Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Vote YES New Zealand


In 2007, by an overwhelming majority of 113 to 8 votes and with the support of the majority of New Zealanders, Parliament granted children protection from assault by their parents. They repealed a 1959 law that allowed physical force to be used for the purpose of ‘correction’ of the child and thereby provided a perfect hiding place for parents who physically abused their children.

The 2007 law is working well but is under threat from an unnecessary and very expensive referendum, to be held by postal ballot over the next 4 weeks.

The referendum has been instigated chiefly by a lobby group called Family First. They claim that most New Zealanders disagree with the 2007 law and maintain that the 1959 law should be reinstated.

The old law wasn’t working though. In fact children were dying from ‘punishment’. In the last few years New Zealand has experienced the most shocking number of child deaths at the hands of those responsible for their care. It’s our hidden shame.

The referendum is worded is such a way that many will vote ‘No’ thereby completely missing the point that it was the ability to lawfully physically discipline our children which allowed child abusers to walk free. The current law is being administered well – the police aren’t hanging around looking for every parent who smacks their child on the hand for trying to poke a screwdriver in a wall socket or grabs them roughly to stop them running out on to the road, in fact the new law allows for these types of situations. Conversely what has happened is that parents who’ve abused their children have been convicted and held accountable.

"Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"

Yes, it should. Violence only begets violence.


  1. I believe in a smacked hand or a yank from traffic. I am so tired of parents who let their children run amok in restaurants and stores. Spoiled children begging for some guidance being left to make adult decisions in their little worlds.
    Of course first we should try to use all reasonable means to correct and teach the child but not to the point of ridiculousness.
    Let me assure you that talking rationalities to a 3 year old is useless and makes you completely impotent as a leader of your "pack".
    When a lion cub misbehaves his momma gives him a good wallop. Minutes later she is grooming the same cub with love and gentleness. They are not abusers but parents guiding and teaching by the method at the moment that may save the cubs life.

    On the other side is the parent who hits and hits and uses it as the only solution. Screaming, violent abusive people who take their frustrations out on their children.

    I would like to point out that we were vigilant in our parenting of our two sons. They were welcome in the finest restaurants and in the fussiest homes. They on occasion were smacked but I couldn't even count the times on two hands. Today (22 & 26)they are often complimented on their mature and respectful behaviors. Adults, not that they aren't, are always thrilled to talk with them and enjoy their company immensely.
    Of course we won't talk about those teenage years will we......I don't have enough wine to get me through that conversation.

  2. Wouldn't it have been cheaper to legislate a more precise definition of assault if that's failing at the Courts?.

    ...and I think if we're having to create laws to make people aware of the difference then we're more screwed than I thought.

    I wouldn't say I'm FOR smacking, I'm just not totally against it. I think it has its place given the right circumstances, but I'd try other ways first. A voice can be just as attention grabbing for a kid.

  3. As I understand it there's no legal requirement for the govt to pay any attention to the results of petition-instigated referendums - agree it's a woefully slanted question but other than giving ammunition to pressure groups like Godbotherers First it should make little difference.

  4. I hear you Lori but I just never came across a situation where I thought a smack was the best way to manage the situation - if I had done then I may have smacked but somehow too even without I had a well behaved and respectful child.

    Moko in fact it was an amendment rather than a completely new act, I was overly simplifying.

    Dr Y I agree - complete waste of money. And BTW welcome, don't think have ever seen you at TQL before

  5. In todays out-legalised society i agree with Moko in that precise defintions of physical abuse would be required whcih of course you're never going to get.

    The problem is that we see so many parents who clearly have not idea how to deal with their children when they misbehave, and letting them physically discipline their kids is really just asking for trouble.

    As long as things are going ok then obviously the law should not be changed. if however parents were being taken to court for mildly disciplining their kids then a change in necessary.

    I'm now going to make myself unpopular by saying the God Botherers in FF probably just want to act out their BDSM fantasies

  6. No sign of gratuitous charges being laid to date.

  7. Well I hope you didn't get the impression that it was the main way to discipline because it certainly wasn't.
    Did I ever tell you about the time my Dad put me over his knee to spank me when I was 6 years old? This is the one and only time I remember being spanked.
    To make a long story short I had been busy outside playing with my siblings. We were seeing who could spit the furthest. He decided this was punishable and over his knee I went. He didn't know it at the time but I had been holding it in for quite some time so as not to miss out on the spitting competition.
    Of course on the first whack I peed all over his lap. It was a good strategy apparently because that was all I got.

  8. lol Lori - added bonus for dad :-)

    I had different experience, not that I was beaten or anything but my parents believed in getting their message across with a good whacking quite regularly - I must admit though I was a handful and was always in trouble. It hasn't scarred me or anything but I remember how humiliated it made me feel and I promised myself I'd never hit any child of my own (not that I wasn't tempted occasionally).

  9. So what the result will be like of this referendum? Will the smacking be forbidden once and for all? Predictions are accepted here - http://www.votetheday.com/new-zealand/new-zealand-corporal-punishment-referendum-result-450/


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