Anti-smacking debate goes to referendum
Mon, 15 Jun 2009 12:00a.m.
The child-smacking debate is back in the spotlight with confirmation the country will vote on a citizens-initiated referendum.
Opinion is divided over the referendum; those who initiated the referendum insist it is needed, while others argue that the question being asked is pointless.
The question being asked is: Should a smack, as part of good parental correction, be a criminal offence in New Zealand?
The referendum will follow Green MP Sue Bradford's controversial bill outlawing force or violence being used to discipline children.
Murray Edridge of Barnados says the question is loaded and ambiguous.
The question is misleading; the question presupposes that smacking is a part of good parental correction,” he says.
“I would argue that, it also says parents who smack their children are likely to become criminals and neither of those things are correct.”
Prime Minister John Key concurs with Mr Edridge saying the question risks being “ambiguous”.
Voting forms will soon be mailed out to registered voters and the referendum will also be advertised on TV.
The cost of the campaign is almost nine million dollars, but Family First's Bob McCoskrie says that is the price of democracy.
“We had a law that was passed right against the will of the people, most of the polls said 80 percent of people opposed the anti-smacking law,” he says.
“This referendum is a chance for people to say their say because they thought the politicians wouldn't listen.”
Bradford says the whole exercise is a waster of taxpayer’s money, as a Government review will be happening.
Since the law passed in 2007, only one Christchurch parent, Jimmy Mason, has been prosecuted.
In the same time period 13 children have died due to child abuse.
Key says the real test is whether the law is working, he believes it is.
Voting runs from July 31 to August 21, but regardless of the outcome the result is not binding and the law is likely to remain unchanged.
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22/09/2009 8:02:00 p.m.
Why is it that force be a good thing for parents to use.I believe that smacking instills fear and other long term emotional affects on children. They could grow up fearing and hating their parents for acts done to them as a child. Their are many other ways of handling your children. Like time outs for example it is been proven that these work very well and helps the child understand what he or she has done wrong. Smacking can make your child shy away from you just in case they are going to hit instead or your intended action. I do not know if legal action can help in the areas of home life but maybe instead of traumatizing a child for life parents might think twice before smacking their child or children around
17/09/2009 9:20:27 a.m.
is smacking good?
2/09/2009 2:51:29 a.m.
Andrew Mackenna wrote:
There is no 'anti-smacking bill' or legislation. Comb Hansard...take your time. No act of Parliament, so-far, specifically outlaws smacking. The media have helped distort this issue with the phrase '...so-called anti-smacking law...' etc, correctly put, it is the parental correction (or discipline) controversy. The MP Hon. Sue Bradford repealed an antiquated clause in the Crimes Act sanctioning assault under 'parental correction': recognising children are not served by shifty over-regulation in the Crimes Act, and more work needs to be done. The immensely costly and wilfully mis-guided referendum was nothing other than a publicity stunt for the Kiwi Party, and clots who 'jus'don't-like-Bradford-and'em-greens'. - Christchurch 9/09
31/07/2009 11:25:39 p.m.
David Boulton wrote:
There is indeed a very big problem with the how the question is worded, and it seems a lot of people are already noticing.
Firstly, it provides no definition of what the word 'smacking' means under its legal context. When does smacking become beating?
Secondly, the preposition phrase 'as...' holds under negation, so the question presupposes that smacking is 'a part of good parental correction' regardless of your answer. Here is the proof:
1. Yes a smack, as a part of good parental correction, should be legal in New Zealand.
2. ?No a smack, as a part of good parental correction, should be illegal in New Zealand.
For someone who disagrees with smacking, trying to answer (2) may create confusion due to the subliminal nature of the underlying preposition that smacking is in fact part of good parental correction. Therefore I insist this question in inherently bias.
20/06/2009 12:08:43 p.m.
If the question is creating so much confusion for politicians to get their tiny heads around, then here's a simple way to fix it. Divide the question in two and people can have their say on both issues eg:1. May a smack be used as a part of good parental correction? Yes/No2. Should a smack used as a part of parental correction be illegal? Yes/NoSimple. No extra cost. It does not significantly move away from the initial questions asked in the petition.
17/06/2009 9:20:22 p.m.
The question isn't confusing...the media, the government, those who oppose it are the ones who are making it confusing. There has been no positive reporting by anyone on this whole matter. It smacks of a whoe lot of bias. The bill was railroaded through so the people deserve to have a say now they have an opportunity.
17/06/2009 8:48:38 a.m.
I was a bit worried to hear on the news this morning that Federated Farmers were saying this referendum is a waste of tax payers money (stick to farming matters boys and girls). Who cares, for once the people payng the taxes are spending there own money (under common law which gave it to us) instead a bunch of sleazy Politicians, Bureaucrats, Advisors, Conultants etc.. wasting it on their personal gains. Go the tax payer and stuff Keys and Goff who obviously would rather waste the money on something else!!!
16/06/2009 4:01:06 p.m.
I think it was foolish of "Family First" and those other groups to word the question like this. Despite the likely intention for this question to be biased - I think it will actually do more harm than good for those against the law. You've actually given the perfect excuse for the government to completely ignore the referendum. It is non binding anyway, but now even if the "no"s get 99.9% of the vote - the government can just make one statement: "The question is biased and ambiguous, and does not directly pertain to the law" - and that's it. Matter closed. You may try to bring up the results if future - by the politicians will just keep restating that same point and therefore can avoid addressing the issue.
16/06/2009 3:47:46 p.m.
let's remember the wording for this question has to be the question that is asked on the petition for a referendum, and that was given permission to go ahead under the labour government. A fact the media fail to mention in their typical sensationalising of a story
16/06/2009 3:42:13 p.m.
I believe it is very hard for enforcement agencies to work out whether someone is smacking or assaulting their child, especially in the "heat of the moment" or hearing from a member of the public who may have strong views on it one way or the other.We (like all countries) bring too many grey areas into our laws etc. Isn't the idea to keep it simple!!!
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