Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Compromise

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  • Isaac Freeman,

    The Prime Minister's office could have thought of it months ago.

    I rather assumed that this is precisely what happened. If they'd actually brought out the amendment months ago, their political enemies would have had time to point out that its entirely redundant. Better to save it until the last minute for maximum confusion.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 134 posts Report Reply

  • Nigel Caughey,

    Craig, he kind of backtracked on the PCA comment, or tried to play it down would be more accurate, ie. the courts will be key in creating case law, but the impression I got was he was very comfortable that the guidelines were acceptably clear from the start.
    I actually prefer the discretion, with the law defining intent, as opposed to being to specific and rule based, it makes it alot harder to wriggle out on a technicality and put's emphasis on human judgement on both sides, sure it might get it wrong occassionally, but longer term it's a more manageable system.

    Paihia • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    There are opinion pieces today criticising John Key for forgetting that the Opposition's job is to oppose.

    I can't help thinking that he's Machiavellianistically positioning himself with 'mainstream New Zealanders' (read: swing voters) as a 'reasonable' guy. Now he can request 'compromise' or 'co-operation' on any policy he likes, and if he doesn't get it Labour looks like churlish hypocrites.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    And to stop the snark for a minute: I was very impressed with last night's debate, particularly the speeches by Shane Jones, Rodney Hide, and Brian Donnelly.

    And obviously my respect for Judith Collins has just SOARED.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    Society already intervenes in the interests of children - as it bloody well should. This just lowers the bar so that people can't thrash their kids and have a defence for that.

    If that is all that this bill did we would not be arguing about it. I think everyone knows the true scope of what Bradford is trying to achieve.

    Okay, I've said enough. Love your work Russell.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    John Key has managed an extraordinary about face for his party. The Repeal of the Section 59 of the Child Discipline Bill, has not been changed one little bit. The so-called Amendment simply states what already exists. The police have always had "discretion" in deciding whether a situation, (such as hitting your kid) is important enough to warrant charges being laid. So nothing was changed yesterday except that National can be on the "winning" side thus avoiding the inevitable backlash later, and avoid being associated with the extremists. A Bill was so wrong on Tuesday and so right on Wednesday. Amazing. Either John Key and his team have totally misunderstood the repeal of Section 59, or they have been hoodwinked by a clever piece of smoke and mirrors.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    I think everyone knows the true scope of what Bradford is trying to achieve.

    Thinking for everyone is is never easy.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    From the Press/Stuff:

    Christchurch radio personality and father of four Simon Barnett said the law was now more confusing than ever.

    "Police will have to be judge and jury and make a decision on the spot. I feel this is going to make it extremely tough for them."

    Barnett said he thought officers would "err on the side of caution" in the event that a case not acted upon turned serious.

    1. Barnett is not a lawyer.
    2. Barnett is not a police officer.
    3. Actually, Barnett isn't anything at all, just on a lot of crap telly. But hey-ho, it's budget rent-a-quote. The real police applaud the amendment, while the self-appointed policeman knows better.

    More importantly: A revealing phrase ... "in the event that a case not acted upon turned serious." Apparently police erring on the side of caution is WORSE than letting violence go unpunished. Says it all really.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Bryan Dods,

    Barnett has talked of the useful smack to make his daughter settle down to sleep.
    After smacking he tells her he loves her and all is well.

    What sort of partner will she be seeking when the time comes?

    Perhaps Barnett could try telling her he loves her before he hits her, then she could go to sleep feeling secure without needing a hiding as a catalyst.

    Just because Barnett rose to fame through a childrens' TV show does not mean he understands much about children.

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    3410: There's a definite payoff for Key, I think. Despite the opinions of those columnists, I don't think NZ voters are actually that keen on mindless opposition.

    Danyl:

    And obviously my respect for Judith Collins has just SOARED.

    Oh yes. But I'll wait for the full Hansard before pointing out that enormous stinking pile of filth.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • dave crampton,

    I have done a couple of posts on the amendment, I think this is about just two issues, none of which are to do with smacking.
    They are political achievability and the intent of Parliament. The bill was always going to be politically achievable but I don't think it would have reflected the intent of Parliament as many Labour Mps were voting for something other than their conscience ( intention).

    As the bill was going to be passed anyway, the amendment is a better option. Labour would have thought of it ages ago and should have done it then. National, which supporting the amendment, should have also decided to vote against the bill. My oppositoin for the bill is greater than my supporkt for the amendment.

    And yes, Russell, the Timaru Lady probably wont agree. But then again she may, I haven't asked her.

    welli • Since Jan 2007 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Ian: or they realised this gave them cover to back down while being able to claim that they had in fact won. It's a paper bag for banning smacking.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I knew you'd say that ;-)

    Oh, you bet your arse I would, I've had too much toxic waste sprayed in my direction from all sides for too long not to think there's always loons on all sides of every debate. (And sorry, I don't think pro-repeal advocates can say they had nothing to do with the often obscenely shrill and poisonous tone the 'smacking debate' took.)

    Yeah, I'm inclined to say a plague on all your houses - and I hope it's one of those particularly viruses that turn your internal organs to pudding. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • David Ritchie,

    Anybody care to remember what Simon Barnett had to say when Dwayne Francks, was jailed for actual, real child abuse? Anybody? Anybody?

    Since Nov 2006 • 166 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    But who, exactly, do you mean? I genuinely can't think of anyone as weird on Bradford's side as the "Timaru Lady", or the lovely people posting to CYFSWatch

    The people who accused Simon Barnett of being a child molester and rapist?

    Don't know who they were? "Timaru Lady" isn't exactly edifying...

    And the people who see absolutely no difference between a light smack and a violent beating are kinda out there too (to be contrasted with people who see a difference,but just think both are wrong)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Great watch of "paper bag magic!

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    Graeme said:

    And the people who see absolutely no difference between a light smack and a violent beating are kinda out there too (to be contrasted with people who see a difference,but just think both are wrong)

    I think I fall into the second camp, but my question is whether the law sees the difference between a light smack and a violent beating? Isn't an assault an assault, beyond some (low) minimum threshold?

    I am reminded of some (in)famous case in which placing an arm over a fence was found to be an act of trespass.

    BTW, Graeme, appreciated your point elsewhere re: whether smaking children is, or is not, already a crime under current "reasonable force" provisions, etc.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Perhaps Barnett could try telling her he loves her before he hits her, then she could go to sleep feeling secure without needing a hiding as a catalyst.

    I really do agree with you, except what about he just tells his daughter he loves her and doesn't hit her.

    It's obviously not a "finger in the light-socket" situation if he gives her a smack before bed.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Also last night and all through the "campaign" there are people saying "the vast majority of NZers oppose this bill".

    Does anyone have links to these numbers? Not that I don't trust random commenters and Bishops it's just, y'know evidence and all.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye,

    Also last night and all through the "campaign" there are people saying "the vast majority of NZers oppose this bill".

    ..primarily related to online and talkback radio polls asking who believes a light smack should be a criminal offence. Frankly, I'm surprised those polls only came out 80% against.

    Morningside • Since Nov 2006 • 533 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    I think I fall into the second camp, but my question is whether the law sees the difference between a light smack and a violent beating?

    There's a distinction between common assault and things like grievous bodily harm (which requires some injury). But within common assault, there's legally no distinction between a light smack (or indeed, pointing your finger at someone in an aggressive manner and giving them the clear expectation that you will poke them in the chest) and punching someone in the nose (or kicking, or biting, provided you don't actually break anything). Instead, the difference is dealt with at sentencing, and by - you guessed it - police discretion.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    Nice post Russell. And big ups to Paul L for the great work he does at Fundy Post

    Ian Mackay: John Key has managed an extraordinary about face for his party. The Repeal of the Section 59 of the Child Discipline Bill, has not been changed one little bit. The so-called Amendment simply states what already exists. The police have always had "discretion" in deciding whether a situation, (such as hitting your kid) is important enough to warrant charges being laid. So nothing was changed yesterday except that National can be on the "winning" side thus avoiding the inevitable backlash later, and avoid being associated with the extremists. A Bill was so wrong on Tuesday and so right on Wednesday. Amazing. Either John Key and his team have totally misunderstood the repeal of Section 59, or they have been hoodwinked by a clever piece of smoke and mirrors.

    I/S: or they realized this gave them cover to back down while being able to claim that they had in fact won

    exactly

    David Ritchie: Anybody care to remember what Simon Barnett had to say when Dwayne Francks, was jailed for actual, real child abuse? Anybody? Anybody?

    umm, I'd love to. Can you remind us David?

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Haydn:
    I really do agree with you, except what about he just tells his daughter he loves her and doesn't hit her.

    Yes, and the next time I see someone having a screaming fit at a child in a supermarket - you know, the kind of lung-buster that has a child cowering - I'll drag them into the next aisle for a time out, and remind them can just because you're keeping your hands to yourself doesn't mean you're not being an abusive cock. Sorry for getting on that particular hobby horse, but I've got to cop to being a child abuser myself -- and using my voice and physical bulk to intimidate a child rather than my fists doesn't really make me a better person.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    but my question is whether the law sees the difference between a light smack and a violent beating. Isn't an assault an assault, beyond some (low) minimum threshold?

    Well, up until now, one could have been saved by s 59 and the other shouldn't have been.

    And a violent beating could see a charge of injuring, assault with intent, assault with a weapon, or cruelty, where a light smack couldn't.

    You're right that the definition of assault doesn't recognise a difference (and the tort of battery doesn't either) - so if I lightly smacked you, for example that would be a criminal assault (and a tortious battery), but the law does recognise a difference (in sentencing or monetary damages etc.).

    I was really getting at those people who were saying parents who have lightly smacked their children are child-beaters. I didn't have too much of a problem with people who said parents who lightly smack commit assaults (illegal assaults - no, but assaults - yes), but calling them "beatings" was **way** out there.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I can entirely see why John Key stepped in and agreed to this 'compromise':

    1. He's been sidelined by the debate which has really been between Bradford on the left, somewhat supported by Labour and smacking opponents, and Burrows etc, supported by fundamentalists and smacking supporters. He wasn't in the game because it was a case of a plague on both sides. He needed to get in the game because it's one of the major political issues of the year, and he's the new leader of a major party who isn't at the forefront of it.

    2. He needed to be in the game in the middle as the 'sensible alternative' of 'middle nz'. He can now go out on the campaign trail and say he saved ordinary nzers from getting prosecuted from becoming criminals for 'just being loving parents', while recognising the problem of child abuse and not allowing parents who go too far to get off.

    I don't think the compromise did anything at all, and I don't support him, but politically I think he'll do fine out of it. Labour got tagged as imposing 'nanny state', were unable to distance themselves from Sue Bradford enough, and supported laws that '80% of the electorate are opposed to'.

    Labour's already had their feet to the fire for a whole heap of time on this, the damage has been done already. If I was Key's political advisor I would have told him to do exactly this - sweep in at the 11th hour and look mainstream, sensible, cross-party, and Prime Ministerial. Heaps of people who were part of that 80% will be looking at him in a better light now.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

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