Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Smacking Decision only a Victory for Common Sense?

Is Smacking Decision only a Victory for Common Sense?

Thursday 20 Dec 2001 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Justice, Law & Order

ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today praised the common sense of New Zealanders revealed in a survey, which has led the Government to halt plans to make it illegal for parents to smack their children.

"I'm pleased that on this occasion at least the Government will not back its usual mates - the coterie of `we-know-best' experts who despise the values of the rest of us. But we should not relax. This may just be a strategic delay, to plan with EPOCH a new strategy waiting until the unequivocal survey result has become a dim memory.

"National and Labour are both talking about `reform', and a `middle path'. Neither has said why existing law does not fit the clear standards New Zealanders want. Those plotting this change have been talking about a `conscience vote' to try to separate their parties from responsibility for overriding public opinion.

"I have been warning for months that a simple repeal of section 59 of the Crimes Act (the section that protects parents who smack their children from assault charges) would be hugely problematic. Our underlying assault law is otherwise very strict and gives no room to respect the actions of caring parents. For example, merely physically compelling an unwilling child to spend time in his bedroom for `time out' would be assault, and possibly several other offences. If the law does not distinguish children from adults confiscating porn from your teenager could be theft.

"I am against any law that does not mean what it says. The rules we have clearly ban brutality. But without section 59 the law would be an intolerable ass to the Police and other agencies forced to uphold it. When the law-abiding parents, who look after their families, become contemptuous of the law it loses vital force for everyone. Extending the law to fit some goofy theory against caring and decent parents will just mean a whole new lot of law won't be enforced. Then those on the bottom of our society pay the worst price, especially the kids when the law scares only the law-abiding. The children in the worst families are the first to suffer.

The Lillybings are much more likely to be a consequence of our indulgence in sickly cultural sensitivity, in losing confidence in our own core values than a result of any alleged approval or tolerance of harsh punishment for children. Law that does not mean what it says deprives our agencies of moral authority to intervene when they should. A lack of resolve or resources is unavoidable when the law is mis-used to tackle more than it can do. Law must ensure the vicious abusers are brought to justice. Bogging the law down in chasing parents who are not vicious child beaters is worse than useless. The Government and the National party should tell us now that threatening ordinary parents is right off the agenda," Stephen Franks said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>

ALSO:

Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>

ALSO:

Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>

ALSO:

General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news