Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Smack to the Future

358 Responses

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  • Graeme Edgeler,

    There are plenty of laws that people decide to break all the time, yet they agree that the law should exist.

    Yes. Thus the difference from this case.

    The majority of people agree that speeding should be illegal. The majority of drivers speed on occasion.

    The majority of parents have smacked their children. The majority of New Zealanders do not agree that that should be illegal.

    One can agree or disagree. But this is, I think, the substantial difference between smacking and speeding.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3212 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    Baldock's just said on TV3 News that if John Key doesn't repeal the law, it'll cost him his job as PM "because more people voted 'no' than voted for National" .

    The man is truly deluded.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    by voting that way they are excusing the people who are

    That's the *effect*, but I imagine it's not the *intent*.

    I don't think that most people I share a society with are a bunch of deliberate arseholes, in other words. Maybe just thoughtless and a bit reactionary?

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

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Baldock's just said on TV3 News that if John Key doesn't repeal the law, it'll cost him his job as PM "because more people voted 'no' than voted for National" .

    The man is truly deluded.

    Oh, so now I'm getting it. The tax-payer shelled out $9 million for a Kiwi Party branding exercise. Nice to know...

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

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    I know a heck of a lot of people who are quite happy with the way the law is as it stands but didn't vote because the question was dumb. And a bunch more who would never condone smacking a child but got carried away with the "this law doesn't prevent serious child-abuse so is therefore useless" arguments (which is about as sensible as saying "it shouldn't be illegal to pinch your neighbour's TV because someone once robbed a bank to the tune of $10 million" but there you go). Lots of basically decent people who would never raise a hand to anyone failed to either get it or to make a stand.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    said a female neighbour, who did not want to be identified.
    Police released the name of toddler Kash McKinnon yesterday and said the post mortem examination confirmed her injuries were "non-accidental".
    They said she was home with a 21-year-old man - not related to her - and three other children aged 2, 4 and 6 when a visitor sounded the alarm, about 1.20pm on Wednesday. Not all the children were siblings, police said.

    One neighbour didn't want to be involved but one other person has at least learnt to question on behalf of the child. I am glad someone tried to help her. Let's hope more are learning to get involved and won't mind being identified.

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

  • Stephen Judd,

    I'll tell you what cheers me up, which is that John Key hasn't bent over and promised a law change. I find this cheering firstly because I prefer the status quo, and it seems I'll get it, and secondly because it's not nice having a weasel for a PM and this reduces his weasel quotient.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The majority of people agree that speeding should be illegal. The majority of drivers speed on occasion.

    The majority of parents have smacked their children. The majority of New Zealanders do not agree that that should be illegal.

    Isn't some underlying disquet because disciplining/punishing children is seen by many as mainly the domain of the family, while speeding is only seen as public domain? Hitting children unquestionably has public implications, just as speeding has private ones. The perception seems different, though.

    I also found it telling that on Q+A the frontwoman for the referendum mentioned "defiance". Unquestioned parental authority seems to be an issue for some, and you can hear the resentment at that authority being restrained in any way.

    In the USA, that attitude would probably come carrying guns, so I feel quite fortunate that here it waves sermons and petitions instead. Still pretty unattractive, though.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    by voting that way they are excusing the people who are

    That's the *effect*, but I imagine it's not the *intent*.

    It certainly was not my intent. I can't see that the effect is so clear cut. I don't excuse sadists. I just don't see that smacking is always sadism. If it is sadism, it needs to be stopped. Could it be stopped in any other way than stopping all smacking? I think so.

    I don't think it's necessarily a poorly worded question either. It does ask, quite clearly "Is smacking sometimes OK?". The results seem to indicate that is exactly what a clear majority of NZers think. This is directly in opposition to the current laws. It's an important problem when the opinions of society are like that. It should probably be known, at the very least. I don't think it's wasted money to find out the opinion of NZ on this matter.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Ben McNicoll,

    @ Stephen Judd

    I wouldn't speak too soon. I'm still waiting to see what his actual response is.

    John Key implied before the referendum that he wasn't going to act on the result because the law was working and the question confusing.

    This enabled me to abstain from voting with a clear conscience as there was no way I could answer such a poorly worded question honestly, and I am happy with the status quo. Given the low turnout, I suspect a significant number of people who would come down in the yes camp did the same.

    If the PM, having diminished the importance of a vote by saying he wasn't going to change anything, changes anything, I'm going to be pissed off.

    Grey Lynn • Since May 2007 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I'm surprised how disobedient these referendum organizers grow up to become. Did they not learn to obey authority?

    Damn good point.

    There's a subtext of biblical vs earthly authority thrown in for good measure, no surprise given the religious bent of most of the key activists. I guess they might argue an unchallengeable direct line from parents to their version of god. Possibly an old testament one.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I'm surprised how disobedient these referendum organizers grow up to become.

    And they're the ones who claim "I was smacked and it never did me any harm"

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

  • mark taslov,

    Maybe just thoughtless and a bit reactionary?

    or maybe just have different ideas about parenting....

    for me the issue is not smacking,one could replace 'smacking' with any word on that referendum and the issue seems to be "should the government be criminalizing specific elements of good parenting?" Smacking children is an arbitrary focus. the emotional violence is the crux. I don't agree Danielle that it's thoughtless and reactionary to agree with the notion that smacking can be part of a good parenting.I think such a notion criminalizes far too many of our older generation.

    What are the rest saying? Don't smack your child, but pat yourself on the back and send them off out on to a rugby field to get bruised up every Saturday? Don't smack your child and but call them every unforgiving name under the sun? Obviously extreme examples, but they are realities for many children. The smack is almost a non issue, compared to the accompanying motivation, reaction, and outcome. Smacking in its various forms is not the inherent problem, but more so the symptom of a deeper problem.

    All this referendum is saying as I understand it is that parents feel they can better decide how to be good parents than dicks in a beehive who should remove their beaks from the collective new zealand family living room.

    democracy won on the day once again the ineptness of the leadership was obscured by the polarization of the nation, who knows what it really meant, but it sure was entertaining. I recall having an argument a fews back with a guy who was staunchly anti smacking, and i proposed the idea of including a decent proportion of children in some kind of referendum and he laughed it off. Call me radical or whatever but It's that kind of arrogance by those on both sides who profess to care about this issue that undermines the whole debate. For me I feel that the disrespect of saying "but children can't decide, their brains is too small" is merely an extension of the idea that it's ok to commit physical, sexual and emotionally violent acts against children, it's either total respect for their rights or a lack of total respect. 10-18 year olds could handle the kind of question the referendum asked.

    I don't think it's necessarily a poorly worded question either. It does ask, quite clearly "Is smacking sometimes OK?"

    Nice Ben. In saying 10-18 year olds could handle that question, I also feel they could handle it a lot better than those abstainers and those who found criticizing the question a more worthwhile exercise than contributing to the vote. It seemed that there is a demographic in society who will look at the wording of these types of referendums (similarly with the sentencing one a few years back) pick apart the syntax and totally ignore the very clear intent of the referendums. Perhaps they're over educated, perhaps just pedantic. Personally I see the issue there, but beyond that, far far beyond, I can see what the question is driving at/the general point/ the gist/ . To implore abstention based on pedantry was not getting it. and perhaps not getting it worse than those who didn't get that the question was flawed.

    ie. in the case of this question and the way it's worded, an abstention also seems to contribute to the "no" swathe, because it's obviously a total non issue for so many. Just as if the referendum asked "should murder be a criminal offence in NZ" and we got this same result. A tiny tiny majority voting that smacking children should be a criminal offence.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    majority...

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Time to go watch Richie and Co.,Ltd smack the shit out of those wallabies.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    it's obviously a total non issue for so many. Just as if the referendum asked "should murder be a criminal offence in NZ" and we got this same result. A tiny tiny majority voting that smacking children should be a criminal offence.

    ?Right that's where you lost me.

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

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I'm surprised that amid all this debate about smacking, there hasn't really been much discussion of whether smacking is actually an effective form of child discipline.

    What are we generally assuming about smacking?

    There's a good 2008 article over at Slate called "Why you shouldn't hit your kids". It has an American focus, but there's plenty that applies to NZ. It details why smacking isn't effective as a long-term measure, what can go wrong, and also why it sometimes seems like smacking works.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I'm surprised that amid all this debate about smacking, there hasn't really been much discussion of whether smacking is actually an effective form of child discipline.

    I'm completely unsurprised. I wish I was surprised...

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    there hasn't really been much discussion of whether smacking is actually an effective form of child discipline.

    Also unsurprised. Asking that question does not favour those pushing the referendum. And they simply did a better job of deluging media and other influencers of public opinion than their opponents did, in any case. Better resourced, too.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    sorry..I meant minority and it wasn't clear. what i mean is. If they asked "should murder be a criminal offence in new zealand" and the results were the same, about 40+% abstention, tiny minority of people vote yes, then it would seem pretty clear that few think murder should be a criminal offence.... Just as here, it seems that those who believe smacking should be a criminal offence are a tiny tiny minority.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Just as here, it seems that those who believe smacking should be a criminal offence are a tiny tiny minority.

    I am often in a minority and all this referendum showed me was that,we just had displayed a pride of ignorance. I know not everyone can work out an alternative answer to controlling their kids and I know some wanted to answer no to the stupid question but I am concerned mostly that the ones that do hurt their kids have just been given permission to get away with it if the law reverts.The media has just allowed people to cream their pants (for want of a better term) about fighting with your kids. I think it's ignorance.

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

  • mark taslov,

    ion but I am concerned mostly that the ones that do hurt their kids have just been given permission to get away with it if the law reverts.The media has just allowed people to cream their pants (for want of a better term) about fighting with your kids. I think it's ignorance.

    I know what you mean Sophie, but I don't think they've been given permission to do anything other than smack them as part of good parenting. Which in itself is a good conundrum to sow in the population ie. can the two coexist? I think that this was already the case and the law is rendered in this spirit. The police made it clear a while back that they're not focusing on trivialities. There is no reason for the law to revert, Key said it won't, please hold him to that. Personally I feel that there are many ways to hurt kids and a good proportion of them are totally non physical, and therein lies the more pertinent issue.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Mark: If you (or someone) hit the child with a whip for being naughty, would you like to be able to escape conviction by saying you were only using reasonable force to correct the child? YES/NO?
    That Mark is what the Repeal set out to remove as a legal defence. Thats all. I cannot believe that you would say Yes!

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I guess. Still ignorance. That mixed up with knee jerk reactions which there has been alot of recently is entirely possible though. I will email the PM if I have to. Hope not.

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

  • mark taslov,

    Mark: If you (or someone) hit the child with a whip for being naughty, would you like to be able to escape conviction by saying you were only using reasonable force to correct the child? YES/NO?
    That Mark is what the Repeal set out to remove as a legal defence. Thats all. I cannot believe that you would say Yes!

    firstly, why would I do such a thing? Secondly NO, thirdly, I support the repeal and the way the law is being administered. What's your point?

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

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