Rodney Hide is increasingly becoming an embarrassment to the government. The perception that he has created is that he will back to the hilt any cranky right wing idea if he believes that there is political support. And MMP means that minor parties do not need significant support, an incensed small group of extremists will do fine. His and ACT’s climate change beliefs are well known and have more than a hint of dog whistle about them.
He has been reported recently in the Sunday Star Times as warning Key of a ‘public backlash’ if the predicted referendum results are ignored.
In a letter to Key, Hide says that the number of parents who had been unfairly treated under the new law shocked him. He claims that the law change had driven a wedge between parent and child.
No statistics or examples are quoted. In a positive development for this Government rights of privacy are respected. But I get this feeling that he is making it all up.
The Police have provided regular reports concerning the operation of the section 59 reforms. The reports are very helpful and contain hard data but unfortunately appear to have been ignored by the mainstream media.
The latest one was published a month ago. The conclusion is succinct:
‘Findings of the 4th review are in line with previous reviews and show that there has been minimal impact on police activity since enactment.’
During the relevant period police attended 279 child assault events, 39 involving ‘minor acts of physical discipline” and 8 involving smacking. No prosecutions were made for ‘smacking’ events during the period. Police prosecuted 4 of the “minor acts of physical discipline” events. One resulted in a discharge without conviction and the other three cases were at the time of writing the report yet to be heard.
Without breaching rights of privacy Hide should provide more details (surely if there are good parents being criminalised, one will be willing to have their case publicised) so that a proper debate can be had on what effect the law reform is having. But I suspect that a proper debate is the last thing that he wants. It is better for him to appear to be a champion for the small and serious misguided part of society that believes in a conspiracy than for him to actually talk about what is really happening.
– Mickey Savage