Against the Act but not for smacking

It’s a tried and true debating strategy to take your opponents’ arguments to ludicrous extremes which enables you to depict them as extremists.

That’s why people who don’t want any change in the law around child discipline label anyone who does as pro-smacking.

However, it is possible to be against the Act without being in favour of smacking.

I don’t think smacking is a good thing to do but nor do I think parents who administer a light smack should be criminalised for doing so.

And what’s a light smack?  Borrowing from Chester Borrows and the amendment he attempted to introduce to the Act,  it would be one from which any pain is transitory and trifling, which doesn’t use a weapon or tool and isn’t inflicted by any means that is cruel, degrading or terrifying.

That would be a lot better than the old Section 59 and its replacement which still allows smacking providing its for prevention rather than correction.

Gooner points out at No Minister confusingly this means:

At the end of the day a smack for correction is prohibited but a smack for prevention is permitted. If a child constantly plays up then that child can be smacked under subsection (c) as long as parents tell the child “that is to prevent you behaving like that again“, rather than “that is to correct you for behaving like that“.

How silly is that? The Act which aimed to outlaw smacking still permits it yet those who want to change it are criticised for being pro-smacking.

The proponents of the Act got it wrong.

It’s bad law which permits smacking, providing its for the approved reason.

It should be changed to protect children, to protect families and to stop wasting police time.

There are more than enough crimes of violence, the effects of which aren’t transitory or trifling, which need their attention.

6 Responses to Against the Act but not for smacking

  1. So my favourite bit of legislation has just turned two.

    It’s my favorite, because it catalyzed my from grumbling under my breath to actually taking action.

    The Green party has released this press release, celebrating the 2nd birthday.

    Under no circumstances should my views be considered to be endorsing smacking of children. It is abhorrent and unnecessary. Civil societies do not use force.
    For me, the issue is one of responsibility.

    Bad laws like this only make good laws worse.
    This law also has the effect of assuming that government knows best. To quote Lindsay Mitchell: “The government is not caring and compassionate. It cannot replace families and community.”

    What would we allow the Government to do next? What personal responsibility would we concede also?

    Because believe me, the nation’s moral compass is already out of whack.
    Laws like this just concede defeat, make it ‘ok’ to concede defeat, and make it worse by treating the symptoms with more of the disease.

    Parenting is not easy all the time. We make mistakes. Smacking a child is not an irrevocable step. We learn and we try to improve. Not all parents are good parents.

    There is no utopia.

    Certainly none that we might allow the government to design for us.


  2. Pique Oil says:

    Peterpumpkinhead, you have expressed my sentiments entirely. Government and utopia are mutually exclusive.
    Dictatorship and utopia is fine for those who are doing the dictating, but we plebs who must be guided in how to live are not living in any utopia.
    Every time I hear one of the pompous fools talk about “the rule of law” I think of this particular piece of rubbish and then I look at the fool again. While legislation like this exists, any “rule of law” is as flawed and useless as its practitioners and proponents.


  3. ZenTiger says:

    If you read the act carefully, the Green argument gets worse. They first claimed “reasonable force” was too hard for a judge to work out. Yet they leave the term reasonable force in the Act. They end up specifically banning any force for the purposes of “correction”.

    Correction is effectively the same as discipline, so discipline becomes illegal. Force (assault) is defined in other areas of the act and includes the threat of force. Time-out is technically illegal. A warning that ongoing behaviour will result in a smack is technically illegal.

    Laws need to be constructed to be clear, fair and reflect the wishes of the people. This one makes parents in charge of raising their children to be criminals awaiting to be caught should they feel discipline is necessary. It’s a bad law, for the wrong reasons. Like the Electoral Finance Act, like the Emissions Trading Scheme, these laws are all significant and yet badly worded, miss achieving the true intent of the law and punish good people.

    That John Key cannot understand the fundamental points of the debate, let alone the question, is disappointing.


  4. Pique Oil says:

    Zen Tiger, JK’s inability to understand is very disturbing as well.


  5. Sorry, just realised my post should have had hyperlinks in it, as it was cross pasted from my blog here:

    Ergo it reads a bit funny, making it look like the rest of my post was das Gleens press release. God forbid.


  6. exocet says:

    “Civil societies do not use force”.

    Force is merely one tool in the box. A tool of absolute last resort to be sure, but a tool to be used nonetheless.

    Those who absolutly refuse to use this tool, ever, are at a massive disadvantage to those who do.


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