery”, “knocked him to the ground” and “assault” are emotive, manipulative and inaccurate. This father was trying to push his child on to the field, and the boy fell either due to resisting the father’s force or deliberately as a form of resistance. Similarly, if a parent takes the arm to lead away a child who is refusing to leave a playground, the child might resist and be pulled over, or might go limp and fall over. No different. Many parents would feel and show some annoyance after the child has continually disobeyed verbal instructions, especially when time is an issue. That doesn’t make their parenting action inappropriate.
    E. This father could probably have successfully defended the charges even without a lawyer. The new section 59 allows parental force to prevent a child from disruptive behaviour or in performing normal tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting. This father’s actions were not “for the purpose of correction” but for the purpose of making his son follow a reasonable parental instruction.
    F. Prosecution of this father will increase parents’ confusion about their legal rights and will decrease parental confidence in their roles even further than it has already been eroded. Supporting children in disobeying their parents is a dangerous attack on roles necessary for a viable society. While one might favour alternative approaches this father might have used to deal with the situation, that’s a matter of opinion. Establishing and supporting parental authority is much more important than the choice between non-injurious parenting methods.

  9. julie says:

    Bee-uuu-ti-full Hans. Superb reasoning. IMHO

  10. Skeptik says:

    Thankfully there are many places in the world where a kid can be smacked without folks going into pathetic judgmental arrogance labeling it ‘thuggery’.
    Allan I reckon you need to get out more.
    You’re locked into a myopic cultural viewpoint many, many cultures don’t share.
    A holiday in Asia, India or Mexico would be a good start…..

  11. SicKofNZ says:

    I have five grandchildren.
    Two of my grandchildren are not smacked as part of any discipline and spend plenty of time screaming down the neighbourhood in time-out. Two of my grandchildren have been smacked as part of their discipline. The non-smacked grandchildren are terribly unruly and demanding of their mother. The smacked grandchildren are much better behaved that the non-smacked grandchildren.

    Yes, I have complained to CYFS regarding two of my grandchildren being raised with smacking being used as a method of discipline. That is not because I’m against smacking. It is because the CYFS caregivers who have used smacking to discipline my grandchildren were stupid enough to to take such liberties with my daughter’s children. For some odd reason CYFS haven’t involved the Police yet.

  12. Martin swash says:

    The government must stay out of our personal lives END OF STORY. whenever they interfere they make things worse and leads to corruption.

  13. SicKofNZ says:

    We are being farmed for $$ by our Government.
    Our children are a lucrative commodity.
    The childless Helen Clark knew better than 83% of us. She wanted her United Nations job and got her reward. Meanwhile, John Key kisses the arse of world bodies while he continues to defecate on good parents in NZ.
    At the next elections we need a real alternative to those parties intent on destroying families for the sake of money.

  14. Hans Laven says:

    We had a real alternative last election but not many people bothered to vote for it. I guess they preferred to maintain anti-male injustice so they always have something to complain about.

  15. Martin swash says:

    Hans voting for fringe parties will always be considered a wasted vote. Only when you attain a critical mass will your party be taken seriously. What most men on here have suffered is a gross injustice. But the vast majority of men do not realise how we are abused by the state for financial reasons. In england there is once in a lifetime opportunity for small parties at the next election because of the scandals of MPs’ expenses but fringe parties in NZ need to start small. Incidentally NZ MPs expenses are same as in Britain, one day this will come out. This is partly the reason behind the state’s need for cash and the tyranny against fathers

  16. Hans Laven says:

    Martin, thanks, yes I understand. Some elections are better for small parties. But what else can be done to change a nation’s political direction when all major parties collude to abuse and exploit men? At this stage in proceedings the campaign is the purpose. And I know men are strong even though they can be easily duped. They need to be helped to see what’s going on and they will only tolerate the situation for so long.

  17. Martin swash says:

    Hans i just have no answer. Things will change slowly, women are becomIng more and more violent and women police and females with a genuine interest in families will demand change. I think the forthcoming male pill may have a massive effect. As i have said before we need a few martyrs like Suffragettes had but men are naturally emotionally supportive of one another. also change will not be initiated in NZ, it will start in USA and Uk.

  18. Martin swash says:

    I meant NOT naturally emotionally supportive

  19. Martin swash says:

    Also spreading the word about how we have been treated. Also inForming sponsors about the realities of what wimmins’ refuges are doing to destroy families. But all politicians are the same, they are devious clever with speaking and corrupt, they want to maximise their own incomes and minimise social security spending.

  20. SicKofNZ says:

    Men might benefit having an annual comparison between countries that provides a rating of the levels of misandry apparent in each of those countries, compared to each other.
    It would take a bit of organising to accomplish but I’m sure it would have an impact on those countries who would fare worst.

  21. Hans Laven says:

    Great idea SicKofNZ (reply # 13). Let’s collaborate on developing a rating scale or other process. Perhaps an international internet survey through men’s groups that could produce numerical scores.

  22. SicKofNZ says:

    I wondered if there was any annual international data that was gathered and applied to propaganda that is used to improve the lot of women. Maybe we could cut corners and adapt one of those studies for our own use.
    If we collected similar data, but adapted it to reflect a males perspective, we would be less likely to have the results criticised by any opponents.

    It would carry more weight if it relied on the same criteria that is already used for the benefit of women.

    We could also include things such as…

    Example: Domestic violence is committed almost equally amongst both genders. Are those statistics reflected in the amount of prosecutions/imprisonment amongst both genders? Are those statistics reflected in the volume of Protection Orders afforded to both genders?

    If it was done well, we could end up with a very powerful tool that other men could access if they were thinking of emigrating/immigrating.

    Having access to that relevant data(whatever it is) from each country will be crucial in establishing a finished product that is robust.

    Although a survey might be of some help, I fear the results would not be taken seriously by those that matter. I was told by CYFS that guys in these men’s groups are just damaged. If these ‘damaged’ men completed any survey I’m sure they would consider the result to be unreliable.

  23. Hans Laven says:

    Good thinking SicKofNZ. We can already identify a number of factors relevant to gender equality for men many of which would be relatively easy to find out. E.g.
    – Does the country have a ministry of men’s affairs (or similar) or only a ministry exclusively for women?
    – What is the ratio of male to female teachers in the schools?
    – Does the country send men to prison more often and for longer than it does men for similar offences?
    – Does the country prohibit questioning rape complainants about their own sexual history, or have other evidential rules favouring complainants over accused but only for offences that men are mainly convicted of?
    – Does the country’s legislation (as NZ does) define rape as something only possible by someone with a penis?
    – Does the country define other crimes that can be committed only by men and is not balanced by one for women (as NZ does with “male assaults female”)?
    – Does the country allow children to be prosecuted and punished as adults for crimes that are defined as only possible by males, or for crimes that males are mainly convicted of, but not so for crimes that women are often convicted of?
    – Does the country have laws that can be used retrospectively to negate consent that was clearly given at the time of any sexual activity? (In NZ, consent can later be legally found not to have been given if the complainant claims she was too drunk or drugged to give the consent she did give, if the complainant claims she was affected by an intellectual, mental or physical condition at the time she agreed to participate in the sexual behaviour, if the complainant claims she feared she would be subjected to force unless she participated – note this fear is not defined as having to be on reasonable grounds, or the complainant claims she was mistaken about the identity of the accused or about the nature of the sexual acts she participated in! In all these cases, the person she had sex with may not have any idea what she thought, what she was mistaken about, what condition she suffered from, and he may not have been able to estimate her exact level of inebriation when she invited him to have sex with her, but he can still be convicted of a sexual offence that sends him to prison for years.)
    – Does the country have gender inequality in suicide or homelessness?
    – Is a greater proportion of the country’s benefit payments provided to women than to men despite opposite statistics of gender welfare?
    – Does the country fund more health programmes targeting women than men?
    – Does the country provide longer child-related leave for women than it does for men?

    Here already we have a survey that can be numerically represented to allow comparisons between countries. Can anyone think of other questions this survey could ask?

  24. John (Doe ;) says:

    Well described Hans. Now; would you like to email said argument to the Finlay MacDonald at the Sunday Star Times? Their little article today is.. well pathetic really.

    Not that it would do much good. The media in NZ doesn’t appear to understand the term impartiality, and appears to not want to offend the governments line… hmm.. sounds like Fiji, or Iran….

  25. Scott B says:

    What a shocker of an article, how can something like that be printed? Oh yeah, cause the feminazis have taken over the media!

  26. SicKofNZ says:

    I wouldn’t bother replying to such nonsense. He has made no mention of his own experiences with child raising. His scathing attack tells people more about himself than his target. Just make sure you DON’T offer his email address to any rogue websites.
    Block his employers website from being accessed from your computer. Newspapers rely on customers. Boycott his employer. I’ve already blocked from being accessed from both of the computers at my home.
    There are plenty of good news outlets that have reporters with self esteem. Frequent those instead.

  27. Scott B says:

    Thanks, but I have given up on all news media.

  28. gwallan says:

    Hans Laven said…

    – Does the country have laws that can be used retrospectively to negate consent that was clearly given at the time of any sexual activity?

    And as a corollary does it affirm consent where it was previously negated.

    This relates to circumstances where male victims of statutory rape are forced to pay child support to their rapist.

  29. SicKofNZ says:

    I’m making an offline list that I’ve added yours and Hans lists to, thanks.
    Added to my list also:
    Do both genders receive the same pay for the same work?

    Do both genders achieve similar results throughout their education?

    Does the government oppose misandry to the same extent that it opposes mysogyny (in the media-TV programs/Advertising etc)?

    Is the life expectancy of men the same as women?

  30. SicKofNZ says:

    Some more:
    – Are the genders of workers employed by CYFS(or similar agencies)representative of the percentage of males/females in that country? (or even close?)

    – Is the percentage of men receiving free legal aid the same as the percentage for women being legally represented for free?

    – Are men and women showing similar statistics for being forced from their homes and children by their partner?

  31. glenn says:

    More Still:

    -What percentage of marriages (or like relationships), where there are resultant children, survive until the children are independent.

    -Does a child support system exist. If so, how many dollars are paid by men and how many dollars are paid by women.

    – Of those dollars, how much goes to the government to offset benefits, how much goes to the custodial parent without accountability, and how much is actually used for child rearing.

  32. rc says:

    I think you could quickly become overwelmed with too much detail.

    A simple 10 point survey that is easily answered would do initially. It would put a number on New Zealand, and if the same 10 questions could be easily answered for other countries, then you soon have a basis for comparison. If such a simple comparison was circulated around the net, the greater detail would eventually get added by others as they saw the value of the survey.

    As a suggestion, each of the 10 questions could be answered on a scale of 1 to 10. Then you have a cumulative score of 100 for the total survey, which is easy to relate. A score of 100 would indicate that men and women have it equally.

    The life expectancy difference is one of the most obvious to include. Last time I heard it was 84 for women and 79 for men. That means men have only 79/84 = 94% of the life span of women, which translates into 9.4 points on your survey.

    If the other 9 points you decide to include are just as quickly answered, you have a completed survey ready to circulate today.

  33. SicKofNZ says:

    I think that would work best too. At present we’re looking for as many ideas as possible. We can short-list those ideas that will work best for men. Maybe we can select the best 10 ideas from those submitted?
    I’m unsure of the limitations of this WordPress software however I’m able to place the complete list of ideas in to a vote on my vBulletin board should that be necessary.

  34. rc says:

    Maybe we can select the best 10 ideas from those submitted?

    Good idea. If you can set something up on the net that makes collection of votes easy, publish the link here and I’ll post links to it on several sites that concentrate on Mens/Father’s rights. It will draw in guys from across the world, but that will be useful in publicising that this survey is now available. Maybe it will encourage them to do the same for their own countries.

    Is there an easy way to post all surveys for all countries on a common web-site?

  35. SicKofNZ says:

    I’ve quickly constructed a new forum that is accessible by unregistered guests to my board. Unregistered guests are able to vote in this new forum. The link provided below is accessible from any country. The server hosting my board is located in California,U.S.A.
    I might need some help editing the wording of the votes contained there as I’ve just copy/pasted ideas directly from here. Voting is either limited to ONE vote or UNLIMITED votes. There is no in-between sorry.
    Posting is permitted there but any posts will be moderated because this new forum is relatively unprotected.

  36. SicKofNZ says:

    The link provided below is accessible from any country, EXCEPT CHINA.

  37. rc says:

    I’ve posted links to it at Glenn Sacks, Vox Popoli, Novaseeker, Welmer, False Rape Society, The Elusive Wapiti, MarkyMark and the Counter-Feminist.

  38. STARRellie says:

    i know this is offtopic but has the legislation to detain liable parents at the border been approved?

    how does this work.
    my Husb is in NZ visitng now and has not paid CS for the last three years.

    will he be stopped automaticall from leaving the country or is a warrant needed to get him to stop?


  39. Scott B says:

    What are the percentages of women/men ending the relationship?

    And to follow on from that question, what percentage of the people breaking up the family then have custody of the children?

  40. Allan Harvey says:

    70% women, 20% men, 10% fairly mutual.
    Women get 85% of day-to-day parenting.

  41. Scott B says:

    Ok so to follow on from those…

    How many couples come to a custody arrangement outside of court and in court?

    How many share 50/50 custody and how did it come to that? Court? Private arrangement?

    Where one has full custody, how did it come to that? Court? Private arrangement?

    What are the percentages of Males/females gaining custody?

    The list of questions could go on and on. I think we should make an enourmous list and send it to all the MP’s. I believe we have a right to know.

  42. Scott B says:

    Why ALL MP’s? because this affects all aspects of society.

  43. Scott B says:

    we should ALL do this and get everyone we know to send the same thing to them as well, the more people that write to them, the harder it is for them to ignore.

  44. Porky says:

    This man’s actions are inexcusable – if i push someone roughly my size to the ground it’s assault, if i do it to someone a fraction of my size it’s cool as long as he’s my kid? I think not. Right wing balderdash is all this is.

  45. SicKofNZ says:

    You’re talking porkies mate. Read Hans Laven says:
    Fri 26th June 2009 at 8:52 pm above to see how silly your argument is.
    Also, read the first post again. You missed some vital information.

  46. Hans Laven says:

    Porky – why would this man be pushing the child “to the ground” when he was trying to make the child join the match? Shall we make it illegal for parents to attempt to make their children follow their instructions?

    But clearly you are not interested in considering any reasoned arguments, you simply cast them all aside with a dismissive insult. This has been a typical tactic of those who support the Bradford law. Their arguments do not survive close scrutiny so they resort to labelling those who dare to disagree with them in some derogatory way.

  47. Garth says:

    When the boy was playing sport, wouldn’t he be repeatedly pushed to the ground (tackled) as well?

    Should all rugby players also be charged with assault?

    I play games with my family as well. They often involve pushing each other to the ground, jumping on each other, yelling and screaming. Should my 7 year old be charged in juvenile court for assaulting me?

    It all seems a bit silly to me…

  48. gh says:

    The question is who is committing abuse and violence towards the child,
    the government who jails a father, a mother for an alleged smack and forces him, her to undergo a violence course assorted with supervision or the father who smacked the child. Where is the balance and reason? Does the child ask the government to put his father and mother through mayhem? I forgot the jury did.

  49. SicKofNZ says:

    I’ve temporarily edited my profile here so that clicking on my username will link you to the forum where our Survey is being constructed. I think this edited link to my username will only work for this post and those I post later. I don’t think the edit affects any previous posts of mine here.

    Just in case I’m mistaken here’s plan B:

  50. name says:

    Is it so important?,

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