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First they came for Spongebob

Written By: - Date published: 9:04 am, August 24th, 2009 - 63 comments
Categories: International, Media - Tags:

One of the most powerful conservative Christian fundamentalist groups in America is Focus on the Family. This group has an impressive organisation, income, media presence and influence (summary). They also have an agenda which has been colourfully described as follows:

Focus on the Family A christian organization based in Colorado Springs that was founded by Dr.James Dobson. … Typical of other large christian organizations based in CS (see also: New Life Church) they mouth the words of peace while teaching hate and intolerance. Dr. Dobson has been featured on various national news programs usually spreading his narrow minded views on (pick one or more) homosexuality, atheism, how satan is real, drug use, pre-marital sex, how the republicans are truly the blessed of god, how democrats are spawn of satan, pro-life, how killing abortion doctors is ok etc. etc. Focus on the family is responsible for pumping millions into republican coffers, doing slander ads against their opponents, all as a “non-profit” company …

Focus on the Family is the “Godzilla of the religious right”. They were trend setters in the practice of comparing Obama to the Nazis. They are serious people with a serious mission. They want to save the world from evil. Evil like SpongeBob SquarePants who (apparently) is going to turn our children gay. Yes, really.

That’s America right – why should we care? Well, because Focus on the Family are spreading the love, all the way across the Pacific, funding the New Zealand branch of Focus on the Family — to the tune of a million dollars over the last six years. Our branch of Focus was of course one of the main groups behind the Vote No campaign (in the “smacking” referendum), as The Herald reports:

A group behind the “Vote No” bloc in the smacking referendum received around $1m over six years from a conservative American religious group. That US organisation advocates a return to “Biblical values” and its founder says “a little bit of pain goes a long way” for children.

Focus are known to lie and distort research, presumably it was child’s play for them to frame our stupid leading referendum question (compare for example with results that asked a non leading question about s59 repeal). Why (as Tom asks) has this information the only come to light now that voting is finished? And big picture, what are we to make of American political groups buying influence in New Zealand? Looking at American politics now, is that the direction that we want to be headed?
— r0b

63 comments on “First they came for Spongebob”

  1. Tigger 1

    I love how they describe right upfront that their CEO Tim as coming from a ‘large’ family since he is one of five children – clearly family size is something very meaningful to them – argubly it’s the most important thing given how it’s placed so strategically here.

    I am one of nine children so I guess in terms of this group I’ve got even more family cred than their CEO. Suck on that, Timmy.

    P.S. I’m gay, am vehemently pro-choice and would vote Democrat if I lived in the US. But Timmy, I’m still more ‘family’ than you!

  2. Good post Rob. They should give you a position on the Standard.

    Makes one wish for the good old days of the Electoral Finance Act. Without the EFA groups like Focus on the Family will have a major and detrimental effect on the next election.

    • Swampy 2.1

      Rubbish, they are allowed as much of a view as your favourite left wing causes

      • BLiP 2.1.1

        If only that were so – because they now have access to millions via the US “parent” they won’t have any way near as much of a say in the process – they will have far, far more of a say because the richer you are the more media you can buy. Geddit?

  3. Rob A 3

    I voted yes in the referendum but I have to say that this excuse that NZers are somehow too stupid to know what the question was or were mislead by it smeels more than a little like sour grapes. Face it, the vast majority of kiwis who cared enough to vote voted no, we lost, lets get over it

    • r0b 3.1

      Rob A – passing by in haste – please read the linked article near the end of the original post “non leading question” and ponder the implications.

      • Rob A 3.1.1

        rOb, I only frisked that link first time and missed the last few paragraphs completly and found it very interesting. Sorry for my laziness.

        That said I still find it hard to change my opinion, with all the debate over the last few years I have little doubt that 99% of those who voted knew exactly what they were voting for.

        As Redlogix has pointed out, the government and society do intrude upon our homes on what is right or wrong in the raising of our children, why this has become the issue it has escapes me. But then as Grumpy as said children are still being murdered with a sadening regularity in NZ and it makes no difference how few or many laws are passed on this figure. What we really need IMO is a good look at whats going on in too many kiwi homes and why.

        • Ron 3.1.1.1

          Do you really think they were voting to side with the Christian right, Rob? Because that’s what they did. When I approached No voters with the issue of Focus on the Family they were more than a little annoyed they didn’t know the connection.
          Do you really think that they knew whether the law is criminalising parents? Because the NO campaign spent a lot of time telling us that they were going to release the list of parents who had been criminalised…and the No voters I spend time with all still think that there are actually parents who have been arrested for spanking.
          Do you think they actually knew what the police figures for interventions in parent/child incidences were? Because again not one of the No voters I talked to even knew there were such figures. Almost all of them paused and talked when I pointed to the ACTUAL wording of the law and the ACTUAL statistics related to it.
          I think a huge number of people vote on issues based on what they THINK they know. I suggest that a good proportion of the No voters didn’t actually understand the issues around this debate and all they heard was “parents are being criminalised – we must stop this”.
          Yes a good proportion of them think that hitting their kids is ok – but THAT was NOT the question.
          Key’s move to “allay parents’ fears” says it all, really. No voters perceive a threat where no threat exists – unless they do what the poster boy for the No campaign did – punch their kids in the head.

  4. bobbity 4

    “That’s America right why should we care?”

    Most don’t – except for those trying to run the meme that the NZ public was duped into overwhelmingly voting No.

    Get over it and move on.

  5. outofbed 5

    If you hit sponge bob with a wooden spoon it wouldn’t hurt..
    That’s the problem… no wonder Bob he is gay!

    • Tigger 5.1

      SpongeBob isn’t gay. He has no sexuality per se – his creator has made that clear.

      The religious right want to sexualise this character – I know it’s ludricous to say that, but they do. Why Because he is exuberant and secular and popular and doesn’t conform to the typical strong and silent male stereotypes that they hold dear. So they want to call him gay in order to marginalise him.

      They did the same with Tinky Winky, the Teletubby who happened to have a handbag and was male. Again, it’s not ‘on’ for boys to want to hold a handbag according to their rules so of course TW HAD to be gay.

  6. RedLogix 6

    I have to say that this excuse that NZers are somehow too stupid to know what the question was or were mislead by it

    It was a vile misleading question. That it was ever allowed to be put forward has discredited the CIR process completely, and it’s little wonder that 44% of the electorate couldn’t bring themselves to touch it with a barge pole.

    We always knew that the vast majority of New Zealanders never wanted an ordinary, trivial ‘smack’ on the bottom to be criminally prosecuted. That was exactly the intention outined in the legislation when the S59 repeal was enacted.

    All we got was a result confirming exactly what we already had. Dumb.

    As a result of this stupid referendum Parliament is now going to be forced to try and define ‘acceptable force’ for the purposes of correcting children. That’s going to be about as savoury as the old English law that permitted the beating of your wife with a stick no thicker than your little finger.

    And we are all fooling ourselves if anyone thinks this debate is over.

    • Swampy 6.1

      The CIR process has been discredited by the failure of any government to heed even a referendum on a major issue.

      You are making up excuses about why only 56% voted. Do you also have excuses as to why even less voted in the Mt Albert by election.

      “And we are all fooling ourselves if anyone thinks this debate is over.”

      You really want it to be over, you people don’t like the idea that your party ideology is being shown up for what it is, the challenge to your beliefs that core ideology is an unconditional bottom line that is not subject to any kind of scrutiny or democratic process.

      • BLiP 6.1.1

        You’ve got it the wrong way around – it is the “No People” who won’t have their ideology challenged – they are the ones that are wetting their pants about the issue. Even Shonkey is “comfortable” with the law as it is. Get over it, diddums.

  7. outofbed 7

    should have been “no wonder spongeBob is gay!”

  8. grumpy 8

    I find it hard to distinguish the loony religous right wing dingbats of America from the loony gay/greenie left wing of NZ. Contributors like Redlogix and Tigger show as much certaintly in their own infallability as all those loony god botherers in the US trying to tell people how to live their lives.

    • RedLogix 8.1

      trying to tell people how to live their lives.

      It’s a total myth that people are free to ‘live their lives’ however they want. In real life we all accept a myriad of social conventions, rules, regulations and laws that dictate a great deal about our lives.

      Parents are required by law to feed, clothe and house their children safely. They have to send them to school, to take them to the doctor or hospital if they need it. Kids under 14 have to be supervised at all times, fences have to be built around pools, they have to wear correct seat belts in a car, they should be protected from second-hand smoke, they are not allowed to drink alcohol, or take drugs, you have to protect them from any contact with adult sexuality… and so on. The wider community ALREADY dictates a great deal about how parents bring up their children.

      It is now well-known that hitting children (and that can range anywhere from the now proverbial ‘loving smack’, to sustained abuse) harms a developing child’s brain, in ways that are as every bit as damaging as all the other things we are required to protect them from. So the excuse that I am interfering in the way you choose to live your life does not wash.

      So yes I am certian that I am right, and I’m not apologising for it, and I don’t care if you don’t like the message.

      • bobbity 8.1.1

        “It is now well-known that hitting children (and that can range anywhere from the now proverbial ‘loving smack’, to sustained abuse) harms a developing child’s brain, in ways that are as every bit as damaging as all the other things we are required to protect them from.”

        It is well known that all members of NZ political parties were given a smack on the bum when misbehaving as children – this is irrefutable proof that smacking does indeed harm the developing child’s brain.

      • Swampy 8.1.2

        Where is any such thing “well known”? In New Zealand? In Fergusson’s well known and creditable longitudinal study, no such thing or anything like it is “well known”.

        You can believe as you wish, but you have reached a dangerous point in New Zealand where an ideology must be considered unchallengeable and unaccountable.

        • BLiP 8.1.2.1

          Its all over You Tube, Swampy, or is that not well known enough for you. But, yeah, it is disgusting how the “No People” won’t have their ideology challenged. Disgusting and dangerous, as you say.

  9. Ianmac 9

    Note that “Focus on the Family” came to light in the Herald on Sunday as 16th on the contents page and today I can find no sign of the report at all. I think that the backing of any political group should be transparent especially when as manipulative as this.

    • RedLogix 10.1

      Interesting article Gooner, and one that I missed reading at the time, but I fail to see where you get ‘pathetic’ from?

      Where for instance were the large one page ads in the Herald from the ‘mainstream’ Churches supporting a ‘Yes’ vote? None that I saw. I can’t speak for any other Church other than the one I attend, but there were no thundering sermons either.

      What I did get was an invite about 18 months ago, to a Saturday morning “Men’s Breakfast” event where a speaker from a fundamentalist group spoke at length abou the Divine right, indeed duty, of parents to “beat the fear of God” into their children. I kid you not. I fairly struggled to avoid spewing the baked beans and hash browns…. but not a word of protest from the several hundred white middle class men present. There was no doubt in my mind that the Christain churches were used as a trojan horse network to raise a lot of funds and lot of legwork to get the result these arseholes wanted.

      I’ve never been back and I’m still pretty pissed off by it.

    • r0b 10.2

      This is not a post about Christianity Gooner, please don’t make any assumptions about my beliefs in that respect. It’s a post about a very specific kind of political “christianity” that is very powerful in America. You are correct that traditional churches in NZ came out for the Yes vote, and this is also noted in The Herald piece linked in the original post.

      Sorry – got to go…

      • Swampy 10.2.1

        The so called “leaders” (in most cases just figurehead people with no power over membership) made statements based on their own views.

        This kind of Christianity is powerful in America for the simple reason that religious faith has a lot more relevance to everyday life there. For example just about every US president for decades, maybe just about all of them, has claimed an adherence of some sort to religious faith.

        There was no “trojan horse”, people have made up their own minds on the issue.

    • Swampy 10.3

      It’s an interesting point you raise there Gooner (although I am sure not the one you meant to say). The leaders of mainstream churches can say what they like. but the fact is that with the possible exception of the Catholics, what the leaders say is irrelevant to what their members choose to believe and how they vote.

      The Catholic church is probably the only one of those mentioned that has any chance of controlling what is spoken from the pulpit, in many of those so called “mainstream” churches the leadership would have expressed views completely at odds with what is quoted in the newspaper.

  10. Clarke 11

    My four year old knows that it’s wrong to hit people. It’s a pity that James Dobson isn’t as smart as a four year old.

  11. Just to provide a bit of balance, would you be able to post some background information on the “source” for the backgounder on Focus on the Family? The language used suggests that it might just be someone with a vested interest to discredit FOTF. Balance is good eh 😉

    • grumpy 12.1

      Ah! You mean the “old Tapu Misa” trick of inventing a scenario so that you can comment on it?

      The Loony Left telling us how to raise our kids and the Loony Religious Right do the same. Why can’t they just stick to their own kids and not interfere with other families?? Oh – thats right. most of them are “gay” and don’t have any.

    • lprent 12.2

      Ummm I2 – can’t you read? There seem to be links galore in the post, in particular the NZ Herald article referring to the NZ connection with this particular group of sanctimonious pious wankers (we only jerk-off in accordance with gods law) who wish to impose their own version of a Daddy state. Go and read that for the source.

  12. RedLogix 13

    Why can’t they just stick to their own kids and not interfere with other families??

    You are perfectly free to ‘raise your children’ however you like. By all means teach them how to behave, set them an example of good manners and decency, educate them, feed and clothe them well, expand their minds, play with them and have fun, set them on a path of their own through life…. but if you are harming your children, I’m going to interfere.

    • bobbity 13.1

      Interfere where it’s warranted – or are you of the Bradford camp that a smack on the bum is child abuse ?

      • Stacktwo 13.1.1

        That’s not what the Bradford camp are saying, Bobbity, that’s what McCroskie et al have told you the Bradford camp are saying. Sue Bradford has spoken today accepting the Cabinet’s rather mild intention to continue monitoring the status quo.

        • Swampy 13.1.1.1

          No, we know what the Bradford camp are saying – that any kind of force against a child is wrong, because the United Nations decreed that it was. The United Nations set up a convention on the Rights of the Child that decreed that all physical force against a child for correction is bad. New Zealand then signed this convention without asking the people of the land whether they agreed with it or not, and because the United Nations is always right and the sole authority of moral virtue in the world today, Sue Bradford and her fellow travellers on the political left set out to make sure that the UN convention would be implemented in New Zealand at all costs.

          Now, this kind of thing, which is ideology, is made out to be so sacrosanct, so much an article of faith for the Left, that it overrides all democratic principles in countries in which it must be implemented.

          So while we have got a contradiction of the views on the Auckland supercity, where democracy is being supposedly undermined, and on this view, where it is undermined but the left says democracy shouldn’t apply, we have also got the same contradiction when people trot out the bogeyman of supposed American influence or funding, while ignoring that a foreign power, the United Nations, is behind this campaign to change the child discipline laws.

    • grumpy 13.2

      I think we all agree with that RedLogix, but it’s the definition of “harm” that causes the problem.

      To the God Botherers it’s not raising them as good little nutjobs and to the Loony Left it’s not raising them to be gay street tagging little tree huggers.

    • grumpy 13.3

      You would have more credibility if we could see evidence of you “interfering” in the cases of all those poor little kids (mainly brown) getting bashed to death weekly by their so-called families.

    • RedLogix 13.4

      but it’s the definition of “harm’ that causes the problem.

      Ok so now we have gotten to the actual issue. There is plenty of good evidence that even normal spanking or smacking is not only ineffective, it is probably counterproductive. Try here for a start. There is a LOT of other resource about.

      Once upon a time we thought plonking children on the back seat of the car and trusting to gravity was ok. Turns out is was not. Nowadays we buckle them into the appropriate seats, but it took a law change to do it.

      Once upon a time we thought sending children into coal mines was ok… a law change fixed that.

      Once upon a time incest and child/adult sexual contact was pretty commonplace, modern laws have clarified that none of it is ok.

      Once upon a time no-one thought twice about smoking in the car with a child; not so cool anymore.

      What the hell is SO hard about all of this? Why is it that so many people are wedded to the idea that they HAVE to hit their children in order to get them to behave, when all the evidence is that it does not work and that there are MUCH better alternatives available.

      If one tiny fraction of all the energy and effort that had gone into asserting that parents have the legal right to hit their children in the name of ‘good parenting’… had gone into actually promoting genuine, non-violent good parenting in the wider community… there would be a whole lot more credibility on the “No” side of the debate as well.

      • bobbity 13.4.1

        Can you please stop with the Strawmen or we’ll have no more feed for the farm animals.

        If one tiny fraction of all the energy and effort that had gone into demonising parents who upon occasion have to resort to a smack on the bum for their kids had gone into actually preventing the real causes and perpetrators of child abuse there would be a whole lot more credibility on the “Yes’ side of the debate as well.

        See two can play that game.

        For a more eloquent riposte see below.

        http://www.macdoctor.co.nz/2009/08/21/inconclusive/

      • Ruth 13.4.2

        If one tiny fraction of all the energy and effort that had gone into asserting that parents have the legal right to hit their children in the name of ‘good parenting’ had gone into actually promoting genuine, non-violent good parenting in the wider community there would be a whole lot more credibility on the “No’ side of the debate as well.

        Bravo!

        The No side has no credibility in the freedom/no govt intervention stakes either. They are the first group to go crying to govt to ban/criminalise things they don’t like eg prostitution.

        • Swampy 13.4.2.1

          Prostitution is a very strange cause for a government to want to promote as a public good in any country. It was criminalised for the same reason that sales of alcohol to minors is criminalised. It was Tim Barnett’s private hobby horse the same way as the Section 59 law is Sue Bradford’s. Labour took up both causes as part of their sacrosanct ideology, not to be challenged at any cost.

          • BLiP 13.4.2.1.1

            The public good, in this case, was providing the same legal protection that any other worker is automatically entitled to. Perhaps when men can control their sexual desires there will no longer be a market for prostitutes.

      • RedLogix 13.4.3

        If one tiny fraction of all the energy and effort that had gone into demonising parents who upon occasion have to resort to a smack on the bum for their kids had gone into actually preventing the real causes and perpetrators of child abuse there would be a whole lot more credibility on the “Yes’ side of the debate as well.

        False equivalence. There is, however much you want to minimise it, a clear progression of behaviour from ‘the odd smack on the bum’ to real abuse. The spectrum of abuse can start with something trivial, but from smacking to a beating, and all in between, is essentially the hitting of a child.

        Most parents won’t go all the way to real abuse, but some will. Many of us will do 52k in a 50k zone with little thought that it is wrong, or expectation that we will be criminalised, but the law still exists for a purpose.

        By contrast, NOT hitting children is NEVER physical violence.

        • bobbity 13.4.3.1

          “There is, however much you want to minimise it, a clear progression of behaviour from ‘the odd smack on the bum’ to real abuse. ”

          Effectively you are arguing that all parents are incapable of raising children without resorting to beating the crap out of them – this is a complete and utter falsehood, in much the same way as arguing that all children will respond to the same methods of “coercion” – I have three and they’re all quite different.

          I don’t know about you but I tend to agree with these comments.

          “Most parents know this difference. They know that a smack is a last resort. It is part of parental control while you can reason with a teenager, or ban a 10-year-old from the Playstation, often you cannot reason with a toddler if they are about to touch an open flame or run on to a busy street, a logical discussion of the issue is not the way to go. A quick smack of the wrist or backside may be just the thing needed to prevent harm, danger, or in other cases, disrespect and rebellion. Of course the great majority of parents know all this.

          Child abuse is always wrong. And it is worth looking at the evidence of what bans on smacking actually achieve.Invariably when the anti-smackers come out with their agenda, the nation of Sweden is brought up. This is because Sweden was the first nation to ban smacking, back in 1979. Part of the reason for the ban was that it was hoped that it would reduce child abuse. OK, so what does the evidence tell us? What can we learn from the Swedish experiment? In 1996 an important study into child abuse in Sweden was published. It found, among other things, that Swedish data indicated a 489% increase in child abuse statistics from 1981 through 1994, as well as a 672% increase in assaults by minors against minors.

          The study concluded with these words: “We need better research to understand the complexities involved in parental discipline, including its relationship to child abuse. We need to discriminate effective from counterproductive forms of discipline responses, including the role of different forms of corporal punishment in increasing or decreasing the risk of child abuse. We also need better evaluations of policies designed to change parental discipline, given that the effects of the Swedish anti-spanking law seem to have had exactly the opposite effect of its intention, at least in the short term.”

          A 2005 study came to similar conclusions. It finished with these words: “there is no objective evidence that the overall situation has improved for children in countries that have adopted smacking bans”.

          The truth is, most parents love their children and do right by their children. They are not violent nor abusive, and they know that smacks have a place in parental control and discipline.The next time the Government wants to spend our tax dollars on programs to deter child abuse, they should do so more wisely. For example, they should be targeting the at-risk groups. The evidence is quite clear, for example, that child abuse is much more likely to take place in broken homes, and in non-biological two-parent family homes. Thus step-parents, live-ins, de facto’s and boyfriends, for example, are much more likely to commit child abuse than a biological mother or father. Substance abuse – be it alcohol or illicit drug use – is also a leading factor in child abuse. If we want to get serious about child abuse, we should be targeting those situations which are most likely to produce abuse, instead of seeking to make the majority of parents feel guilty for using smacking as part of parental control and discipline.If we criminalise smacking, we will simply manage to turn millions of parents into criminals over night. ”

          And these comments in the Herald.

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/child-abuse/news/article.cfm?c_id=146&objectid=10587529

          You’re welcome to your view but you need to accept that those with an opposite view are not child beaters and hate child abuse just as much as you do – sadly the real abusers don’t give a crap about referenda or indeed whether they are allowed or disallowed to smack.

          • Draco T Bastard 13.4.3.1.1

            It found, among other things, that Swedish data indicated a 489% increase in child abuse statistics from 1981 through 1994, as well as a 672% increase in assaults by minors against minors.

            I was going to ask for a link but you’re just spouting BS again. From here:

            The claim that child abuse has increased in Sweden is primarily based on misinterpretation of assault report statistics. It is the case that reporting of child physical assault has increased in Sweden since the 1970s as it has in every nation that has raised awareness of the issue of child abuse. Reporting rates are by no means equivalent to rates of actual abuse. They are sharp reflections of/strongly tied to shifts in public awareness.

            For example, in the early 1960s, it was estimated that about 300 children were being maltreated in the U.S. By 1990, the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect had officially recorded 2.4 million reported cases. By 1993, they had recorded almost 3 million cases. It is highly unlikely that actual child maltreatment increased by a factor of 10,000 in that period. It is also highly unlikely that only 300 children were maltreated in the U.S. in the early 1960s.

          • RedLogix 13.4.3.1.2

            Effectively you are arguing that all parents are incapable of raising children without resorting to beating the crap out of them

            No I am not. You are just putting words into my mouth. I’ve never suggested, nor do I recall ANYONE suggesting, (but I may be wrong), that parents should be prosecuted for the ordinary, commonplace kind of smack on the bottom. We have always said that the normal way to deal with this kind of thing is exactly the same as how the police deal with most trivial and inconsequential offenses, and that it to simply use their discretion to ignore them.

            What I am saying however is that violence is a continuum, from the trivial and transitory smack, all the way to the horrors you link to. The point is that I’ve never seen anyone honestly tell me at exactly WHAT point along that continuum does the acceptable smack become the unacceptable beating.

            Nor is it sensible to say that we have a problem with SOME parents using dreadful violence, while at the same time refusing to accept that ALL parents have a responsibility to stop hitting their children.

            • bobbity 13.4.3.1.2.1

              “You are just putting words into my mouth. I’ve never suggested, nor do I recall ANYONE suggesting, (but I may be wrong), that parents should be prosecuted for the ordinary, commonplace kind of smack on the bottom. We have always said that the normal way to deal with this kind of thing is exactly the same as how the police deal with most trivial and inconsequential offenses, and that it to simply use their discretion to ignore them.”

              Ummmmmmm so why did you say

              “You are perfectly free to ‘raise your children’ however you like. By all means teach them how to behave, set them an example of good manners and decency, educate them, feed and clothe them well, expand their minds, play with them and have fun, set them on a path of their own through life . but if you are harming your children, I’m going to interfere.”

              ‘It is now well-known that hitting children (and that can range anywhere from the now proverbial ‘loving smack’, to sustained abuse) harms a developing child’s brain, in ways that are as every bit as damaging as all the other things we are required to protect them from. So the excuse that I am interfering in the way you choose to live your life does not wash.

              So yes I am certain that I am right, and I’m not apologising for it, and I don’t care if you don’t like the message.”

              Anyways this discussion is going nowhere lets agree that we both hate child abuse and despise the abusers and that we choose to disagree on the ways to halt it in NZ.

              DTB – I’ll quite happily accept that much of the increase in reporting is due to increased awareness both in the USA and Sweden, that being the case there is also no evidence to suggest that the very low rate of child abuse in Sweden has become any lower.

        • Kevin Welsh 13.4.3.2

          RL you are absolutely right.

          I would bet anything that the first “good parental correction” that the likes of James Whakaruru, Lillybing, Nia Glassie et al received, was “a light smack on the bum”.

          And NO, for you wingnuts out there, this does not mean I am lumping all parents in together on this.

  13. Mach1 14

    Word of the day IV2, Reification

    Reification (also known as hypostatisation, concretism, or the fallacy of misplaced concreteness) is a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a concrete, real event, or physical entity.

  14. oscar 15

    We have got rid of most other forms of corporal punishment in our society so why do so many want to use it on their own children?

    So is it because they want to be dragged back into the middle ages or can’t be bothered to take the time to find a non violent way to bring up their children. Are so insecure that they need to dominate those that are weakest.

    The results of the referendum would be less distasteful if the information and the question itself was more honest in its intention. The main Stream Media did not do a very good job of giving a balanced view.

    • Draco T Bastard 15.1

      The MSM didn’t do what it should have done in regards to the question. Hired a linguist and had it ripped to shreds and then put it on prime time TV and the front page of every newspaper.

    • Swampy 15.2

      We have got rid of corporal punishment in schools because the United Nations, the oracle of all wisdom in the world, said so. Let us not forget, this whole campaign against smacking children comes about because the United Nations wants New Zealand to ban it.

      There has now been a huge increase in physical violence against staff and other pupils from pupils in schools, because the school lacks means to physically restrain children from the use of force against other children.

  15. Focus on the family doesn’t represent the right in the states, they are a very loud and vocal group who are on the extreme, if anyone believes that your average Conservative person in the USA or here in New Zealand wants Spongebob banned, then you are out of your living tree.

    • RedLogix 16.1

      Yeah, so how do you feel about the amount of money they’ve sent to NZ then?

      Extremists don’t go round backing larger more moderate groups with large amounts of money. They back people of like mind.

      Non-Christians take one look at outfits like Dobson’s crew of nutjobs and are either cynically dismissive of the sheer stupidity of these people, and/or appalled at the vile underlying evil of their real agenda.

      Me, I’m just embarrassed for the insanity preached in the name of the loving God I’ve always had respect for. It’s nothing new, it’s happened before and will keep on happening in the future; but it doesn’t make me any less pissed off about it.

      • Swampy 16.1.1

        So money was sent by FOTF to New Zealand. Big deal, there is plenty of money flowing into NZ to support every group under the sun.

        If you wanted to, you could quote the Wikipedia article on FOTF, except that it doesn’t support the claims you published in your original post at the top of this thread. I have never heard of urbandictionary, but everyone has heard of Wikipedia, and its processes are well known. What do we know about UD, does it have any kind of credibilility or processes of same?

  16. Irascible 17

    The US interference in NZ politics goes back some way…. remember the Hanna Barbera (Republican) funding of the NAT campaign in the 1975 election campaign. This will not be the first time the right wing conservatives on the US interfere in the South Pacific.

  17. Swampy 18

    If you’re on the losing end of an argument, you can always trot out some sort of bogeyman like Americans, or Fundamentalists, or anyone else you can think of.

    The Left like to make out they champion the cause of minorities – except of course when those minorities are moral, or religious, or American.

    “Why has this information the only come to light now that voting is finished?” Simple – it’s irrelevant, a pathetic smear from the people who know they have lost the moral argument over the referendum and now are resorting to a whole range of dirt digging, most of which is not going to change people’s views.

    It is, I think, reprehensible of you to quote, as if it was fact, an uncorroborated opinion from the urbandictionary site, this does nothing at all for your credibility, neither does the fact that you have selectively quoted only the part of that particular page that is the most extremist and inflammatory views against the organisation concerned.

    • BLiP 18.1

      C’mon, mate – face it – Focus on the Family is largely made up of dads who want to spank their daughters: how moral is that?

      • Swampy 18.1.1

        Is that a crude sexual smear? Is it like the Craig Young sexual innuendos against Christians that he has endlessly published on Gaynz and the like?

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    1 day ago
  • More cancer medicines for more people
    Five new cancer medicines have now been funded this year, meaning thousands of people have more treatment options PHARMAC has today announced that it has approved two new medicines for funding – fulvestrant for breast cancer and olaparib for ovarian cancer. This follows earlier decisions on advanced lung cancer treatment alectinib, ...
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    1 day ago
  • Government acts to sort out electoral ‘coin toss’ problem
    The Minister of Local Government, Hon Nanaia Mahuta says the Government will consider making changes to local electoral legislation before the 2022 elections to fix the problems that have arisen where elections are settled by a coin toss.  The Minister says the recount process in the Murupara- Galatea ward at ...
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    1 day ago
  • NZ to Join IMO Convention to Reduce Ship Emissions
    New Zealand will sign up to new international maritime regulations to reduce ship emissions and lift air quality around ports and harbours, Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced today. Subject to completion of the Parliamentary treaty examination process, New Zealand will sign up to Annex VI of MARPOL, an ...
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    2 days ago
  • Bill to empower urban development projects
    New legislation to transform our urban areas and create sustainable, inclusive and thriving communities will tomorrow be introduced to Parliament, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said. “The Urban Development Bill gives Kāinga Ora-Homes and Communities the tools it needs to partner with councils, communities, mana whenua and private developers to ...
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    2 days ago
  • Early Learning Action Plan to kickstart long term change
    Today’s launch of He taonga te Tamaiti: Every child a taonga: The Early Learning Action Plan 2019-2029 provides the foundation for long-lasting changes to early learning, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.   “Early learning will be one of the Government’s top education priorities going into 2020,” Chris Hipkins said.   ...
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    2 days ago
  • Climate change lens on major Government decisions
    Major decisions made by the Government will now be considered under a climate change lens, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. “Cabinet routinely considers the effects of its decisions on human rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, rural communities, the disability community, and gender – now climate change will ...
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    2 days ago
  • New Tertiary Education Commission Board announced
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced the appointment of Māori education specialist Dr Wayne Ngata and Business NZ head Kirk Hope to the Board of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). Dr Alastair MacCormick has been reappointed for another term. “Wayne Ngata, Kirk Hope and Alastair MacCormick bring a great deal ...
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    2 days ago
  • Next phase of Pike River recovery underway in time for Christmas
    The next phase of the Pike River Re-entry project is underway, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little says. “Fresh air will be pumped into the Pike River Mine drift this week, following acceptance of the plan for re-entry beyond the 170m barrier by New Zealand’s independent health and ...
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    2 days ago
  • Insurance contracts to become easier to understand and fairer for consumers
    New Zealand consumers will have greater certainty about their insurance cover when they need to make claims as a result of proposed government changes. “Insurance is vitally important in supporting consumers and businesses to be financially resilient when unexpected events happen,” Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi said. ...
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    2 days ago
  • A new opportunity for Ngāpuhi collective and regional negotiations
    The Crown is providing an opportunity for the hapu of Ngāpuhi to rebuild its framework from the ground up for collective negotiations to deal with its historical Treaty claims, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little and Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The Crown is also ...
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    3 days ago
  • Referendums Framework Bill passes third reading
    A Bill enabling referendums to be held with the 2020 General Election has passed its third reading. Justice Minister Andrew Little says the Act is important for upholding the integrity of New Zealand’s electoral process. “The Government has committed to holding a referendum on legalising recreational cannabis at the next ...
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    3 days ago
  • Referendums website and initial cannabis Bill launched
    The first release of public information on the two referendums to be held at next year’s General Election was made today with an informative new Government website going live. Additionally, the draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill has been released, showing the strict controls on cannabis that will apply if ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government to ban foreign donations
    The Government is taking action to protect New Zealand from foreign interference in our elections by banning foreign donations to political parties and candidates, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. Legislation will be introduced to Parliament this afternoon and passed under urgency. “There’s no need for anyone other than New ...
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    3 days ago
  • Governments and tech converge to strengthen joint response to online terror events
    Governments and tech companies are holding a two-day workshop, hosted by YouTube/Google in Wellington, to test the Christchurch Call Shared Crisis Response Protocol. The workshop aims to refine and strengthen the response in the event of a terrorist attack with online implications. Companies, governments, civil society experts and NGOs will ...
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    3 days ago
  • Cancer Control Agency to drive improved care
    The new independent Cancer Control Agency has formally opened today, delivering on the Government’s plan to improve cancer care in New Zealand.         Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Health David Clark marked the occasion by announcing the membership of the Advisory Council that will be supporting ...
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    3 days ago
  • Supporting small business to prosper
    Small businesses who deal with government departments are set to be paid faster and have improved cash flow as a result, under a new strategy released today. The Government is backing recommendations from the Small Business Council (SBC) and has agreed to implement three initiatives immediately to support business and ...
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    4 days ago
  • Bill has biggest education changes in decades
    The Education and Training Bill 2019, introduced in Parliament today, proposes the biggest education changes in decades and is an important step towards improving success for all our learners, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “The Bill’s rewrite of education legislation is long overdue. Indeed one Education Act, parts of which ...
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    4 days ago
  • Bali Democracy Forum to focus on democracy and inclusivity
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to Bali to represent New Zealand at the 12th Bali Democracy Forum that will be held on the 5-6 December. “The Forum is a valuable opportunity for Asia-Pacific countries to share experiences and best practice in building home-grown democracy and fostering ...
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    4 days ago
  • Innovative technology and tools to better manage freedom camping
    A package of new and expanded technology and other tools will encourage responsible camping and help communities and local councils better manage freedom camping this summer, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. “Our Government has been investing to improve the freedom camping experience for everyone because we want to support ...
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    4 days ago
  • Improving wellbeing by understanding our genes
    The government is laying the groundwork to understanding our genes – work that can help us tackle some of our biggest health challenges, like heart disease and diabetes, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. $4.7 million has been invested in the Genomics Aotearoa Rakeiora programme. The programme will ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government investing to future proof school property
    Nearly every state schools will receive a capital injection next year valued at $693 per student to bring forward urgent school property improvements, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.  The one-off cash injection is the first project to be announced from the Government’s infrastructure package ...
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    5 days ago
  • Infrastructure investments to be brought forward
    The Government has decided to bring forward major investments in New Zealand’s infrastructure to future proof the economy. “Cabinet has agreed to a significant boost to infrastructure investment. I have directed the Treasury to help bring together a package of projects that can be brought into the Government’s short and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Future-proofing New Zealand
    It is a great pleasure to be with you today in Whanganui. Like the Prime Minister I grew up with the TV clip of Selwyn Toogood booming “What do you say Whanganui, the money or the bag?” to an unsuspecting ‘It’s in the Bag’ audience. For those under the age ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand’s newest Great Walk, the Paparoa track opened – an asset for the West Coast
    New Zealand’s newest Great Walk, the Paparoa Track, was officially opened in Blackball today by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage alongside the family members of the Pike 29 and Ngāti Waewae.  Local mayors and MP for the West Coast Hon Damien O’Connor were also in attendance. “Paparoa National Park ...
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    6 days ago
  • P-8A Poseidon base works commence
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark turned the first sod of earth on the infrastructure works for the new P-8A Poseidon fleet at RNZAF Base Ohakea today. “The Coalition Government’s investment in Ohakea will ensure the Royal New Zealand Air Force can manage, maintain and task the new fleet efficiently ahead ...
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    7 days ago
  • Launch of the National Emergency Management Agency
    Civil Defence Minister Hon Peeni Henare today announced the establishment of the new National Emergency Management Agency from 1 December 2019.  The National Emergency Management Agency will replace the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management. It will be an autonomous departmental agency, hosted by the Department of the Prime ...
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    1 week ago
  • NASA 2020 Internship applications open
    New Zealand tertiary students with top grades and a passion for space will once again be offered the opportunity to work with the world’s best and brightest at NASA, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Recipients of the New Zealand Space Scholarship are nominated by the Ministry of Business, ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand to send more medical staff and essential supplies to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced further support to Samoa in the wake of an ongoing measles outbreak in the country. Additional medical supplies and personnel, including a third rotation of New Zealand’s emergency medical assistance team (NZMAT), further nurse vaccinators, intensive care (ICU) specialists and Samoan-speaking medical professionals, will ...
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    1 week ago
  • Cost less of a factor for Kiwis seeking GP care
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says new data showing a sharp drop in the number of people who can’t afford to visit their GP is a sign of real progress. One year after the Government made it cheaper for about 600,000 Kiwis to visit their doctor, results of the New ...
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    1 week ago
  • Trade for All Board releases recommendations
    The Trade for All Advisory Board has released its recommendations for making New Zealand’s trade policy deliver for all New Zealanders.  The report was today welcomed by Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker.  “Trade is crucial to this country’s economy and well-being, and the benefits need to flow to all ...
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    1 week ago
  • Porirua housing partnership to improve housing in the city
    A partnership signed today between the Crown and local iwi, Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangātira (Ngāti Toa), will improve the quality of state housing in western Porirua, says the Associate Minister of Housing, Kris Faafoi. Contracts have been signed at a ceremony at Takapūwāhia Marae, in Porirua, between Ngāti Toa, ...
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minster Delivers Erebus Apology
    E aku manukura, tēnā koutou. He kupu whakamahara tēnei i te aituā nui i Te Tiri o Te Moana, i Erebus I runga i tētahi maunga tiketike i riro atu rā tētahi hunga i arohanuitia E murimuri aroha tonu ana ki a rātou.  Kua titia rātou ki te manawa, mō ...
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    1 week ago
  • PGF backing Southland skills
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is supporting an initiative that will help Southlanders into local jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced in Invercargill today. “I’m pleased to be in the great South today to announce PGF support of $1.5 million for Southland Youth Futures. This initiative is all ...
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    1 week ago
  • Ten Southland engineering firms get PGF funding
    Ten engineering firms in Southland are receiving Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment to lift productivity and create new jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said today in Invercargill. Minister Jones announced over $4 million of PGF support for projects in the engineering and manufacturing, and aquaculture sectors and for ...
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    1 week ago
  • Public service gender pay gap continues to close and more women in leadership
    The Government has made good progress towards eliminating the gender pay gap in the Public Service, Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter announced today.  The latest data from the annual Public Service Workforce Data Report, shows that the 2019 Public Service gender pay gap fell to 10.5% from 12.2% in ...
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    1 week ago
  • Safer speed limits for schools
    The Government is delivering on its commitment to make streets safer for kids to walk and cycle to school, by reducing speed limits to a maximum of 40 km/h around urban schools and 60 km/h around rural schools. “Our kids should have the freedom to walk and cycle to school ...
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    1 week ago