Totally agree with Tracy Mac. I have always abhorred violence of any kind, why should schools be any different to the outside world?
My school abolished corporal punishment shortly after it started up in 1976, and there were far fewer problems with violence between pupils there (violence towards a teacher was completely unheard of) than there were at a neighbouring and supposedly "better" school that still used corporal punishment.
My dad was caned needlessly as a boy and he has held a bitter resentment of all school teachers ever since. I don't think that's the sort of attitude we want towards the people charged with guiding our future generations towards becoming reasonable and compassionate adults.
I've been thinking long and hard about this one. As a parent of two young boys, who are often boisterous as lads tend to be, I was at first fervently opposed to the removal of Section 59, as I saw it as possibly criminalizing parents who wish to discipline their children in what has been an accepted manner - and by that I don't mean excessive smacking, either, just the normal paddle the bottom type of thing.
But then I listened to Mikey on the b, and I thought about it a lot more. Why is it acceptable to hurt our children? At all? Why should we have the right to hurt them - even a little bit? The only reason I have ever heard to justify it is that it is an accepted part of discipline in our society. But then so was torture 500 years ago, but does that mean that it was right? It certainly is not considered acceptable now.
The old, "I was smacked as a kid and I turned out all right," argument really doesn't bear close scrutiny. I can remember being smacked as a kid, and I still feel resentful about some of the times, 40 odd years later. And I have smacked my kids when they've made me angry, and sometimes I've thought about it later and felt bad, because it really wasn't justified to hurt them and all it did at the time was vent some of my anger - on them.
That's patently wrong. I've got a range of punishments in my house, and of all of them smacking has been the least effective. And now that I've thought about it hard, we've decided to ban all forms of hitting in our family, either from child to child or parent to child. Other things work, and we use them.
The fact is, smacking is only "accepted" because that's what everybody's parents did to them, and so it goes on. If we make a conscious decision to break that cycle, remove it totally as an acceptable act from the psyche of society in general, then future generations will never even consider it an option. I know it won't solve all the child abuse cases for now or in the near future, but in 2 generations time I truly believe that the number of people who resort to violence to solve their problems will have significantly reduced.
You see, I've always been of the opinion that nobody has any right to hurt you if you don't want to be hurt - I have never got into fights or even hit anyone - except when I have smacked my kids.
But now I realize that just because they are mine doesn't mean that they are not people too, and it doesn't give me the right to hurt them. Because that's what all the vocal opponents of Ms Bradford's bill are calling for - the right to be able to hurt their kids. And that's just wrong.
By the way, if Ports of Auckland bought all of public shares in Ports of Tauranga, they would be able to transfer much of the container load to Tauranga and still maintain their revenue stream, whilst also achieving the same end that the much talked about merger between the two ports would achieve...
I don't know whether this is an inherent thing in Aucklanders, New Zealanders or maybe just people in general (particularly those descended from the English) but it seems to me that the fault is with the system for demanding public opinion for any major project - there will almost always be a largely negative response from the public for any major project like this.
Granted, there is nothing wring with a little public consultation, but large projects such as this should never be halted just because a vocal group of people complain about it. The fact is that nobody wanted the Sydney Opera House, or the Sky Tower, or probably the Manukau Wastewater treatment plant, but we have got them nonetheless and there would not be many people around who would not appreciate their value to their respective cities.
The problem is that a large number of people have a serious lack of vision for their cities, and are only concerned at how things will affect them. The waterfront stadium is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Auckland, and I would be very disappointed if the opportunity to build something iconic in this city (for a change) were to be wasted. Don't forget that lots of people moaned about the Britomart Transport Centre, and the original concept was watered down to something that is now proving to be too small - in the last year passenger numbers on trains in Auckland jumped by 32% to over 5 million trips. As Mike Lee says, build it and they will come.
Let's just build the thing and argue about it later - I would put money on it that people like it once it's there.