Scoop Feedback: Almost Entirely Section 59
The following is a selection of feedback and other unsolicited email received by Scoop recently. The opinions they contain do not necessarily reflect those of Scoop.
They do not appear in any particular order.
New Plymouth MP Harry Duynhoven says it would be extremely hard for any MP to accurately determine what their electorate's collective view is on a moral issue. Will maybe he should look at the stats year in and year out that say New Plymouth electorate is a conservative electorate. Therefore the majority of the New Plymouth electorate will be against Sue Bradfords anti smacking bill. MP Harry Duynhoven also knows this, but is determined to follow the party line. Once more totally misrepresnting his electorate, as elected constituent MP for New Plymouth.
I'm writing to let you know there is a way you can support Sue Bradford's Bill to amend section 59 and legislate violence against children as unacceptable in Aoteoroa, New Zealand. We all may have our own opinion about how best to care for children, but i think we can all agree that children have the right to a violence free environment - a right that we as adults already hold.
There is a website that you can go to, to automatically send your support to members of parliament - and right now your support is needed. You'll need to do it soon as time is running out.
Below is the letter i wrote to the mp's. I'm sending it to you because it outlines why i support the bill, and it may give you another perspective than what has been bantered around the media.
so here it is. i hope you can take a moment to click on the link above or below and use the power of your voice. please feel free to pass on this email and/or the link to your friends and whanau - thanks x
As mother and a woman I fully support repealing section 59 which would remove the current right of parents to use 'reasonable force' against their children. I believe that children, like men, women and animals, have the right to live without fear of physical retribution by others and have the right to exist within a society that does not condone physical abuse.
There was a time when men had the legal right to use 'reasonable force' against their partner. Using the term 'reasonable' denotes a subjective understanding of the word - that is, it is left up to the individual using the 'reasonable force' to decide what reasonable means. In this way the term 'reasonable' was used by the government, through legislation, to opt for a 'minimalist intervention' approach towards 'family matters'. In correlation with this moral legislation there was widespread social denial and repression in regards to abusive behavior in the 'home'. However women were still being abused, children still victims of abuse and/or abusive environments.
Much campaigning by Women's Refuge and subsequent recognition of New Zealand Women's lived experiences culminated in the 1982 Domestic Violence Act. By defining domestic violence as abuse the act sought to protect victims of violent behavior. This literal acknowledgement of the reality of violence towards women upheld a new social morality - that this violence was not acceptable. The Domestic Violence Act was amended in 1995, re-newing the definition of violence to include psychological abuse - along with the pre-existing definitions of physical and sexual abuse - and significantly shifting the focus of the act to prioritize victim support.
The 1995 Domestic Violence Act is an interventionist legislative act, which gives a moral indication to our society that violence is unacceptable and upholds the right of victims of violence as paramount. It gives a clear and moral standard of what is unacceptable behavior to the community at large and empowers women, in particular, through community support and effective legal protection. It also provides a position by which to address violence - particularly violence by men. And it is this position, the ability to address the perpetration of violence, to view the perpetrator for that which he is, that caused such resistance to the unveiling of 'domestic affairs' in New Zealand. For when one feels entitled - if not legally entitled - to behave however one deems reasonable, one does not want to let go of the benefits of that entitlement in a hurry. In fact it took a legislative change to 'force' men and the community at large, to look honestly at the 'privileges' men had taken for granted and face up to the reality that this violent entitlement created.
Change is never easy, particularly when we don't know any other way. Yet change was imperative for the thousands of women who raised their voices in unison to call for change in their homes, change in their lives and change in their society because violence, 'reasonable force' was unacceptable.
And it should be like that. We should change and grow and with our life experience change and shape the society we live in to keep in line with our evolving moral standards. And every time we do shift our morals, however small, we will have to address what led us to here, where we are now and where we are to go next. It's a challenge as a human being I feel obligated to undertake, for myself, for my children and for my society.
Abusing children is unacceptable. New Zealand's Children need a change.
In 1999, Homicide was one of the three leading causes of death for children age 0-14. The 2003 Social Report by the Ministry of Social Development found a substantiated child abuse rate of 6.9 children for every 1,000 children under 17 years of age, a slight increase from the (revised) rate of 6.7 percent in 2001. Rates of child abuse were higher in turn for Maori children, and for girls. The Human Rights Commission said, "These unpublished data provide compelling evidence that children's right to life and security is not adequately met in New Zealand."
The Human Rights Commission has reported that we, as New Zealanders need to consider the security of children in more detail.
In response to the rising awareness and prevelation of violence against children, Te Rito, the New Zealand Family Violence Strategy, was released in 2002, encouraging intolerance of violence, effective response to violence and prevention of violence in families/whanau.
Somewhat later, in October 2006, National's Associate Welfare spokesperson, Anne Tolley said, "With substantiated cases of abuse totaling 13,000 last year, up from 6,000 in the year 2000, this monthly snapshot shows clearly that abuse is increasing in frequency and severity."
These are just some examples of the severity of child abuse in our country.
The Ministry of Health, like many other governmental and non-governmental bodies, has taken steps towards improving the overall health and welfare of our children, including promoting non-violent parenting techniques and providing support for families. They have done this because our awareness and understanding about the need for children's right to security is changing, our standards of acceptable behavior are changing, and our tolerance for violence is changing.
Despite legislation under the Domestic Violence Act of 1995 15% of women still 'report' physical abuse, up to 53% report psychological abuse and 50% of all homicides of New Zealand women are committed by their partner (HRC).
Legislation to prevent violence against anyone is not the end of violence - but it is the legislated moral beginnings of change.
The bill to repeal section 59 is a call to moral action. Yes, calling into question our behavior towards our children will make our actions visible and make us accountable for the effect of our actions. But our rights as parents, our entitlement to parent, our privilege to bring life into this world, should not override the rights of our children to live free from violence in all it's forms.
As a woman it is my right to live in safety. As a mother I know it is my right to provide a safe environment for my children. And I want my children to have the right, as I do, to expect safety in their home.
Please support Sue Bradford's bill to repeal section 59.
Amend legislation that legitimizes violence against children. Mend children's lives.
Below are more details regarding the website and section 59 from sue bradford.
Critical last push on the section 59 campaign.
A section 59 website is now active that will
emails for you to send directly to MPs. It is vital that MPs
sense there is strong community support for the Bill as they
head towards their final votes on it.
MPs need to be inundated with supportive
emails in the next 3
days and this system will do all the work for you!
1. Go to www.repealsection59.org.nz and enter your details.
2. You can choose to send your email to all or just some MPs.
3. A draft email will come up and you can confirm that you're happy with the text, or make additions, then simply push send. The MPs will receive your email.
Please make sure you spread the word about the site to supporters of repeal. The Crimes Amendment (Substituted Section 59) Bill removes a legal defence that can be used by parents who hit their children to avoid successful prosecution.
The Bill provides children only with the same protection that law already gives to adults and animals and will not result in parents being criminalised for trivial offences. It is an important measure in the efforts to reduce violence in our society and support the development of our children.
Your support at this crucial time is very much appreciated. Do it for the children and for a more peaceful Aotearoa NZ.
The Editor, Scoop
I am writing to say that Parliament should do their job and listen to their people; the majority of whom are against the repeal of Section 59. Supporting the Bill is a very stupid move for the Government because in doing that they are securing their own doom. The 80% of people against the repeal will never vote for Labour again. They will not win the next election.
The Editor, Scoop
The Wellington march against Bradford's bill -
AS IT WAS, NOT AS REPORTED...
www.Youtube.com keywords 'section59 march'
1. The March...8:09
2. Lindsay Perigo and Heather Roy - 8:28 mins
Larry Baldock and Chester Burrows - 8:45
Christine Rankin, Bob McCroskrie and Sheryl Savill -
The Editor, Scoop
I am writing to say
Annette King and Bev,
Pertinent comments to all Labour, Greens, Maori and some NZ first Party members.
This defence was recently used by a woman who beat her son with a riding crop. I have yet to meet a New Zealander who considers that acceptable. I am sure you do not either and would agree therefore that the law that permits this must change.
I suggest you invite the jury members, the woman, her partner and the son who was beaten and ask them for tea and scones.
It was not the son who complained or any witnesses but the School and CYFS who took the woman to court.
The school requested an interview with the woman to find out what had caused the turn around in her sons previously unruly behaviour. When the woman admitted the successful strategy that had turned around that young mans life, just after the son had taken to her partner with a baseball bat, the sticky beak school reported the woman to CYFS who in turn brought the prosecution on the woman.
The jury acquitted the woman. The jury must have thought that the force used, was reasonable in the circumstances.
You cannot GROW the business of social workers, councillors, psychiatrists, police, courts, and prisons, by having disciplined, well behaved young citizens - that simply will not do!
You need to begin farming criminals from a young age, by not setting boundaries and by giving in to their every desire. Thus when they grow up and cannot get what they want handed to them on a paper plate, they will take it anyway, because they have been brought up to think that everything is their right. Other people do not matter, there is no empathy with adults, the elderly, animals or anyone else that gets in their way.
And it will be your fault!
If people are allowed to whip horses with riding crops on national broadcast TV, then why is it inappropriate to whip people?
The Jury in the Woman with the Unruly 15 yr old Whipped him with a riding Crop (Not a horse whip) case, in balancing all the evidence presented in the trial, found that the action was reasonable in the circumstances. Are you saying the jury was incorrect?
If you change this law because you disagree with this jury verdict, what will you do about all the other verdicts in which you perceive an injustice has been done?
What other court case verdicts could we find
unacceptable and are you going to change laws for
I will read the court pages with interest.
Independent news with ni spin - you claim.
I always thought scoop was independent and unbiased.
But I think your story on the anti smacking march is probably the most biased I've seen in any media, during the whole issue.
Free from Spin? yeah right.
(and 199 out of 200 assualt on child case don't use the s59 defence - the one a year that does usually fails).
[Re: Air New Zealand - New Chair for Air New Zealand Wine Awards]
Concerning the Air New Zealand Awards press release.
Just a small 'erratum'.
Steve Smith MW is not the 'only' MW viticulturalist in the world.
Fortunately so, for the Institute of Masters of Wine.
It garners its strength and reputation as a leading body in international wine education by the very fact that of its many members all aspects of the international trade are covered.
There are a handful of 'bona fide' viticulturalists in the institute from differents grape growing regions of the world.