Posts Tagged john key

Goff, Key stand firm on section 59

September 21, 2009

The Herald reports that organisers of the recent referendum on the smacking law confronted the leaders of both major parties yesterday – but failed to win a single concession to review the law. Furthermore, questions from smacking supporters actually pushed Mr Key into a stronger defence of the law than he has given before, saying the 2007 ban on any use of force against children for “correction” was important to “send a message” that violence against children was unacceptable.

Read the full article at The Herald.

John Key announces Section 59 review terms of reference

September 7, 2009

Prime Minister John Key today released Terms of Reference for a review of policies and procedures used by the New Zealand Police and Child, Youth and Family around the issue of smacking.

The review stems from Cabinet decisions a fortnight ago introducing safeguards to give parents comfort they will not be criminalised for lightly smacking their children.

“This review will look at the policies and procedures of the Police and CYF, including the referral process between the two agencies, to identify any changes needed to ensure good parents are treated as Parliament intended,” Mr Key says.

“The Government does not want to see good parents criminalised for a light smack and the recent referendum reinforces that New Zealanders don’t either.

“I believe the law is working as intended but I can assure parents the National-led Government will continue to monitor the way the law is being implemented.”

The review will be conducted by the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development, Peter Hughes, the Commissioner of Police Howard Broad, and well known clinical psychologist Nigel Latta.

Mr Latta has significant experience working with young people and their families and Mr Key says his independent perspective will be useful.

“I am pleased that Nigel has agreed to take part in the review and I’m sure he will bring a direct and honest approach to the table,” Mr Key says.

“The reviewers will be able to make recommendations and consider any other matters they think will help to ensure that parents are treated as Parliament intended.”

The review team will report to the Prime Minister, Minister of Police and Minister of Social Development by December 1.

Introduction

A citizens-initiated referendum was held between 31 July and 21 August 2009 on the question “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” Eighty-seven per cent of those who voted, responded ‘no’ to this question.

The Government does not want to see good parents criminalised for a light smack and does not believe the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007 intends for this to occur. It wants safeguards to be put in place to give parents comfort that this will not happen. Cabinet [CAB Min (09) 30/23] has agreed to a number of measures to provide such safeguards. These include this review of New Zealand Police and Child, Youth and Family policies and procedures.

Terms of Reference

To review New Zealand Police and Child, Youth and Family policies and procedures, including the referral process between the two agencies, in order to identify any changes that are necessary or desirable in the interest of ensuring that:

1. good parents are treated as Parliament intended under the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007

2. provisions of the law (both criminal and under the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989) are applied to those who abuse children.

To consider any other matters which, in the reviewers’ opinion, will assist in ensuring that parents are treated as Parliament intended under the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007.

To make recommendations concerning these matters.

Reviewers
Peter Hughes, Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development
Howard Broad, Commissioner of Police
Nigel Latta, Clinical Psychologist.

Timing

The reviewers will provide a report and make recommendations to the Prime Minister and Ministers of Police and Social Development and Employment by 1 December 2009.

Nigel Latta says in a press release,

I have been approached by the Prime Minister and asked if I would consider participating in a review of the Police and CYF processes around S 59 to see if the law is working as intended. I have agreed to participate in this review on the basis that it was understood that my role was independent and that I was able to speak freely about both the process of the review, and my opinions regarding its findings.

For the record, and this is something I have commented on publically in a number of contexts, my personal view on S59 is that I did not agree with the original law change. I also voted no in the referendum. I do not believe that a parent smacking their child, in the ‘common sense’ understanding of what that means, should be subject to criminal prosecution or investigation. It would be my view that the “anti-smacking debate” has become needlessly polarised from the very beginning into a position whereby you are either “for child abuse”, or you are “against child abuse”. This tendency of both sides of the debate to reduce a complex social/moral issue into rather simplistic extremes has resulted in our being plunged into an argument that has consumed a great deal of time, energy, and money, when ultimately everyone agrees with that we need to do more to protect children from abuse and neglect.

The terms of reference for this review are very clear. I see my role as first and foremost to look at the evidence and to ensure that the law does not result in good parents either being criminalised, or being needlessly subjected to investigations that are intrusive and/or traumatic. This is a responsibility I hold directly to the everyday mums and dads of New Zealand, and one that I take very seriously.

Because this issue has been dealt with to date in largely emotive and ideological rhetoric, I am interested solely in looking at the data, and in forming an opinion on the actual impact of the law change on that basis. For that reason I will not be meeting with, corresponding with, or entering into discussions with, any lobby groups from either end of the debate.

I will also not be engaging in any media interviews on this matter until after the review process has been completed. At that time the findings will be presented to the public in as transparent a manner as possible so that the Kiwi parents can make up their own minds based on the actual data.

Boscawen’s bill drawn – and quartered

August 26, 2009

The Herald reports,

A bid by an Act Party MP to change the law that bans smacking is doomed because National will vote against the bill in Parliament.

John Boscawen drafted the member’s bill, which would make it legal for parents to lightly smack their children.

It has been in the ballot since March and was drawn today.

That means there will be a first reading debate on it, but that is as far as it will go.

John Key is showing remarkable courage by doing this.

You might like to drop him and his National Party cohorts a short email of support.

Video: John Key’s press conference on the Child Discipline Law

August 24, 2009

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/kP2b3DFEFaE" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Key points:

  • Parents will not be criminalised for lightly smacking their children
  • Police and MSD Chief Execs will lead a review of policies to identify any changes necessary or desirable to ensure that good parents are treated as parliament intended, to report back by 1 December 2009.
  • The official review of the Child Discipline Law will be moved forward to late September or early October
  • Police will continue to report on the law for the next three years, and specifically include data on where the parents believed that the force used was reasonable in the circumstances.  If parents are truly being criminalised for lightly smacking their children, Parliament will have to look at changing the law.

Protocols review timely and appropriate

August 24, 2009

Prime Minister John Key’s announcement today of a review of referral protocols between the Police and the Child Youth and Family services is a positive step to entrenching the child discipline law as it now stands.

“The first aim of those protocols should be to ensure that struggling parents are encouraged to get good help,” says Deborah Morris-Travers, spokesperson for the Yes Vote coalition, which supports the law as it stands.

“The Government has shown considerable political courage in standing up for New Zealand children by reacting as it has to the result of the referendum.

“Member organisations of the Yes Vote coalition look forward to being invited to work with the Police/CYFS review, especially to the extent that referral protocols also apply to non-government family help agencies,” Ms Morris-Travers says.

Protocols Review Timely and Appropriate

Prime Minister John Key’s announcement today of a review of referral protocols between the Police and the Child Youth and Family services is a positive step to entrenching the child discipline law as it now stands.

“The first aim of those protocols should be to ensure that struggling parents are encouraged to get good help,” says Deborah Morris-Travers, spokesperson for the Yes Vote coalition, which supports the law as it stands.

“The Government has shown considerable political courage in standing up for New Zealand children by reacting as it has to the result of the referendum.

“Member organisations of the Yes Vote coalition look forward to being invited to work with the Police/CYFS review, especially to the extent that referral protocols also apply to non-government family help agencies,” Ms Morris-Travers says.

Te Kahui Mana Ririki applauds parliamentary position on Child Discipline Law

August 24, 2009

Chair of Te Kahui Mana Ririki Dr Hone Kaa said today that he is delighted with the government’s response to the citizen’s initiated referendum on smacking.

“Prime Minister John Key has maintained his position – the current law is working well and at this stage he has no intention of changing it.

“I am delighted that New Zealand will retain a law which effectively makes the physical punishment of children illegal.”

“This is especially important for Maori because our child abuse rates are so high.

“We must continue to promote a policy of zero tolerance of violence towards our young ones.”

Maori participation in the referendum was low with around a third of Maori voters taking part. 11.2% of those Maori voters voted yes to the question “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand”, and 88.8% voted no.

“We have always argued that the question was misleading.

“The debate has really been about the rights of children to live in homes that are free from violence and that right has been upheld.”

Updated – John Key reiterates: No law change

August 24, 2009

The Herald reported John Key’s take on the referendum result today:

[John Key’s] own view was that the law was “working as it is now”.

But on Monday, he would take to the Cabinet “options which fall short of changing the law but will provide comfort for parents about this issue”.

Be staunch, John, the country’s children are depending on you.

Read the full article at the NZ Herald.

Update: TVNZ video report

Tapu Misa: John Key must hold the line

August 24, 2009

In an opinion piece in today’s Herald, Tapu Misa says that despite the referendum result, John Key must hold the line:

If the purpose of the referendum was to stop good parents being criminalised for “light” smacking, we don’t have a problem. So far no parent has been prosecuted successfully for that. The law allows “inconsequential” physical force – such as a light smack – in several circumstances, including stopping a child harming themselves or others.

But it rightly rules out the kind of parental correction that began with smacking and led to James Whakaruru’s stepfather beating the 4-year-old to death for bedwetting.

That’s an extreme example. Some people don’t recognise child abuse unless it involves a maimed or dead baby, but those who work with children know that the abuse continuum is less clear-cut. Hundreds of damaged children never end up in the public eye.

Read the full article at the Herald.

Dr Seuss referendum question clearly confused some people

August 23, 2009

John Key said in June that the referendum question could have been written by Dr Seuss.

Now, we’re used to hate mail here at The Yes Vote headquarters – we’ve received plenty over the last few months, and it’s not unexpected given the nature of the question that there are a at least a few hateful people in the in the ranks of the pro-smackers.

What was our surprise then, when we received the following item yesterday:

Name: Richard
Email: [address removed]
Website:

It is a very sad week when a little 3 year old dies in our country from abuse that may have started with ‘a little tap’ and at the same time we have people like your group supporting the notion the violence towards our most vulnerable is ok.  I don’t think you understand what good parenting is and as for one of your representatives saying to his little girl ‘daddy loves you’ as he abuses her – how sick is that.  Shame on you

Time: Sunday August 23, 2009 at 4:04 am
IP Address: 125.237.176.[deleted]

Sent by an unverified visitor to your site.

This poor fellow obviously got the wrong end of the stick.  Some people are very confused about what YES and what NO meant on the referendum question.

We tried to be kind to this well-intentioned individual, and responded as follows.

Richard,

You got it the wrong way around my friend … The YES Vote are the people who are against smacking!

Please take out your wrath on the VOTE NO people …

Undeterred, he responded:

Your response confirms for me that your organisation has got no idea about what you actually stand for and why the referendum was a waste of time.  By voting, anyone would have supported your contention that smaking is a part of good parenting – how sad.  By doing your homework and visiting hospitals etc, you’d see that the level of child abuse is appaling in this country and people who voted yes have been sucked into turning a blind eye to this and in effect supporting it’s continuation.  I’m pleased to say that I’m not one of these people!  I know heaps of people who are doing a great job of raising their kids without resorting to violence.

Thankfully, less than an hour later, he sent us the following apology:

Please accept my sincere apologies – I was so fired up I thought that I was emailing that lot wishing to over turn the current law – Baldock etc!!

I am sorry for directing my frustration at the wrong group.  I just can’t believe how naive people can be believing that smacking kids is ok.

I will do what you say.  All the best with your work – I wish you luck and again sincere apologies!!

Phew!  It just goes to show how devious and confusing the referendum wording was, and that good triumphs over evil in the end.  But we’re left wondering how many people were as confused as Richard when they voted.

Herald: Overwhelming majority of MPs either voting YES or abstaining

August 2, 2009

The New Zealand Herald’s Political Editor Claire Trevett reports on how MPs will be voting in the referendum.  The overwhelming majority of MPs will either vote YES or abstain, and only five said they would be voting no.

Of particular interest is Chester Borrows, who “had supported the petition to force the referendum before the compromise law was passed in 2007 – said he would not vote and did not believe the law should be changed.”

VOTING YES
Labour: Steve Chadwick, Charles Chauvel, Kelvin Davis, Darien Fenton, Parekura Horomia, Moana Mackey, Su’a William Sio, Maryan Street. Progressives: Jim Anderton.

United Future: Peter Dunne.

Green Party: Sue Bradford, Keith Locke, Kennedy Graham, Metiria Turei, Russel Norman, Jeanette Fitzsimons, Sue Kedgley, Kevin Hague, Catherine Delahunty.

Maori Party: Te Ururoa Flavell (if votes), Hone Harawira, Rahui Katene.

NOT/ PROBABLY NOT VOTING
National: David Bennett, Jackie Blue, Chester Borrows, David Carter, Judith Collins, Chris Finlayson, Tim Groser, Nathan Guy, Tau Henare, Steven Joyce, Nikki Kaye, John Key, Todd McClay, Tony Ryall, Katrina Shanks, Nick Smith, Anne Tolley, Chris Tremain, Louise Upston, Michael Woodhouse.

Maori Party: Tariana Turia.

Labour: Phil Goff, Annette King, Trevor Mallard, Damien O’Connor.

* Spoiling ballot paper: Clayton Cosgrove, Rajen Prasad.

VOTING NO
National: Cam Calder, Tim Macindoe.

Act: John Boscawen, David Garrett, Heather Roy.

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

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