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Child beating lobby finished

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, June 16th, 2009 - 54 comments
Categories: child discipline, john key - Tags: ,

Here’s a tip for the child beaters at Family Fist – if you’re going to whip up a storm of fear and misinformation about a piece of legislation you don’t like, don’t peg your hopes on waiting two years for a referendum to get your revenge. That’s just enough time for your entire dishonest campaign to be exposed for what it is.

Everyone knows that the child discipline law is working. Everyone knows that it’s stopped abusive parents from getting away with punching their kid in the face or beating them with a soup ladle. And everyone knows that contrary to Family Fist’s scaremongering, no good parents have been convicted for giving their kids a light smack.

That’s why John Key has announced he has no intention of changing the law regardless of the outcome of the referendum. From today’s Dom:

“I think it’s important that governments listen to the public, but the test I’ve had is that if I don’t think the law is working I will change it,” he said. “To date I have not seen any evidence that it is not working.”

The question being asked in the referendum was ambiguous as it did not directly call for the law to be changed or repealed. The issue was of significant public concern two years ago but had died away, he said.

So that’s that sorted. Sure, Family Fist will still get their referendum. They may even get their desired result from voters confused by their deliberately misleading question. But the dishonest nature of that question means they’ll have no mandate for change. And as a result they’ll have no political support.

Because when it really comes down to it, the child beaters aren’t fooling anyone. Every day they’re being increasingly exposed as the religiously-motivated enablers of child abuse they really are. And once this $9 million farce is over they’ll have no more political relevance than the Kiwi Party.

UPDATE: Toad has a good critique of the referendum question over at G.blog.

54 comments on “Child beating lobby finished ”

  1. toad 1

    Eddie, the referendum question is not only misleading. As I blogged a little earlier this morning, it is also leading and ambiguous.

    I’m astounded that the legislation for CIRs such as this permits such a poorly worded question, but apparently it does.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      I was astounded as well. Anybody putting a modicum of thought to it would be able to determine very rapidly that that question was designed to get a specific response. Unfortunately, it appears that a hell of a lot of people didn’t, or, at the very least, listened to the scaremongering of FF and others.

    • Pascal's bookie 1.2

      Here’s John Boscawen, over at The Hand Mirror, responding on how he would vote;

      In the forthcoming Child Discipline referendum New Zealanders should:
      Vote Yes OR Vote No or Abstain
      Candidate comment: Because I beleive parents should be able to correct their children’s behaviour. I have a private members bill promoting a change.

      http://thehandmirror.blogspot.com/2009/06/mt-albert-by-election-survey-john.html

  2. Murray 2

    And how many kids have died through violence since this law came into effect?.
    Didn’t help them at all

    • Eddie 2.1

      How many people have been murdered and raped since murder and rape became illegal? Laws don’t prevent crimes from happening, they act as a social sanction and a deterrent for those who trangress them.

    • Bill 2.2

      So scrap the laws surrounding murder and rape and assault and ….well, every other act that draws down a punishment?

      Never hurry a Murray! Damp squib synapses slowly drying?

  3. Scribe 3

    Eddie,

    Calling the group “Family Fist” or the “child-beating lobby” does little to advance the debate. Shouldn’t your arguments be able to stand on their own merit without puerile crap like that?

    • Eddie 3.1

      My arguments do stand on their own merit. The child beating lobby is what they are – they want to change the law to enable child beating. Family Fist is just a jibe to add some spice.

      • Inventory2 3.1.1

        Sorry Eddie, but you are an absolute hypocrite. You moderate and ban people who use abusive terms towards organisations you hold dear, but you slander organisations you oppose. Not only that, you justify the use of abusive terminology when challenged.

        You may have made a cogent argument in your post, but you’re preaching to the converted here; those who applaud your double-standards. Then again, it’s your blog, and I guess you can lower the standard of debate as much as you like.

        • IrishBill 3.1.1.1

          If we wanted to lower the standard of debate here we’d give you posting rights. If you don’t like what we write then you should start your own blog and if the market decides it’s better then you’ll take our readership off us. It’s that simple.

          • djp 3.1.1.1.1

            Hey Irish that is a classic dodge of the main point..

            You are free to do as you wish but I think these guys have a good point that one does a disservice to the argument when one uses such loaded terms (esp. if such behavior is hypocritical)

            It is fine if you are just preaching to the converted I guess but you wont influence anyone after you have just insulted them.

            (disclaimer: yes yes I know the standard is not a single entity but I am just making a general point… make of it what you please 🙂

            IrishBill: You’re right, to really influence their behaviour we should smack them.

          • felix 3.1.1.1.2

            I’ve noticed a certain category of passionate objection to this blog which follows along the lines of “oh well if you wanna write shit like that then it’s your funeral, but no-one wants to read it and your readership will go down the toilet if you blah blah blah” etc.

            This particular style of objection seems to come in waves, peaking about once a month or so I reckon. Now seems to be one of those peak times.

            I bet each peak actually coincides with an increase in readership.

        • lprent 3.1.1.2

          Generally not – I think that you are misrepresenting the moderation role. We moderate people attacking people, trolls attacking this site or its authors, trolls spinning repetitive lines, etc.

          What we don’t moderate is opinions that are explained as to their origon rather sounding like a puerile catchline. You’ll probably get disagreement.

    • Anita 3.2

      I tend to call them the anti-anti-smacking lobby they’re not pro-smacking, in that they’re not proselytising for more parents to smack more children more often. They’re just against the lobby who are against smacking.

      Of course saying the anti-anti-smacking lobby makes either me or them sound loopy 🙂

  4. Maggie 4

    Someone needs to point out to the PM that he can’t actually change legislation – only Parliament has the right to do that.

    Do other people get the impression Key is becoming too big for his boots?

    • IrishBill 4.1

      It’s not that he’s too big for his boots, it’s that he is reared on corporate management rather than political governance and thus doesn’t inherently understand public accountability or democratic process.

      • Maggie 4.1.1

        Sounds about right. This government has gone from election to arrogance quicker than a Ferrari gets from 0-60…..

        • Tigger 4.1.1.1

          Key uses the whole ‘I, me, my’ argument far too often. It’s always about what he thinks or his experience or his opinion. For someone who is supposed to be working for the public, he never seems to think about the ‘we’ or ‘our’.

          Ha ha – Family Fist – I will never refer to them as anything else ever again…

    • Rich 4.2

      What he said was shorthand for “I’m not going to whip (!) the National MPs into voting for a change to this legislation”. Which amounts to the same thing, given that Labour and the Greens both oppose child-beating.

      The PM has first call on how his caucus votes – that amounts to being pretty close to able to pass and repeal legislation.

  5. toad 5

    I actually thought “Family Fist” was very clever – from this brilliant Mike Moreu cartoon.

  6. Walter 6

    Should electrocution of the genitals WHEN USED AS PART OF GOOD PARENTAL CORRECTION be a criminal offence in New Zealand?

  7. Greg 7

    “Here’s a tip for the child beaters at Family Fist if you’re going to whip up a storm of fear and misinformation about a piece of legislation”

    Oh the hypocrisy……………

  8. Rex Widerstrom 8

    “I think it’s important that governments listen to the public, but the test I’ve had is that if I don’t think the law is working I will change it,’

    Sheesh, things have certainly changed since I left. I didn’t realise we elected Emperors now. So the House of Representatives is now… what? The House of Little Gods?

    Normally you guys would be all over such a comment, complaining about the obvious hubris and disregard for democracy. But since he happens to agree with your stance on the issue, he’s suddenly all benevolent and wise?

    Part of living in a true democracy is living with the decision of the majority of your fellow citizens even if you don’t like it and don’t agree with it.

    For the record, I think it’s a non-issue. What’s “saving” children from beatings now is a clear indication that the community finds it unacceptable… a message that has finally got through to our judiciary. I think that will continue to be the case regardless of the outcome of the referendum. And I admit that – much to my surprise – the police don’t seem to be using the new law to frivilously prosecute people who’ve annoyed them (why bother, when you can just taser them?!).

    So I’m not really vested in the outcome per se. I just find the stance embodied on this post to reek of hypocrisy.

    • Eddie 8.1

      Yeah, he’s trying to run the country in the dictatorial manner of a corporate CEO. I don’t like that. But I think what he’s trying to say here is that National won’t back any law change unless the law is proven to be not working. As this has not been demonstrated he, meaning National, will not pay be swayed by the outcome of this stupid and misleading referendum. That seems like a pretty reasonable position, even if he does have a reckless disregard for parliamentary process and the basic tenets of representative democracy.

      captcha: “niftiest 29-year-old”. cool.

    • Chris G 8.2

      Well yes he happens to agree with my point of view. But thats hardly accepting that he’s an “emperor” or “little god”

      Lets get real here Rex, the referendum result will likely be a close one and I predict one of pro-smacking. The reason for that is that people wont bother to vote (cite local body elections) except those who get the papers handed out to them during the sunday sermon.

      The people who vote will be the nutters who want the law changed. It’ll hardly be a result exemplifying democracy in action in NZ… Its hardly going to be a “Decision of the majority of your fellow citizens”

      Key knows this.

      • Pascal's bookie 8.2.1

        Yeah, both Key and Goff reckon that the result is most likely to be along the lines of:

        “No. which means yes we should be allowed to smack kids, which is too good parenting, it is, it is, I tells ya, never did me any harm. What are you looking at, aaargh, I am too a majority. Makes me right. Wibble”

        by some percentage, who cares how big.

        Both Key and Goff are highlighting the stupidity and especially the ambiguity of the question, and saying that they won’t bother voting. They are thus sending a message that ‘not voting is ok’.

        Goodness me. Why would they be trying to depress turn out, and say that the question could be intrepreted in many ways?

        Surely they wouldn’t dare say that the result of a referendum is meaningless because not many people voted and the question doesn’t make sense now would they?

        That’s them, doing their political thing. Neither wants to re-litigate this. It won’t be re-litigated in Parliament.

        For me, I’ll still be voting ‘yes’, to depress the ‘no’ percentage.

  9. So Bored 9

    For once Jonkey is right, the law is working, beating my kids is just about impossible. They monstered me at badminton, crushed me at scrabble and beat me to fast abusive quips at other drivers. If Family First were any sort of help to anybody they would be around giving me tips on how to beat the horrors at something, anything.

    PS If FF so much as mention physical punishment of my children as a corrective measure I will request my children practice on them…both lads are 2metres tall.

  10. felix 10

    Although I agree with others here who have remarked on his assumption of omnipotence, I’m still pleased that he managed to come to the only reasonable conclusion regarding the law itself.

  11. Helen 11

    If you’re a law-abiding taxpayer who disciplines an unruly child in a Freeman’s Bay supermarket, you’re going to go to gaol for a long time.

    If you’re a P addicted welfare beneficiary (i.e; core Labour constituent) who murders your twin infants, the Police will take two weeks off rom the investigation to give you time to get your story straight and an army of bureaucrats will be lined up outside your door to throw welfare at you.

    The Bradford Bill was never about protecting children – it was always about finding fault with upstanding citizens.

    Because upstanding citizens don’t vote for Labour and the Greens.

    • felix 11.1

      What happens if you’re a law-abiding beneficiary who disciplines your unruly twin infants in a Freeman’s Bay supermarket?

      Oops, I think I made Helen’s brain implode.

    • Ianmac 11.2

      Helen: It is only a matter of degree. To me starting off with a little smack might be at one end of the continuum and by degrees it moves right through to the other end; a savage beating and death. Why even start at the beginning? I suppose that since you apparently like to hit your kids (with love ??? of course) but be warned that the next too hard slap can become a punch and that becomes a…….

  12. Ianmac 12

    Did you notice that Family Fist and supporters are following the line that spending “$9million on the ref is indeed a waste of money but unfortunately we were forced to go that way because the minority did not heed our warnings in the first place.”

  13. Rich 13

    I’m with Goff and will either not vote or spoil my ballot paper. If the referendum gets a meagre turnout, that’ll be why.

    I think the CIR law should be changed so that a members bill needs to be presented and got to third reading before being confirmed by a referendum – if we must have them at all on non-constitutional matters.

    • Ianmac 13.1

      I thought a spoiled ballot would be the answer but on reflection, the spoiled vote would hardly be noted. If you spoil/not vote, then the % will be open to huge % of No. So now I say vote YES a parent should be a criminal …..
      (With any luck in due course it will be further changed to say “It is illegal to hit kids for any reason.”)

      • Pascal's bookie 13.1.1

        spot on. the whole point of this referendum is political. It’s to get a number to wave around. make that number as small as you can.

        Abstaining only helps the smacky smack fans.

  14. Should a smack as part of good marital correction be illegal in New Zealnd?

  15. Fergie 15

    I plan to not vote at all – can’t see the point in encouraging them – what a waste of $9m – imaging what the Parenting Help groups could do with this money ! One thing I have never understood about this debate is that the same people that advocate hitting as a just form of discipline are often the same parents that are the first to complaim about little Johnny hitting little Richard in the sandpit – do as Isay not as I do – great role modelling for a child – no wonder we have so many confused teenagers !

  16. serpico 16

    At least we will still be gold medalists in child abuse when we lose the rugby world cup again. Smack a brain cell dumb kiwi. Buy a Kahui hammer Sue Bradford.

    • Spectator 16.1

      “we will still be gold medalists in child abuse”

      Speak for yourself. I will take a stand against disgusting child abusers like Mason or “the Timaru lady” by voting “yes”. What will YOU do?

  17. Ron 17

    Important to vote, I think.
    And a “yes” vote will make the point.

  18. toad 18

    serpico said: At least we will still be gold medalists in child abuse when we lose the rugby world cup again.

    You are to some extent right serpico – the rugby mentlity s a lot of what is wrong here. The physical safety of kids needs to be paramount over the aggression of adults who have had their hopes over a sporting event devastated.

    What is wrong with our society that causes a loss in a sporting event to provoke an increase in male violence against children and women?

    And these are guys you and I probably drink in the pub with, and have no idea of what they get up to in their “extra-curricular activities” serpico. It is largely a male problem, that we as men need to deal with.

    Oh, and not by this solution either (although the Jefferson Airplane song is one of the best ever)!

  19. toad 20

    Pat said: Linkwhoring

    Hey, Pat, I acknowledged in my g.blog post that I’d stolen it from the Dim Post comments thread and linked to the Dim Post so people could see everything else that was on that thread.

    So it’s not link-whoring at all – I did everything right as far as blog ettiquette is concerned. It was a comment more clever than anything I had come up with, so I moved it on to a wider audience and gave full credit for its origin.

    Don’t be so precious Pat. I suspect your real problem was with the content, which you disapproved of politically. You agree with hitting children, don’t you?

    • Pat 20.1

      Toad – my linkwhoring reference was directed at me (for linking to Dimpost), not you.

      BTW your last comments are absolute rubbish. People are divided by the issue, but not down political lines.

      And for what its worth the referendum question is absolute bollocks because it is so badly worded there is only one logical answer “No” when most NZers would probably rather put

      “Well, no, but…”

  20. Phil (not Goff) 21

    Interesting links (two) you’ve provided as ‘evidence’ of the success of the current law.

    The first clearly makes the point: Mason would have been charged with or without the [repealed s36] legislation.

    The second includes a quote from the presiding judge: this is an appalling assault on this poor boy… …Imprisonment is inevitable.

    To paraphrase you slightly:
    Everyone knows that, contrary to Eddie’s scaremongering, those bad parents would have been convicted under the old law anyway.

    • Pascal's bookie 21.1

      Charged doesn’t mean convicted Phil, no one knows what a jury would do.

      In any case, it’s a dead letter. The law won’t be changed. Goff and Key both said that the question, (and thus the result), is unintelligble, could mean anything.

  21. jarbury 22

    An excellent article by Brian Rudman in today’s herald on this:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10578843&pnum=0

  22. Ianmac 23

    Hate to say it but Plunkett this morning on radio gave the referendum proponents a real grilling. “Can you name even ONE person who has been criminalised with a smack? No?” Just shows I suppose that he is a good bloke when I agree with him and he’s a prick when I don’t! Funny that.

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  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
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