First they came for Spongebob

Written By: - Date published: 9:04 am, August 24th, 2009 - 66 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

66 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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    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora, good morning, talofa, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, da jia hao, namaste, sat sri akal, assalamu alaikum. Thank you for coming to my first State of the Nation as Prime Minister. Thank you for coming to a speech where I don’t just ...
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    2 days ago
  • West Coast tourism attractions officially open
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will attend the official opening of two highly anticipated tourism projects on the West Coast today – Pike29 Memorial Track, dedicated to the memory of the Pike River miners, and Pounamu Pathway. “The Pike29 Memorial Track is a way to remember and honour the men ...
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    4 days ago
  • Independent ferry service advisory group in place
    Appointments to the Ministerial Advisory Group tasked with providing independent advice and assurance on the future of KiwiRail’s inter-island ferry service have been made, State Owned Enterprises Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “It’s important for New Zealand that KiwiRail is focused on ensuring safe, resilient, and reliable ferry services over the ...
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    5 days ago
  • Joint statement from the Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
    The Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand today issued the following statement on reports of Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah. We are gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah.   A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic. About 1.5 million Palestinians ...
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    5 days ago
  • Govt will deliver on expanded breast screening
    The coalition Government has made the first steps in delivering on its promise to  extend free breast screening to women aged 70-74, Health Minister Shane Reti says. “As part of the 100 day plan, the Government has now met with officials and discussed what is needed in order for the ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government announces woolshed roadshows in support of sheep farmers
    The Government celebrates National Lamb Day (15 February 24) and congratulates sheep farmers on the high-quality products they continue to produce. Agriculture Minister McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament this week to mark the anniversary of the first frozen lamb exports that left ...
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    5 days ago
  • Speech: Address to the NZ Economics Forum
    It’s great to be back at the New Zealand Economics Forum. I would like to acknowledge everyone here today for your expertise and contribution, especially the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Head of the Waikato Management School, economists, students and experts alike. A year has passed since I was last before you, and ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government tackling high construction costs
    The Government is focused on reducing sky-high construction costs to make it more affordable to build a home, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says.  Stats NZ data shows the cost of building a house has increased by 41 per cent since 2019, making housing even more unaffordable for Kiwi ...
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    5 days ago
  • Labour’s Three Waters legislation repealed
    The Coalition Government’s legislative plan to address longstanding issues with local water infrastructure and service delivery took an important step today, with the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing our Local ...
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    6 days ago
  • Cost of living support for beneficiary households
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to ease the cost-of-living by increasing main benefit rates in line with inflation and ensuring the Minimum Family Tax Credit threshold remains aligned with this change, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. The Social Security (Benefits Adjustment) and Income Tax ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government announces agriculture delegations to better support Primary sector
    The coalition Government has announced ministerial delegations to support key areas across the Primary sector to deliver for New Zealand’s food and fibre sector, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced today. “I will be supported in my roles as Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Hunting and Fishing, by three Associate ...
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    1 week ago
  • Waikato MoU reinforces Govt’s commitment to increase NZ doctors
    The Government has taken an important step forward in addressing a critical shortage of New Zealand-trained doctors, with today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a third medical school, Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti has announced.  “Today’s signing by the Ministry of Health and the University of Waikato ...
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    1 week ago
  • Speech – Lunar New Year 2024
    Annyeonghaseyo, greetings and welcome all. It is my pleasure as the Minister for Ethnic Communities to welcome you to the first Lunar New Year Event in Parliament. Thank you to our emcees for greeting us in the different languages that represent the many cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year. ...
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    1 week ago
  • More funding to Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti
    Urgent work to clean-up cyclone-affected regions will continue, thanks to a $63 million boost from the Government for sediment and debris removal in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.                                                                                                   The funding will help local councils continue urgent work removing and disposing of sediment and debris left from Cyclone Gabrielle.   “This additional ...
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    1 week ago
  • Budget will be delivered on 30 May
    Plans to deliver tax relief to hard-working New Zealanders, rebuild business confidence and restore the Crown’s finances to order will be unveiled on 30 May, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says. The plans will be announced in the Budget which is currently being developed by Ministers.  “The last government’s mismanagement of ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government advances Local Water Done Well
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    1 week ago
  • New diplomatic appointments
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    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Committee for Auckland
    It is great to be here today at this event as Minister for Auckland and Minister ofTransport. Let me start by acknowledging each one of you and thanking the Committee forAuckland for hosting this event and inviting me to speak here today. The Committee for Auckland has been a symbol ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Getting Transport Back on Track in Auckland
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has today confirmed his high-level transport priorities for Auckland, in the lead up to releasing the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport. “Our economic growth and productivity are underpinned by a transport network that enables people and freight to move around safely and efficiently. At ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Government to axe Auckland Regional Fuel Tax
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has confirmed that the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax will end on 30 June 2024. “Today, I can confirm that the Government has agreed to remove the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax in line with our coalition commitments, and legislation will be introduced to parliament to repeal the ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Calls for Work to Tackle Kina Barrens
    Changes to fishing rules and a significant science programme are being undertaken to address kina barrens, says Minister for Oceans and Fisheries Shane Jones. “There has been tremendous interest from iwi, communities and recreational fishers who had raised concerns about such kina infestations being a major threat to Northland’s marine ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Government law and order crackdown begins
    The coalition Government is making good on its promise to restore law and order by removing government funding for Section 27 reports and abolishing the previous Labour Government’s prison reduction target, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Corrections Minister Mark Mitchell say.  “In recent years, the development of Section 27 reports ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Greater focus on getting people into work
    The coalition government will refocus employment efforts and the welfare system so that supporting people who can work into jobs is the number one priority, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “Of concern in the labour market statistics released by Stats NZ today was the number of youth not ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • One year on, NZ appeals for release of Phillip Mehrtens
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has appealed to those holding New Zealand pilot Phillip Mehrtens in remote Papua, Indonesia, to release him immediately.  Phillip Mehrtens was taken hostage a year ago on 7 February in Paro, Papua, while providing vital air links and supplies to remote communities. “We strongly urge those holding ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Ministers reaffirm Pacific connections this week
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Health Minister and Minister for Pacific Peoples Dr Shane Reti are reaffirming the importance of New Zealand’s connections to the Pacific by visiting Tonga, Cook Islands and Samoa this week.  “New Zealand enjoys strong and long-standing relationships with our Pacific partners - especially in Polynesia, where we ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Rt Hon Christopher Luxon – Waitangi speech
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, rau rangatira ma. Tēnā koutou katoa. He tino mihi ki te mana whenua o tēnei rohe.  Mihi mai, mihi mai, mihi mai. Te whare e tū nei, tēnā koe.                               He-wāhi whakahirahira tēnei mō Aotearoa. Ka huri nga whakaaro, ki nga mate. ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Government awards primary sector scholarships to students
    Six university students studying agriculture and science have been awarded scholarships as part of the coalition Government’s efforts to boost on-the-ground support for farmers and growers. “The coalition Government is committed to improving support and operating conditions for farmers and growers,” Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says. “We’re backing a range ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996. From 1996 to 1999 he worked as a solicitor in the ...
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    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand provides further humanitarian support to Gaza and the West Bank
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that New Zealand is providing a further $5 million to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank.  “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling,” Mr Peters says.  “That is why New Zealand has contributed $15 ...
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    3 weeks ago
  • Government consults on expanding COVID-19 Inquiry terms of reference
    The Government is delivering on its commitment to enable public input into expanding the scope of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons, says Internal Affairs Minister Brooke van Velden. “As committed to in both the ACT-National and NZ First-National coalition agreements, the public will be given the opportunity ...
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    3 weeks ago
  • Tai Tokerau Water Boost
    A further $5 million loan has been advanced to the Tai Tokerau Water Trust for Te Waihekeora Reservoir, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says.  “Water is a precious resource, Kānoa – Regional Development and Investment Unit at the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment have done amazing work in the ...
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    3 weeks ago
  • Fast track consenting in the fast lane
    The Government is progressing changes to resource management laws as part of its 100 Day Action Plan, with the first steps taken to establish a new fast-track consenting one-stop shop regime. “This new regime, which forms part of National’s coalition agreement with New Zealand First, will improve the speed and ...
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    3 weeks ago
  • JOINT STATEMENT ON AUSTRALIA-NEW ZEALAND MINISTERIAL CONSULTATIONS (ANZMIN) 2024
    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence the Hon Richard Marles MP and Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator the Hon Penny Wong hosted New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Winston Peters MP and Minister of Defence Hon Judith Collins KC MP on 1 February ...
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    3 weeks ago
  • Minimum wage set for cautious increase
    The adult minimum wage rate will increase by 2 per cent to $23.15 an hour from 1 April 2024, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden announced today. “This Government is committed to striking the right balance between protecting the incomes of our lowest paid workers and maintaining labour ...
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    3 weeks ago
  • Increased security improves ED safety over summer
    Increasing the number of security staff in emergency departments (EDs) over the busy Christmas and New Year period improved the safety of both staff and patients, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says. 200 additional security staff (93 FTEs) were provided to 32 EDs in response to concerns raised by ED ...
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    3 weeks ago
  • Step Closer for European Union Free Trade Agreement
    New Zealand has moved closer to ratifying the New Zealand – European Union Free Trade Agreement (FTA), with the First Reading of legislation to bring the Agreement into force being held in Parliament today.   “Almost a decade after preparatory talks first began on an FTA with the European Union, I’m pleased to ...
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    3 weeks ago

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