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Someone give Rodney a Smack

Written By: - Date published: 9:46 am, August 10th, 2009 - 35 comments
Categories: child discipline, national/act government - Tags:

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

35 comments on “Someone give Rodney a Smack”

  1. Ianmac 1

    It is likely that the NO will get over 75% of the vote. I think that John Key has now indicated that he would take on board such a vote and McCroskie is backing a Bill being already prepared “that smacking be allowed for correction.” Hide signals this and I think that Key might well go along with it as he has shown willingness to do what the people want and make him popular. If so, a sad sad day for NZ kids.

    • Daveski 1.1

      LOL … I thought the Standard was all about doing what people wanted??

      What was that dittohead slogan here … “democracy under attack”?

      • Relic 1.1.1

        What the people want Davo? a recent poll had ACT on 1% support, lower than NZ First who currently have no MPs! Referenda with dodgy questions are mere manipulation and not to be taken too seriously. The turnout will be interesting none the less. What this person wants is Family Fist to come clean on its funding source.

    • Andrei 1.2

      Its called democracy – government of the people, by the people, for the people.

      A strange concept I know – especially for ivory tower types who think they know what people want and need better than the people themselves.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1

        If people are badly educated and have wrong information, like what ACT and National spew forth, thrown at them then are you sure that they can make better decisions than those people who have the correct information?

      • Quoth the Raven 1.2.2

        I wish we had government by the people what we actually have is government by representatives.

        • Rex Widerstrom

          Me too. But the irony here is that because Key (in his ever-increasing arrogance) says he’ll ignore a referendum and the outcome of that ignorance happens to accord with the views on smacking of most people here, it’s okay for him to do so.

          But what if this were the outcome of, say, a poorly-worded referendum on raising the minimum wage? I’ll bet people would be here saying “never mind, NZers are smart enough to comprehend the underlying issue and parse the question correctly”.

          We need to drastically improve our method of conducting referenda and of educating people about the issues on which they are to vote. As I’ve said before, I tend to favour a small, non-partisan test before voting (failure wouldn’t ban you from voting, you’d just have to go away and find out the answers before you had another go).

          Cherry-picking the results of badly worded referenda to suit our own ends isn’t democratic, it’s a cynical playing of the system.

    • Swampy 1.3

      If 75% believe there is no harm in smacking they are likely to be speaking from personal experience when they were children. The real complaint you haven’t articulated is your obvious belief that these parents are brainwashing their children.

  2. The Voice of Reason 2

    Hopefully 75% of bugger all won’t make a difference in the long run. The only discussion I hear from the farmers, contractors and other tories down my local is that the whole thing is a waste of taxpayers’ money and the people sponsoring the referendum should be strung up, because that’s the only language they understand.

  3. Tigger 3

    Voter turnout here will be an issue. If it’s low there is a loophole for Key – he can claim no real mandate thus no rationale for change.

    Why on earth is Hide wading into this mess? Nice distraction from the Supercity debate?

    • ak 3.1

      No surprise that the margin-of-error act is trying to hoover up some dregs of support from the loony rump of the Helenhate and baby-bashers-for-Jesus mobs.
      Sunny deliberately dumped him in the Loco Govt/supercity swamp: the humiliation from his public castration over the “rates cap” just prior to the conference must be excruciating.

      Lovely wedge developing here: time for the Maori Party to pick up the mallet and make some real gains.

  4. randal 4

    sowwee but.
    wodney is a winker.
    he probably gets all his policy from trade me opinions.

  5. So Bored 5

    I think Jonkey was correct in his assessment a few months back when he noted that if the law was working in its current state why would he change it? Cant fault that logic.

    Interestingly, the democracy of public referenda and opinion polls are not always the best way to decide this type of issue. The will of the majority is not always wise or benign, or just. Look how long it took to get rid of capital punishment, there are still probably a near majority who would favour it if put to referendum.

  6. JustRight 6

    Mickey Savage wrote: “8 involving smacking” ie 8 Police callouts as a result of a smack. I say this is 8 too many. The Police should not be involved in this sort of thing.

    If a person is on the street whacking their child around the head, or kicking him/her then this is entirely different and warrants intervention in the same way as if two adults were doing the same thing to eachother.

    I am a Father of 3 (8, 6 & 4) children. I have smacked them on the bottom from time to time. I have found this to be a successful strategy, and at other times it has made no difference to their behaviour. The law change has not altered my behaviour one bit.

    What I object to with Section 59 is this (as I understand it): the purpose in stopping people from beating their children, by removing the defense of ‘discipline’.

    My opinion is the Burrows amendment should have been made, and this would have removed the need for the referendum.

    • Relic 6.1

      Piss off JR, the “reasonable force’ defence for child whackers is what was removed.

    • The trouble with the debate is that one side has suggested that a significant abrogation of existing “parental rights” has occurred and there has been a significant change in the law.

      As the police report and figures show there has not. The 8 smacking incidents are where police were called. It may or may not have been accompanied by another complaint, for instance spousal abuse. No prosecutions for smacking occurred during the 6 month period, I repeat, there were no prosecutions for smacking.

      The four prosecutions were for low level violence greater than smacking. One was discharged without conviction, I suspect that if the person charged has no convictions it is likely there will be no convictions for any of the others.

      Someone in your position would not appear to be in danger of being charged. If it occurred in the privacy of your home and no injury ocurred then how would the police get involved? Even if they were the “public interest” requirement would prevent further action being taken.

      Given that no radical change has occurred why is there a need to change the law.

      Rodney Hide must have access to the police reports and analysis. If he disagrees then he should come up with facts and cases so that the police view can be contested and we can see if this change is required.

      The police intended a full review of the Act after 2 years which is due to occur later this year. I suspect that the Government will wait for this before deciding on any further action.

      • Swampy 6.2.1

        The report only lists the police who are required to look at whether a prosecution would be unjustified on the grounds of being inconsequential., This only applies to the police.

        How about reports from CYPS on how much more they are haranguing parents who smack their children because CYFS isn’t affected at all by the “inconsequential” amendment.

  7. Nick 7

    Given that no radical change has occurred why is there a need to change the law.

    Given that no radical change occurred prior to the repeal of s 59 why was there a need to change the law?

    • “Given that no radical change occurred prior to the repeal of s 59 why was there a need to change the law?”

      Good question.

      I think the best answer is that Parliament was trying to create a change in attitude. It was not specifically aimed at the light smacking cases, it was actually aimed at those who bashed and injured in the name of discipline.

      The message behind the legislation is that people should rethink their attitude to child discipline. This idea of a “right” to discipline is abhorrent to me. Why people think they have a right to harm others especially family members is beyond me.

      There is study of the different European states that indicates those countries with comparable legislation have lower child mortality rates from violence than those without. If I can find the site I will post it.

      • Ianmac 7.1.1

        There was a saurprisingly good Sunday programme last night. Simon Barnett, an advocate for smacking, was interesting when asked if he was carrying out violence when smacking his kids. His eyes became downcast, avoided directly answering at first then said no he didn’t think he was being violent. 2nd time that he was asked he had a similar response. Then later said that smacking didn’t work on his youngest so he had to find a different way. This all suggests that even he is starting to think of better ways, which is one of the aims of the legislation.
        Better would be to ban ALL hitting of kids!

      • Swampy 7.1.2

        It wasn’t aimed at anything other than appeasing the United Nations lapdogs that left wing traitors have signed away our democratic rights to without any public consultation or mandate.

  8. BLiP 8


    Hahahaha – brilliant! That’s exactly what they are, except Jesus plays no part in their thinking.

    Rather, they spout the pre-Christian Old Testament “rod” which, as it turns out, was a metaphor used in proverbs where Solomon was actually saying the strongest acts of “wisdom” are required for bringing up children. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” doesn’t appear in the Bible, it first appears in a 1662 satire by Samuel Butler.

    • Andrei 8.1

      “Spare the rod and spoil the child’ doesn’t appear in the Bible, it first appears in a 1662 satire by Samuel Butler.

      Proverbs 13:24

      ὃς φείδεται τῆς βακτηρίας μισεῖ τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ ὁ δὲ ἀγαπῶν ἐπιμελῶς παιδεύει

      He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

      If people are badly educated and have wrong information, like what ACT and National spew forth, thrown at them then are you sure that they can make better decisions than those people who have the correct information?

      • BLiP 8.1.1

        If people are badly educated and have wrong information, like what ACT and National spew forth, thrown at them then are you sure that they can make better decisions than those people who have the correct information?

        Huh? I agree, ACT and National Inc spew a lot of uneducated nonsense, just like you. I have no doubt that anyone could make a better decision than you. Have a look at this.

      • Ianmac 8.1.2

        Actually “chasteneth” does not have anything to do with stiking the son. It means holding the son to account and expressing disapproval for his actions. I do so occasionally even to my adult sons. But I wouldn’t hit them partly because they are fitter and stronger.

  9. OllieS 9

    I think there’s a large portion of New Zealanders who support the new legislation and would NOT like to see it repealed, but due to the nature of the argument they haven’t yet had a reason to make themselves heard. If JonKey’s National Govt folds and repeals the new law, the backlash could be as damaging for them as the introduction of it was for Labour.

    Any kind of reaction to this so-called referendum would be very surprising.

  10. Spectator 10

    And, while the number of parents convicted of smacking their children remains at zero, and Rodney Hide still whines about there not being enough child abuse in this country, the morning’s news includes another sad case of a dead child. Rodney, and those alleged 300,000 people who were duped by Baldock and McCoskrie into signing a petition to legitimise child abuse, must all hang their heads in shame.

    • Swampy 10.1

      Why we don’t is simple. Smacking is not harmful to children. Child abuse is what harms children and this is a whole different situation from a smack which produces no lasting damage of any sort. Prof Fergusson with the Christchurch longitudinal study has proven this to be the case.

      This law is about Sue Bradford’s attack on families and her political foes. it has got vrirtually nothing to do with child abuse and will not stop one child from being beaten to death. It is ridiculous to say the referendum campaigners are responsible for child abuse.

      • IrishBill 10.1.1

        The law is about removing legal protection for people who abuse their kids. It’s that simple.

      • Macro 10.1.2

        Smacking IS harmful to children – you may not see it in the first instance or the second or the third, but like a small weed seed in the ground it is there and given the right conditions it will grow. It’s NEVER necessary and assault is assault whether it be to adults or children.

  11. Ron 11

    I find this business of “democracy” interesting.
    Someone above wrote”we don’t have government by the people – it’s government by representatives” Um – yes. That’s actually what democracy is. Unless every individual had access to ALL the information a referendum style of government can’t work. That’s why we elect representatives – and expect them to make decisions based on the info they have access to. And sometimes those representatives have to simply do what is right even if it conflicts with majority “opinion”. I don’t always like those decisions either and I often think they’re based on the wrong information (or in the case of this current Government – usually NO information)

    A referendum would not have abolished slavery. A referendum would not have given women the vote. I’m thinking now that a referendum would probably back nuclear ships in our ports and reintroduce capital punishment.

    • Quoth the Raven 11.1

      You clearly do not understand the concept of participatory democracy. It is not about referenda. There are different conceptions suffice to say that what you say is absolutely absurd no one is advocating a tyranny of the majority and it is about the rights of the individual being respected far and above what little repsect it currently receives. Here is a link and there is this short peice:

      As I have argued before, democracy in the sense of majoritarianism or a political system of phony oligarchal representation inherently violates liberty. I have also tried to emphasize that all states are inherently exclusive and out of the control of “the people” at large by the very nature of such an institution.

      But there is also a third and more pure or original sense of democracy that is in fact the very embodyment of anarchism. The concept of participatory democracy is quite anarchistic in that it emphasizes unanimous consent and leaves the individual the option to opt out of associations or organizations. Instead of delegating power to another person to act within an oligarchy that effects everyone else, as is the case in representative democracy, participatory democracy involves individual representation of themselves based on much more direct means that gives the individual an actual voice in matters that effect them.

      If democracy is understood as meaning control by “the people”, then what can possibly be more democratic than a society in which the function of governance is literally absorbed by “the people” as a whole, I.E. a self-governing society? What is anarchism but the most consistant realization of this principle, in which the individual may choose their own destiny through freedom of association? And what is a free market but a manifestation of participatory democracy in people’s economic decisions, associations and organizations?

      The moment that an exclusive oligarchal apparatus of control is imposed onto any segment of “the people”, the fundamental principle of democracy is violated. The only way for democracy to meaningfully come to fruition is in the absence of rulers, when people are given the option to opt out of associations or organizations and to persue their preferences without having a system imposed on them from above. Instead of a single individual, family or aristocracy ruling over an entire society, each individual in the society must be treated as a sovereign or self-ruler.

      In a genuine anarchic or market democracy, the individual “votes” with their choice of associations and voluntary economic interactions. Their “vote” does not coercively determine who anyone else will associate with, what organization(s) they will join or what goods and services that they will buy or sell. It is the individual’s explicit consent that determines these things for themselves. If they are displeased with a given association or organization, they may exit the relationship as they please and persue alternatives.

      It is strictly in this sense that I feel safe in proclaiming that “democracy is liberty”.

  12. Ron 12

    Or we could just use the perfectly good example of democracy we have here in little old New Zealand.
    Actually, QTR, the discussion above is mostly from people advocating some sort of referendum style majority rules democracy. I can’t fully compare that with the model you’re putting forward because I wanted to kill myself before I got past the second paragraph…………..

    • Quoth the Raven 12.1

      It’s not and you would know that if you got past the second paragraph and actually made an attempt at reading it particularly the whole section specifically on the tyranny of the majority. You remind me of something Emma Goldman said: Someone has said that it requires less mental effort to condemn than to think.
      Not everyone thinks the system we have now is perfect because some like myself value liberty. You may never understand that concept.
      Proudhon writes a good bit on representative democracy.

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