Whatever happens, the hiding has had its day

August 11, 2009

John Roughan writes in the New Zealand Herald (8/8/09) that the men behind the smacking poll are so confident of its result they have prepared their next move by drafting a bill that would allow parents to use reasonable force for “correcting” a child’s behaviour.

He writes that they expect the vote for their “good parental correction” to be so decisive that John Key will have to surrender his stated wish to leave well-enough alone.

When they sent the bill to Roughan they said, “This is what government will adopt after the referendum.” So definite, And wanted him to report that the bill, sponsored by Act MP John Boscawen, expressly forbids the use of “any weapon, tool or instrument”.

“That is progress,” he wrote.

He then engaged on the No Vote team in an email Q&A to seek clarity.

“The bill would also make correction illegal if it “causes the child to suffer injury which is more than transitory and trifling” or, “is inflicted by any means that is cruel or degrading”.

“So that is what their correction is not, but what exactly is it? It is not simply the instant admonitory smack that the law now specifically permits. They want to add correction as a distinct permitted purpose.”

He concluded: “I don’t need a right, he does. But there it is; they want the right to smack long after the event, “as long as it’s not abusive … as long as the child associates the punishment with the wrong behaviour … haven’t you heard of parents taking time out … ?”

“I find the idea of parents taking “time out” to plan a punishment quite repugnant if what they plan is physical.

“Whatever the referendum result, I think justice will decide the hiding has had its day.”

Plunket Barnardos Save the Children Unicef Jigsaw Ririki Parents CentrePaediatric Society Womens Refuge Epoch

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