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Bradford lauds Key's s59 efforts

17 April 2007

Bradford lauds Key's s59 efforts, asks to attend Nat caucus

Green Party MP Sue Bradford today welcomed National Party leader John Key's offer to play a constructive role in the debate over her s59 repeal Bill, and is offering to attend the National party caucus to discuss any issues that Mr Key and his colleagues have with the proposed legislation.

"I have always welcomed constructive debate on this Bill. That's why I have attended some quite hostile meetings held by my opponents, in a genuine effort to reach out and address the fears they have. Similarly, I am more than willing to go into the lions' den of the National caucus, and talk with them about the issue and field any questions they have. I look forward to hearing from Mr Key as to whether, and when the National caucus can extend me an invitation," Ms Bradford says.

"In recent weeks, Parliamentary opponents to the Bill have tried to introduce a series of amendments and other procedures primarily aimed at delaying a vote. I am therefore pleased to see Mr Key has accepted the reality that the amendment posed by his colleague Chester Borrows is likely to be defeated.

" Mr Key's observations are not the first attempts at compromise to have ever been put on the table. In fact, the current Bill, which emerged from the select committee process, is itself a compromise meant to satisfy the very concerns that he raised in his speech.

" MPs share much in common on this issue. We all want to prevent violence against children from being protected by the defence of reasonable force, and none of us want to criminalise good parents.

"Where we currently differ is over the question of lowering the threshold for acceptable physical violence towards children. In this respect, the select committee and I agreed that it is just as wrong to correct children by hitting them as it is to correct the behaviour of adults by hitting them.

"I am not sure when Mr Key last talked to the childcare experts in the field - such as Plunket, Unicef, Barnardos, and Save the Children. I would like to make a second offer to him, in the same spirit of constructive debate, and in recognition that none of us have all the answers.

" If Mr Key is willing to arrange for me to talk with the National caucus, I will arrange a meeting for him with the representatives of Plunket, Unicef, Barnardos and Save the Children - so that he can talk with them face to face about the ideas he put forward in his speech today.

"If Mr Key and I both approach our respective meetings in a constructive spirit, perhaps we will be able to reach a positive conclusion on this divisive issue. Certainly, I would not want to prejudge the outcome."


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