Parliament

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

 

Punishing Smacking

Punishing Smacking

Wednesday 26 Nov 2003
Stephen Franks
Press Releases -- Crime & Justice

ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today told the Child/Youth Law & Policy Conference that criminalisation of parents who choose to smack their children is now purely a political struggle.

"It has nothing to do with reason. There's no evidence that banning smacking would save a single child from brutality. Some earnest people of good intent are caught up in this - but, mainly, this is about political elites wanting to look good to their mates," Mr Franks said.

"I addressed a Barnardos forum on this two years ago, and took the argument seriously. I researched, and tried to find evidence. I tried to respect the good intentions of those urging the law change, and set out my conclusions: (http://www.act.org.nz/item.jsp?id=21538) .

"I shouldn't have bothered. This cause attracts dud science and dishonest rhetoric, and feeds the same impulses as previous decades' recovered memory syndrome and satanic abuse panics - and, no doubt, witchcraft trials centuries ago.

"It's a modern version of the Inquisition. Conclaves of the self-anointed, clerics quivering with indignation and the urge to punish. But punishing people who brutalise children is too hard - there is more sanctimonious satisfaction in threatening the ordinary people who don't share their ideology, and who dare to question their authority and motives.

"This reeks of the dishonest debate over abolition of corporal punishment in boys' schools. None of the claimed benefits have materialised. All the opponents' feared detriments have emerged. There's no proof of cause and effect either way. Yet we've seen no apology from those who were so superior and scornful of the defenders of the status quo.

"The issue has become a tribal identification badge. The fact that 80 percent of ordinary parents are saying `Who are you to tell me how to raise my child' just confirms for them their special status. They feel anointed to save the lesser breeds from themselves.

"Labour, Progressive Alliance, New Zealand First, the Greens, and National spokespeople say they'll repeal the law allowing reasonable force to discipline children. They think it will win opinion leaders' support. They despise the ordinary people, assuming our memories are so short that if the change is made early in the next election cycle they won't lose votes.

"But, unlike other stupid changes, this will get attention. When police are forced to prosecute decent and caring parents, when a `righteous' judge `sends a message' and convicts a normal mother, the 80 percent won't meekly accept their education at the hands of the law.

"This could be a watershed issue in social policy. ACT will do its best to make it as intractable for the establishment as the coming home to roost of the seabed and foreshore albatrosses," Mr 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

Budget '17: Budget Spends Down Future Surpluses

Tax cuts for every working New Zealander, targeted to low and middle income earners, more generous assistance for families and renters, and a massive spend-up on public services infrastructure mark Finance Minister Steven Joyce’s election year Budget.

The package of changes to income tax thresholds, the Working for Families programme, and the Accommodation Supplement is the Budget’s political centrepiece and will cost $2 billion a year. More>>

Scoop Full Coverage: of Budget Announcements & Reaction
Latest: Scoop Search

ALSO:

 
 

Auditor-General Stands Down For Investigation: Gordon Campbell On (Not) Taking Responsibility

So Martin Matthews, our current Auditor-General wishes he could have detected “earlier” the fraud that occurred on his watch at the Ministry of Transport. Hmmm. But he could have detected it earlier, surely? That’s the point. More>>

ALSO:

NGOs Pleased: Govt To Halt Collection Of Client Data

Brenda Pilott, the chair of ComVoices and national manager of Social Service Providers Aotearoa, congratulates the government on its decision to call a halt to the collection of individual client data until the concerns of not-for-profit service providers have been worked through. More>>

ALSO:

Gosh: Blasphemy Law Repeal Struck Down

Chris Hipkins, the MP who tabled a Supplementary Order Paper to add our Blasphemy Law to the Statutes Repeal Bill, said this was a "sad day for freedom of speech, tolerance, and leadership". More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Navy’s Dealings With Fat Leonard, And Twin Peaks

At an official level, our “she’ll be right” attitude routinely spills over into a keen resentment of anyone who suggests the outcomes may be less than satisfactory… The Navy has now gone one step beyond. It won’t even ask itself whether it did a good job. More>>

ALSO:

NZDF: Fifth Rotation Of Troops Heads To Iraq

The fifth rotation of New Zealand Defence Force troops left today for a six-month mission training Iraqi soldiers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Demonising Of Iran

Will New Zealand still be willing to pursue its recent trade overtures to Iran, now that US President Donald Trump has used his speech in Riyadh to single out Iran as the main source of terrorism and instability in the Middle East? More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 

Opening The Election Supporters

 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election