Child misbehaving in public? How not to smack.

You’d think with all the positive parenting tips the Yes Vote crowd have, they would have some way of stopping your child misbehaving in the supermarket. But this is their advice:Yes, you read that right. If they are playing up in public, just give in to them and go home. Forget about buying groceries today, you can eat crumbs until you can next afford to drive to town.

It makes you wonder how many of these people actually live in the real world.

[Cross-posted at Yes Vote FAIL]

Children’s views on smacking – Barnardos

Smacking – “It’s wrong, full stop” say children

Media release: Barnardos New Zealand 23 June 2009

…The debate around the Referendum ’09 on physical punishment has been widely debated by adults but who is listening to the voice of those who are at the centre of this debate – the children?

As New Zealand’s largest telephone helpline for children and young people, 0800WHATSUP provided an opportunity for children and young people to express their views about physical punishment and whether or not adults should be able to claim a legal defence if charged with assaulting a child.

“The initial results from the survey show that the majority of callers (more than 55 percent) do not think parents taken to court for hitting a child should be let off if they say they were disciplining the child”, says Murray Edridge, Chief Executive of Barnardos New Zealand.

“Despite this, comments from the children and young people who participated in the survey suggest many children are conditioned to expect and accept physical discipline from parents”

So:

  • If a child thinks parents should be prosecuted for smacking, their opinion is very important and should be listened to. BUT
  • If a child thinks otherwise, they have been “conditioned” to think so and their opinion is not valid.

The full report states that the children were asked “Do you think that adults who are taken to court for hitting a child should be let off if they say they were disciplining the child?”. Note the use of the emotive word “hit” here and throughout the messages read to the children. But even with such a leading question, only 55% of children said “hitting” for discipline was not ok. Probably even less than 50% would have said “smacking” was not ok.

In fact, most children recognise that there is a big difference between hitting and smacking, and that physical punishment may be appropriate in some circumstances. Note what the children actually said to the counsellors as reported by Barnardos themselves:

  • (Counsellor) “He said it’s not really that good [for parents to hit their child] but it depends on what happened, or what the child did”. He said it depends on whether the child does something ‘really, really, really, really, really bad’, for example, ‘if they break a window on purpose’”.
  • (Counsellor) “The interpretation I got from this caller was that she thinks its OK to smack (‘a little tap on the bum’) but that if there are bruises, it is not OK.”
  • (Counsellor) “He said that parents should be allowed to hit their children because there were more students getting suspended from school than 10 years ago.”
  • [Getting a smack] should be ok…if they are disciplining them for playing up, they deserve it…but it shouldn’t be too hard.” “I behave a bit more when I get a smack.”

Of the 19 children quoted by Barnados, 11 think smacking is ok in some circumstances (but “hitting” may not be) and 8 disagree. That’s not what their media release would make you think.

The title of their media release (Smacking – “It’s wrong, full stop” say children) is  a blatant lie.

[Cross-posted at Yes Vote FAIL]

Smacking with a wooden spoon

It is encouraging that John Boscowan (ACT MP) is introducing a private members bill to modify Section 59 of the Crimes Act to allow light smacking again. However we have yet to see the details of his proposed amendment. David Farrar has suggested he base it on the Borrows amendment, as this was originally supported by National so should gain National’s support again.

The Borrows amendment would allow physical discipline unless:

  1. It causes or contributes materially to harm that is more than transitory and trifling; or
  2. Any weapon, tool or other implement is used; or
  3. It is inflicted by any means that is cruel, degrading or terrifying.

Point 1 makes good sense. It ensures you cannot beat your children then get off prosecution by saying it was “discipline”. Point 3 also makes some sense, however it would provide a lot of scope for prosecution lawyers to call virtually anything “degrading” (he was smacked on the bottom, bottoms are private parts, that was degrading etc).

However what about point 2? Now I know as soon as I criticise that point I will immediately be labelled as advocating “beating children” by some people, but as they wouldn’t listen to anything I said on the issue anyway I’m not concerned about that. For the rest of us, what need is there for point 2, when you already have point 1?

If no more than “transitory and trifling” effects are produced, what difference does it make whether a hand or a wooden spoon was used? homerstranglesbart1

In fact, it is quite possible to beat a child to death with your bare hands. You don’t need a weapon to inflict major injuries. Whether an implement is used has absolutely nothing to do with preventing child abuse, and is actually a distraction from the real issue.

It also opens up a new issue – what is an implement? Is a ring an implement if a child is smacked with an open hand but accidentally injured by a ring? What about if the parent happened to be wearing a soft glove? What about a thick leather glove?

Let’s not go there. The issue is whether harm is caused that is more than “transitory and trifling”. Forget about whether an implement is used – that is completely irrelevant and just another point of dispute.

I am not writing this to promote disciplining with a wooden spoon, a strap, or any other implement. That should be unnecessary, in my opinion. But I also know some people will disagree and I am not arrogant enough to force my views on them.

My concern is that the government should not be regulating activities (such as methods of discipline), and instead should be concerned with real crime (whether or not the child is abused).

Let’s keep our laws simple and to the point.

A new ‘lost generation’?

The recent case of children being adopted by a gay couple against the wishes of their family in Scotland is shocking, and makes you wonder how this thing can happen in the West. But social engineering like this has a long history.

For over a century it was the policy of the Australian government to forcibly remove Aboriginal children from their families to be raised by white families. They believed if the children were removed from the “corrupting influence” of their parents they would grow into “good” members of society. This was a disgusting, racist practice that resulted in a “lost generation” of Aborigines that do not know their ancestry, and was finally halted in the 1970s. But it was just social engineering by people who genuinely believed they were doing the right thing for the children.

Today we have some people who believe they know what is best for children (being raised by gay parents for example), and believe it is in the child’s best interest to be taken from their families to allow this.

How is this different?

Also, if a child is taken from their family because a parent smacks them, because the current crop of bureaucrats believe smacking is “wrong”, how is this different?

The State has no right to kidnap children from a loving family. Certainly, as Sb has pointed out, if the parents are actually abusing their children this must be dealt with through the criminal justice system, but that is relatively rare.

We MUST NOT allow this destructive social engineering to take hold in New Zealand.

Kiwi Party enabling theft

If you want to conduct an easy bank robbery, contact the Kiwi Party and they’ll give you all the information you need. I am dead serious.

The Kiwi Party has decided to send letters to every person who signed the smacking petition. Family First has distanced themselves from the Kiwi Party as a result, and many people are rather upset because many of those signatures were collected by non-political groups, and even by opposing political parties such as the Family Party and ACT! For balance, read the Kiwi Party response to Family First here.

But I am not concerned too much about the addresses being used, except that it is a bit rude when those addresses were not collected by the Kiwi Party. I am more concerned that they are distributing dates of birth to anyone interested in helping out.

If you are interested in helping send these letters, the Kiwi Party will send you scanned copies of the signed referendum, containing full names, signatures, dates of birth and addresses. See a copy here that was sent to Andy Moore (details blanked).

With this information you can:

  1. Go to the address and steal their mail (to obtain bank account numbers etc)
  2. Learn to forge their signature
  3. Go to the bank and use the date of birth and forged signature as ID
  4. Withdraw all their money

I am not joking. My parents had over $5000 stolen in exactly this way a few years ago. This is very serious.

I write this not to encourage robbery, this method of stealing money is well understood by criminals so me posting it here won’t make much difference. I write this to expose how serious this massive breach of privacy is. I have refrained from directly attacking Kiwi until recently – we have been the object of abuse from them often, even to my face in debates, and I don’t want to sink into the mudslinging. But now they may be sending all the information that anyone needs to steal my money (as I signed the petition), to a random stranger. That disgusts me personally, and I must speak out personally, which I would do whether or not I was standing for another political party.

If you want to vote for a principled conservative party this election, there is only one real option – The Family Party.

Jeanette Fitzsimons and Referenda

I noted that when Jeanette Fitzsimons was asked if the Greens would honour the result of a referendum on MMP, she indicated that of course they would.

So I assume, to be consistent, she will also honour the will of the people next year when we have a referendum on the smacking law?

Fat chance of that, but you can always dream.

Key will ignore smacking referendum

After all that effort having a petition, so we will have a referendum on the smacking law next year, John Key has now come out and said he won’t even listen to it. We all knew Helen Clark wouldn’t, but I was hoping for better from Key.

“We’ll have respect for what the referendum says, but it wouldn’t make us change our mind because there is no point in changing the law if it is working as intended…”

If he does see that the law isn’t working as intended (by which I assume he means the police are charging people with smacking rather than using their discretion as per National’s amendment), then he may consider changing the law. So that tempers it a little. But he is still announcing that the referendum won’t influence him to change the law whatever the result, which is pretty arrogant (and stupid politics just before the election).

I want a change of government for sure, he should still be better than Clark. But this shows once again that we need the Family Party in that government if we want it to listen to the will of the people.

Hat Tip: Family First

Misbehaving students

High-decile schools are struggling with misbehaving students, and receive less support than low-decile schools:

NZEI vice-president Ian Leckie said extreme misbehaviour crossed class boundaries.

“You’ve only got to look at the child who is very spoiled and from a very well-to-do background whose mother won’t buy them the lollies in the supermarket,” Leckie said.

“What that indicates, too, is that some of these behaviours even manifest before they start school,” he said.

Well, what do you expect in a country where smacking is illegal, and the government focuses on the rights of children rather than on families. This situation is only going to get worse.

The best behaved children I have ever seen were in a village in Fiji. They had nothing, and played with sticks in the dirt. They loved clapping games, which have been almost completely forgotten in NZ. They weren’t sad until we gave them balloons and they had something to fight over.

Then we got on a plane to come home and had to put up with whining rich kids fighting over who got to use the GameBoy… You can’t tell me social problems are primarily caused by poverty.

Smacking law

Family Integrity has an excellent, detailed analysis of the smacking law, old and new.

Constitutional change by Labour

No Minister has an excellent post about Labour’s trustworthiness or lack thereof. Labour has made major constitutional changes (such as removing the right of appeal to the Privy Council and removing knighthoods) without campaigning on this policy at any election or seeking public input. Currently Labour has no policy released at all for this election. What might they be intending to do should they get another term?

We currently live in a monarchy, with the Queen’s representative (the Governor General) being the head of state. Most democracies have three branches of government – the judiciary, the legislative branch (parliament, which makes laws) and the executive branch (a President or Monarch, who provides a double-check on those laws through the right of veto and gives clear leadership to the country). We are no exception, having a judiciary, Parliament and a Governor General. The Governor General must give the Royal Assent to law before it is passed. Our connections to England have allowed excellent services such as the Privy Council, a final court of appeal in London that could judge important cases without being influenced by the New Zealand government (who influences judicial appointments here) or the NZ media. In theory this should work fine, and in the past it did.

The problem we have is that the powers of the executive have been reduced, and the influence of the legislative branch has been increased, so that now pretty well everything is controlled by Parliament with no backup in case Parliament does anything against the interest of the country.

This has occurred in a number of ways:

  • By convention, the Governor General gives the Royal Assent to any Act that is passed by a majority of Parliament. They act on advice from the Prime Minister primarily, rather than the Queen. So ultimately the final power rests with the Prime Minister.
  • Although the Queen appoints the Governor General, she does so from a list of nominees chosen by the Prime Minister. So ultimately the Governor General is selected by the PM, who can make sure that everyone on her list would be happy to sign off on whatever the Government wants them too – cementing power with the PM.

Now this shouldn’t be that bad, Parliament is elected democratically after all, so theoretically they should be passing laws that are in the best interests of the population. But in recent years Labour has been making large changes, including major constitutional amendments, without either a public mandate by way of a referendum or necessarily the mandate of the Queen (as every Act gets the Royal Assent anyway we have no idea whether or not the Queen approves). Examples of this (all of which were secret agendas not declared in party policy) include:

  • The Broadcasting Act 1989 (under Labour) established partial state funding of political party advertising and limits on advertising that make it harder for minor parties to challenge the ruling party (see how it is currently restricting The Family Party here). This is minor however compared to what the current administration has got up to:
  • The abolition of the right of appeal to the Privy Council, the final court of appeal in England. This has been very important for high profile cases such as the David Baine case. Now the final court of appeal is in NZ, where Parliament can influence the appointment of judges. This places Parliament in ultimate control of the judiciary. So with no public debate and without announcing this policy before an election, Labour placed themselves in ultimate control of all three branches of government. This was a major secret agenda.
  • The abolition of Knighthoods. We still have equivalent honours, but the recipients can no longer be called “Sir” or “Dame”. This seems a pointless piece of legislation initially. On closer inspection it can be seen to be part of the general socialist strategy of dragging down high achievers (high earners are taxed heavily for example) to enforce some sort of artificial equality and retain Parliament as the ultimate authority and great provider. It is also another cut to further isolate us from the Monarchy, the executive branch of government, again leaving Parliament in ultimate power.
  • The abolition of smacking. This was not a constitutional change as such. But it was government intruding into our very homes and telling families how to raise their children. Labour seems to see our children as theirs, and parents and teachers the tools through which the state raises children, rather than teachers tools through which the parents raise children. This was a major change which around 80% of the population seemed opposed to. Yet it was passed without a referendum, and the Royal Assent was granted despite this public opposition.
  • The Electoral Finance Act. This Act is a major restriction on free speech, and severely damages our ability to have democratic elections. It was opposed by the public and eminent bodies like the Human Rights Commission. Yet it was passed, and we are dealing with the disastrous effects now.

I am sure you can think of others. These are all very different policies, and individually they may seem minor.

But taken together they all seem to have the same general effect – they institute the state, and specifically Parliament, as the ultimate authority above the other branches of government. They do this by severing ties with the Monarch (the Executive), placing Parliament in control of the judiciary, and making it harder for anyone to oppose Parliament or change its makeup. Parliament has at the same time seized greater control over our lives and families.

We need the three branches of government to be reasonably independent and able to have a stabilising effect on each other. We must remember that Hitler was democratically elected, and the further we allow Parliament, and specifically Labour, to whittle away at these safeguards the more risk we have of a repressive regime being established.

They have not really been pushing us towards being a republic, as a republic would have an effective head of state (executive), while they have been whittling away the authority of the head of state. They have been pushing us towards ultimate control of everything being in the hands of the ruling Party, which is more similar to a communist system than a republic as such. I am not accusing them of communism, that is too strong, but that does seem to be the general direction they are heading.

The Family Party is taking the first steps to counter this. We will look into the possibility of reinstating the Privy Council as the court of final appeal. We cannot promise it of course as it may require the approval of the British parliament too, but we will be looking into whether we can reinstate it. This would remove control of the final section of the Judiciary from the NZ Parliament.

We would reinstate the old s59 of the Crimes Act (allowing smacking again), returning to parents the authority to decide what disciplinary measures are appropriate rather than having government dictate how we are to raise our families. We will trust parents to raise their own children. We would also repeal the Electoral Finance Act, to restore the right to free speech in our democratic process.

I would welcome your thoughts on this very important issue.

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