The Southland Times says Let’s reassure parents:
It’s one thing to accept that police have been very careful about the way the law is being interpreted, right now. But there’s no getting around it that a great many parents remain worried about a wider anti-smacking agenda and that the sands may shift underneath parents in future, and a much harder line be taken by the law as it now stands.
Underscoring that view is the widespread public recognition of the distaste from many in the so-called PC corridors of power, notably the law’s original drafter Sue Bradford, for any sort of smacking. It’s a distaste this newspaper shares . . .
The explicit intention of the law’s final form was that nobody could commit the sort of assault against a child that would previously have landed them in court and rightly so in the eyes of mainstream New Zealanders but then raise the arcane previous defence that they were within the rights of parental correction. That defence was removed under the Bradford legislation, and so it should have been.
But, okay. Maybe the existing law does need to be refined to give greater assurance that normal parental guardianship and discipline will still be the preserve of the parents.
It’s got the bit about reasonable force wrong – that’s still allowed for prevention.
The Press says the vote was a fiasco:
The question posed was flawed, the participation of voters low, the campaign unengaging, the cost of the exercise prohibitive and the results inconsequential. In short, the referendum was a fiasco.
The question was flawed, though its intent was clear it has enabled the governmetn to address the result without changing the law. But the turnout wasn’t low and the cost was the fault of the previous Prime Minsiter who decreed the referendum couldn’t take place with last year’s election.
The Nelson Mail says politicians need to resist mob pressure:
Nelson MP Nick Smith was on the money in suggesting the anti-smacking referendum result reflected a strong reaction against the “nanny state”.
The overwhelming “no” vote nearly 90 per cent, with a turnout of more than half of this country’s registered voters is also a slap in the face for children’s rights and anti-violence advocates. It delivers an unfortunate message about New Zealand’s underlying conservatism and represents an important challenge to the country’s politicians as they consider how to respond to it.
Even a 100 per cent vote against the anti-smacking law would not have made it possible to revoke.
It might be frightening the daylights out of decent, law- abiding middle class parents, but now it is on the statute books we are stuck with it. To do otherwise would be signalling open slather on kids. It would be saying whacking is fine.
David Cohen asks is an editorial smack part of good part of good media discipline?:
Yet 85.4 per cent of that same sample intended to vote against the criminalisation of smacking. Plainly today’s parents have found better ways to bring up children but overwhelmingly they do not want the law to forbid their resort to force if they need it.
Those circumstances are fairly comprehensive. They include: to prevent harm to children or others, to stop offensive or disruptive behaviour and to stop criminal behaviour.
At least one paper understands the current law still allows the reasonable force which the Act’s proponents – and a lot of its opponents – wanted to get rid of.