Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Smack to the Future

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  • Brenda Leeuwenberg,

    I am amazed that such a poorly worded question got so far in the first place. Amazed that the media haven't been held more to account for so screwing with people's understanding and perceptions of what the 'law' actually says, and what this farcical referendum means.

    And I'm ashamed to be a New Zealander on the basis of this whole debacle. Some outrage here: http://sandy.terapad.com but overall shame.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2008 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Roberts,

    It seems to me that the Yes campaign was slow to realise the level of interest being generated. I certainly eased off on the issue several months ago as people seemed to feel the issue would quietly die, then around the start of voting began to think I'd got it wrong. In one of my main social communities that was far too late to build understanding and overcome the default response the question was engineered to raise.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 93 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    And I'm ashamed to be a New Zealander on the basis of this whole debacle.

    I'm also embarassed by the result. How ~90% of returns can vote 'no' on that form... very sad.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Homer,

    Charting the turnout against the "yes" vote paints an interesting picture that suggests the "no" voters really were quite a bit more exercised about it all.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 85 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    And I'm ashamed to be a New Zealander on the basis of this whole debacle.

    I think alot of people didn't want to take part in the farce it immediately proved to be. The media circus and the clowns that wanted to take part were rather offputting and now we have the bottom feeders in for the kill. Who would want to be part of that. An orchestrated campaign to hit children, should not make those who don't want to, ashamed. I suggest, stand tall and remind people that the repeal of s59 is there to protect the child.Ask the advocates for hitting if they would be comfortable with somebody bigger than them hitting them whenever they felt like?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Here's what will happen (brought to PA exclusively by Professor Sybil Trelawny):

    At his press conference on Monday, John Key will present some new form of words, making no substantive change. This will not satisfy the vocal "No" team (Baldock, Kiwibloggers etc) but will impress the game commentators (Espiners, Armstrong, Garner) who will laud the Prime Minister's political skill. Goff will shrug and talk about Rodney Hide instead. Then it will all go away. The next opinion polls will show no change whatsoever.

    Just as everything settles down and we're talking about the economy or the All Blacks, John Boscawen's private member's bill will be drawn from the ballot. The Prime Minister will be caught saying "fuck, fuck, fuck" in front of a live microphone.

    And off we go again ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I voted "no". The reason was pretty simple: I felt compelled as a civic duty to answer the question honestly. Perhaps it plays into the hands of people who want to open the door to a lot more than "a light smack as part of good parental correction", but that wasn't what the question was asking, and I seriously do not think that is something that should be a criminal offense. By exactly the same token, the government is not obliged to read anything more into the results than the answer to the question.

    But it is a thumping. I'm sorry, it really is. If people wanted to vote yes, they had the opportunity. Their failure to do so means either they don't care, or they don't agree with saying "yes" to that question. Either way it's a very strong win for those saying "no" to that question.

    Perhaps it is way out of whack with "child welfare agencies, newspaper editorial columns and Parliament itself.". Or then again, perhaps it is they who are out of whack, since whilst only 88% of 54% = 48% of registered voters said "No", you have to also accept that only 12% of 54% = 6% of registered voters said "Yes". So those agencies, columns and Parliament are really aligned with a pretty fucking small slice of our population.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Larry Baldock has *how* many fingers?
    That friend photo seemed to show at least 5 knuckles...

    Hey. Prattchett thread? Where? I love Terry's work-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sam Vilain,

    I think there's a clear mandate for a Government Press Release detailing why a smack as a part of good parental correction has not yet resulted in a criminal prosecution in New Zealand. Clearly the voting populace have said something: that they don't understand the anti-thrashing bill (S59 repeal ;))

    San Francisco (was Wellin… • Since Jun 2007 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Sam Vilain,

    BenWilson: what about a smack as a part of bad parental correction? A smack as a part of complete parental sadism?

    San Francisco (was Wellin… • Since Jun 2007 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    So those agencies, columns and Parliament are really aligned with a pretty fucking small slice of our population.

    Obviously the process would be different, but it's a worrying indication of what a more direct democracy with a binding referendum would be like.

    Sometimes I'd prefer human progress to rule over the majority I guess. Feels like these social justice type issues move forward earlier as a result.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Chapman,

    I'm also assuming that Larry and co. will be punching their fists in the air with these sorts of headlines appearing around the world.

    NZ Referendum Backs Smacking of Children

    Not quite that bad but the headline at the BBC is

    NZ votes against child smack ban

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • David Hamilton,

    Another way of looking at it is that a ~90% vote on a contentious issue is a good signal that the referendum shouldn't really have happened. If the question is so easy to answer in one direction, why the need to ask it? It's more a testament to the wording of the question, and as Ben said, the government doesn't need to read any more into it than is there.

    As someone who doesn't think a smack should be a criminal offense, but thinks the assault law is just fine and working, it's frustrating that the No answer is being used as a evidence to try and change the law. Would have been nice to see a question that more honestly linked the issues.

    From the quote it sounds like he's done some thorough experimentation. The fucker.

    I knew Larry through being friends with his kids when I was in my late teens. He's a decent guy and a good dad, however much I disagree with his methods and his politics.

    Hamiltron • Since Nov 2006 • 111 posts Report Reply

  • tim kong,

    And over on the TVNZ site, the quality of the defense just gets better and better.....

    Noddy samurai ; 2009-08-22 @ 11:01 NZDT
    I was smacked as a child and I know it made me a better person for it; "Spear the rod and spear the child" is not outdated it means to punish out of love hoping the child will avoid a life threatening situation in the future. A smack is on the hand and doesn't leave a permanent mark or bruise

    oh my.

    I'm off to watch Wellington attempt to keep the Shield so the rightful owners can have a crack next week. Maybe when I wake up tomorrow with a sore head, this will all be over....

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Ben. Away over there the BBC summed up the purpose of the Repeal:"The legal change was to stop people using "parental discipline" as a defence against assault changes but allowed police wide latitude to not prosecute cases seen as trivial."
    Wonder why our media did not get it so well?

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Nimmo,

    Considering this result, I'm terrified of a death penalty referendum or something similar. That 48% of New Zealanders aren't willing to admit that smacking is a cruel and unnecessary parental 'tool' is truly disheartening.

    It seems that we were wrong about the acquittals in those sadistic child assault cases being a result of nutjob jury members. It looks like the juries were, in fact, made up of 'mainstream New Zealanders'.

    Wellington • Since May 2009 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • PaulT,

    As someone who doesn't think a smack should be a criminal offense

    Should driving 5 k/hr over the posted limit on a clear suburban road be against the law?

    Ever done it?

    There are plenty of laws that people decide to break all the time, yet they agree that the law should exist. Laws can have a role in changing societal opinions and goodness knows, NZ attitudes about violence towards children could do with a change.

    Dunedin • Since Jun 2009 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Look, I agree with the 'yes' folks too, but I don't think we can assume everyone who voted 'no' is a sadist who loves beating kids... that seems rather excessive.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    Jesus, that photo of Baldock in the Herald. Joyous at the chance to hit his kids with stationery and cooking aparatus (his words "I'm not opposed to the wooden spoon or ruler..."). And, even more terrifyingly, his explanation for why the no voters wanted the law changed: "They want the authority back in the home..."

    Authority back in the home? WTF? Patriarchal disicpline for all the lesser members of the household. I am not implying this in relation to any other no voters, but Baldock himself really sounds like he wants to smack more people than his kids.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 273 posts Report Reply

  • David Hamilton,

    Should driving 5 k/hr over the posted limit on a clear suburban road be against the law?

    Ever done it?

    There are plenty of laws that people decide to break all the time, yet they agree that the law should exist. Laws can have a role in changing societal opinions and goodness knows, NZ attitudes about violence towards children could do with a change.

    Good point. I should have said I support the notion that physical discipline should be a parental choice, and don't think they should be punished for it necessarily. But the line has to be drawn somewhere, and the way the law is now seems most sensible and most protective of a kids right to have a safe home.

    Hamiltron • Since Nov 2006 • 111 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Nimmo,

    Look, I agree with the 'yes' folks too, but I don't think we can assume everyone who voted 'no' is a sadist who loves beating kids... that seems rather excessive.

    I suspect this was addressed at me, so:

    I didn't say it. Of course -most- of the No vote aren't sadists, but by voting that way they are excusing the people who are.

    Wellington • Since May 2009 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    -most- of the No vote aren't sadists, but by voting that way they are excusing the people who are.

    Absofuckinglutely. Does New Zealand think it is acceptable to hit kids? All the public emoting about how Lillybing and dozens of other dead children are a national tragedy.

    I've been close enough to know that beatings, abuse, and serious physical harm result from and start under the guise of "good parental correction".

    I really do think that the darkness of character (resentment, violence, dislike of others) that characterises the other side of New Zealand never truly went away. And once again there are public figures tapping it to their own advantage, while those with the power to condemn them stay silent.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia,

    <quote>Ian, to clarify: I have friends that I love and respect, who have wonderful children that they happen to smack (usually in direct response to an incident).
    Personally, I abhor smacking in all cases. Perhaps this is because my son is naturally well behaved (I prefer to think we raised him well). Or my wife was never smacked. Perhaps I would have smacked if the time and place were different Who knows?
    Hence my conflict. I don't want my friends prosecuted (which they won't be unless they smack for "correction" under current law).<quote>

    But the whole point of the law is not just to stop assault of children but to help us turn to a more sensible mode of discipline. I smacked my first child, rarely smacked my second and completely avoided smacking for my third. I deeply regret smacking my first son. It was my anxiety as a first time mother that led me to do it and I wish their had been societal disapproval in those days.
    With Sue Bradford's amendment in place, people like your friends will gradually realise that smacking is not the only way. their children would be wonderful, or even more wonderful without it.

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

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

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