Blue up green down

Last night’s One News Colmar Brunton Poll appeared to show National gaining at the Green Party’s expense.

The blue vote went up 6 points and the Green one fell 5 while Labour stayed the same.

But rather than swapping from green to blue it’s more likely that green went red and pink went blue.

Green voters liked Labour’s lurch to the left so moved to the red party but a similar number of voters towards the centre didn’t like the lurch left and moved centre right over to National.

That is the conundrum Labour faces – policies which bolster its support from the left lose it support from the centre.

The poll follows the trend showing steady support for National and little or no progress for the left. The PM is still popular and Labour leader David Cunliffe is not.

There is however, no room for complacency:

Meanwhile National’s election year pitch of boosting teacher performance is proving popular.

But the Prime Minister says his party won’t rest on its laurels, or on the tailwind of a booming economy.

“It’s a good poll but we need to be cautious,” John Key says. “There will be a lot of polls before the election they will bounce around a lot.” . .

 Corin Dann says it’s a wake up call for the left:

The six-point surge in the ONE News Colmar Brunton poll to 51% may well reflect a strong economy and the feel good factor of summer.

However, it also must be acknowledged that Prime Minister John Key has made a strong start to the year.

His popular education policy sending a clear signal to voters that National is capable of fresh ideas and is not a tired government.

Labour leader David Cunliffe meanwhile had his policy launch of a baby bonus derailed by a gaffe and has seemed to struggle for confidence and exposure since. . .

As for the Greens’ big fall in the poll, that is harder to explain. It may be that Russel Norman’s liaisons with Kim Dot Com have hurt the party, or it could also be a reflection of National’s efforts to discredit the party as extremist.

It could also be that more exposure for the Greens is showing up flaws in its policies and that its supporters don’t accept the compromises that would be necessary if it was in government.


61 Responses to Blue up green down

  1. Greens drop is more likely due to their supporters still being in bed when the phone rang. Uni starts next week, Expect Green support to bounce back up to over 10% again next poll. I wish I was wrong but I don’t think so.

  2. TraceyS says:

    Perhaps it has something to do with the Greens opposing further oil and gas exploration? Based on the numbers attending protests, it looks like more than 92% of people are basically in support of it. This has had a high profile in the media, so it wouldn’t surprise me.

  3. Dave Kennedy says:

    Colmar Brunton Polls tend to favor National and are tough on the Greens, a week before the 2011 election they had National at 54% and the Greens at 9%. The concern that I have with Colmar Brunton, and most other polls, is that they only use land lines and that excludes large demographics who only have mobiles. I can’t imagine many independent a18-28 year olds with a landline and most financially challenged households would have ditched them too.

    Judging by a stuff article last year I believe that about 20% of voters no longer have landlines and this skews the results of any poll that ignores that fact.

  4. TraceyS says:

    Euan Ross-Taylor @ 8:13am: How would you explain that the Greens were at 11% in the same poll a year earlier?

  5. TraceyS says:

    Dave Kennedy @ 8:56am: Maybe this could explain the Green’s drop (if a lot of Green supporters have ditched landlines between Feb-13 and Feb-14). But how do you explain where National’s rise came from? Surely all things being equal, you’d expect to see National and Labour both rise proportionately from the exclusion of Green voters without landlines from the poll. But all things are not equal are they Dave? Particularly in the preferred PM stakes. There is absolutely no question about those numbers.

  6. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, I totally recognise that support for parties fluctuate and at the point the poll was taken the Greens were most likely down from the previous poll. I actually don’t think that the Greens suffer as much as Labour through landline polls, we actually do quite well in many and our voting demographics are often older than people realize. However polls do have different characteristics and whether they use landlines or not Colmar Brunton does tend to favour National in the same way that the Greens tend to do well under Roy Morgan Polls (the most recent had us at 12%).

    The point I was trying to make is that National does have a clear advantage in these polls when the demographics that are most likely to vote National are also most likely to have landlines. This was clearly shown in the last election when National consistently polled around 5% higher than their election day result and Labour was much lower. Except for Colmar Brunton the Greens generally do better in the polls before an election as well, many had us on 14% just before the 2011 vote.

    And you a right about John Key he is a populist Prime Minister who spends a good deal of his time lifting his profile like, many other celebrity focused individuals, and it obviously works.

  7. Mr E says:

    A point I think we can all agree on. The trends are more important than the absolute number,

  8. jabba says:

    “It could also be that more exposure for the Greens is showing up flaws in its policies” .. YEP, have been saying this for years.
    I’m thrilled to see the Greens drop but it is far too from the election to get too excited.

  9. And you a right about John Key he is a populist Prime Minister who spends a good deal of his time lifting his profile like, many other celebrity focused individuals, and it obviously works.

    No Dave; he is New Zealand’s most POPULAR Prime Minister (in my lifetime, at least), who spends a good deal of time working in the best interests of New Zealand.

    If, like the Labour Party, the Greens continue to portray Key as a political lightweight simply because he does things differently to the way that those MP’s and activists who know nothing else than politics expect, he will continue to confound you.

  10. TraceyS says:

    Dave Kennedy @ 10:19am: I see that you are a person “who spends a good deal of his time lifting his profile” as well. Don’t be ashamed, there’s no problem with it, good on you.

    I wonder if the critics of anonymous blog commenting have ever considered that those who choose to do so are consciously NOT raising their own profile? Something to be commended perhaps.

  11. Dave Kennedy says:

    “…who spends a good deal of time working in the best interests of New Zealand.”
    This is very debatable to me as he appears to be working in the best interests of overseas interests and big business much of the time. Over 300,000 people in New Zealand are struggling to survive on their wages and a budget divisor said the numbers asking for his support have doubled over the last two years. Only the top two quintiles of earners have benefited under this government, the other three are seeing the real value of their earnings diminish.

    The Government gave Rio Tinto $30 million but can’t pay school support stuff a living wage. I guess there is just different priorities…

  12. Andrei says:

    John Key’s just a marionette, Dave Kennedy, dancing on strings pulled by puppeteers who are hell bent on turning us all into degenerate slave worker ants.

    When he has served his purpose he will be replaced by a dancing doll from the Labour party but the agenda will remain the same

  13. jabba says:

    “Which is why we need the Green Party in Government to ask the hard questions” .. thanks for that Dave .. snigger

  14. Andrei says:

    Which is why we need the Green Party in Government to ask the hard questions,/blockquote>

    Nope its purpose is to advance the more radical items which the more mainstream parties don’t want to own but will allow to proceed.

    e.g. Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking thing which is sold as “protecting children” but really is about undermining parental authority.

  15. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking thing which is sold as “protecting children” but really is about undermining parental authority.”

    Andrei, it was actually about giving children the same rights as animals. Remember it was supported by all parties and John Key had a pivotal role in ensuring it was passed. We still have one of the worst levels of child health and welfare in the OECD and bringing smacking back is hardly the solution.

  16. TraceyS says:

    Well, Mr E, I think that depends entirely on the team. 🙂

  17. TraceyS says:

    Dave, I agree with you on this one. There are many other ways to exercise your authority as a parent. It is a constant challenge though. We don’t smack our kids and still have plenty of authority over them. They push the boundaries every day and we ‘push’ back. I acknowledge this is tiring, and hard for some, but smacking is not the answer.

  18. Dave Kennedy says:

    Thanks, Tracey. I have two great kids, both at University this year, and I admit that I did smack one once in a moment of sheer frustration and have regretted it ever since. I started teaching when the strap was still being used and realized quickly that the best teachers never had to use it. For the really great teachers even a raised eyebrow could hurt more than a whack.

  19. TraceyS says:

    Dave @ 12:12 am: I don’t think anyone should crucify themselves, or others, for having made an occasional mistake. The most important thing is to be able to look at our own behaviour and acknowledge “I could have done better” and to change.

  20. Mr E says:

    Dave- The anti smacking law threatens families. Without going into too much detail – My family is threatened by this law. A lawyer has said so. It is not that light smacking is undertaken, it is that, it once was. When custody is in question, this law can become a weapon, welded with unknown consequences.

    Politicians should know this – You now do. Good parents – good families, are out there cowering with fear.

    Needless to say, I think discouraging smacking is a good thing. Sadly I think this law has gone completely over the top. There are so many other tools that can be used. Making laws should be our last resort not our first.

    Ask parents if they smack and watch to see if they look over their shoulder before they answer.

  21. jabba says:

    people always confuse smacking and beating

  22. Mr E says:

    How does one define and measure such things Jabba? Such is the challenge that people have. Such is the challenge that a law has.

  23. TraceyS says:

    “When custody is in question, this law can become a weapon, welded with unknown consequences.” Yes, along with numerous other “weapons” including whether one of the parents consumes alcohol, drives while talking on a cell-phone, gets the kids to school on time, let’s them drink coke, and so on Mr E @ 8:49 am.

    I’ve only been close to a couple of these situations. My own parents never argued over custody.

  24. jabba says:

    I would like to think we are all capable of knowing the difference MR E. Those who beat children don’t care what the law is anyway. It’s a law, as others mentioned, that is full of fish hooks.
    There are other such laws that are forced upon us all to TRY and stop crazy people doing crazy things. Image what the bloody Greens will do if given any power.

  25. Mr E says:

    “numerous other “weapons” including whether one of the parents consumes alcohol, drives while talking on a cell-phone, gets the kids to school on time, let’s them drink coke”

    Which of these is illegal Tracey?

  26. TraceyS says:

    All of them could be if prohibited by a court order. And some of the things I mentioned can be on their own anyway depending on how they are done (maybe not the coke!).

    I heard of one parent who was not allowed to drink alcohol with the child in their care. Not that there was a drinking problem, just that the other person sharing custody didn’t want it to happen and the court backed them up. Breaching the order could jeopardise custody as could smacking.

  27. Mr E says:

    The number of prosecuted “smacking’ cases between June 11 and Dec 11 was 3.

    And here is a excerpt on what Dominion post reported on those incidents:

    “A father allegedly slapped his daughter on her lower leg, causing her to cry but leaving no injury. The father was charged with assaults child (manually) but the charge was withdrawn due to insufficient evidence.

    A father smacked his son several times around the upper thighs, leaving no injuries. He pleaded guilty to a charge of assaults child (manually) and was sentenced to six months’ supervision.

    A father smacked his two sons on their legs in public, resulting in no injuries. He pleaded guilty to two charges of assaults child (manually) and was sentenced to nine months’ supervision and 100 hours community work.”

    I’m guess since then there have been more prosecutions.

  28. Paranormal says:

    DK at 9.36 – So Sue Bradfords own words that the anti-smacking law was to ‘send a message’ was not the case?

    Or is this just another case of leftist rewriting of history as the ‘message’ to those that weren’t listening never registered. They’re still beating their kids to death whilst otherwise law abiding parents trying to do their best in tough circumstances are demonised.

    Preserve us if you leftist child abusers ever get control of the treasury benches.

  29. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E and others, the back stories of reported cases are important there is generally more to these cases. Nigel Latta was originally opposed to the legislation and was critical of Sue Bradford. He was employed to review how the law was working in practice and during his investigations his views changed, he thought overall it was working well and apologized for his criticisms of Sue. Before the legislation there were many parents who were actually beating their children and being protected by law.

    I agree with Tracey about how parents should be managed after accusations and convictions and I think a good reference is Celia Lashlie’s book ‘The Power of Mothers’, in most cases children do better if they remain with their parents, but have support provided. Removing children from their homes after violent incidents can often make matters worse.

  30. Paranormal says:

    Meanwhile the ferals are still beating their children to death and good parents are stigmatised by an all powerful CYFS. Another own goal from the left – or was that the way it was always meant to work….

  31. Mr E says:

    My view – The law should have focused on abuse rather than smacking.

    I think Paranormal’s point is rather true. Albeit missing the benefits.

    Legislation should be last case scenario. And I believe, when it comes to smacking, there are/were plenty of other tools the government can use to change smacking behaviours.

    The law has resulted in many reports of smacking – the most common response is a follow up by CYFS and an education programme for those parents. A law is not needed for this – surely.

    In the mean time – lessor parents, threaten better parents with the law, and I suspect often win custody as a result. Are these children better off ? I think not.

    This law may have improved the prosecution ability of the law, and lead to the education of some parents, but I think it is likely that some children are also suffering because of it.

    For me it was not that the law had to change. It was that this law went too far.

  32. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, you have been captured by the spin, here is the actual legislation and smacking was never specifically mentioned:

    59 Parental control
    (1) Every parent of a child and every person in the place of a parent of the child is justified in using force if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances and is for the purpose of—
    (a) preventing or minimising harm to the child or another person; or
    (b) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in conduct that amounts to a criminal offence; or
    (c) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in offensive or disruptive behaviour; or
    (d) performing the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting.
    (2) Nothing in subsection (1) or in any rule of common law justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction.
    (3) Subsection (2) prevails over subsection (1).
    (4) To avoid doubt, it is affirmed that the Police have the discretion not to prosecute complaints against a parent of a child or person in the place of a parent of a child in relation to an offence involving the use of force against a child, where the offence is considered to be so inconsequential that there is no public interest in proceeding with a prosecution.

    I would be interested to know which part you object to.

  33. Andrei says:

    Dave Kennedy @February 26, 2014 at 10:01 am

    You know you BIG GOVERNMENT nut cases just don’t get it.

    You cannot enshrine good parenting in the waffle of a legal draftsman.

    Every one of us is descended from people who managed to raise each one of our ancestors to adulthood, who in their turn did the same for their children down to us and I for one have continued the traditions of my forebears as best I could.

    And I didn’t need fucking government ninnies telling me or my wife how do do it, just like my parents didn’t need that, nor my grand parents before them,

    Now you might disapprove of the ways my parents raised me, the way my wife’s parents raised her or the way we raised our own.

    Tough, its none of your business or anybody elses and it seems to have worked out ok for my kids.

    Its a crying shame that some people are lacking something that allows them to physically harm their offspring and not to feel the intense protective love that I feel towards mine but whatever it s that brings this total lack of human compassion about it cannot be fixed by passing a law

  34. Mr E says:

    My objection – A distinct lack of definitions. Rather than do that – leave discretion in the hands of police, lawyers, judges. As such leaving it ambiguous.
    Lawyers say so – they say ‘we don’t know how smacking will play out in the courts’, and advise ‘staying above reproach’. And as Tracey has suggested, the now attached stigma, means a dim view placed by judges when parenting orders are asserted.

    The result – parents have no idea if they are inside or outside the law. It is hard to get clear messages from parents because they are incredibly fearful. I tend to read body language and it says a lot, when questions are asked, voices lower, answers become ‘careful’.

    Imagine Dave, your smacking incident. Imagine it was recent. Now imagine a parent willing to test the law out on you. With all of it’s ambiguities. How confident would you feel that you would win? What sort of stigma would be attached to you regardless of winning or not?

  35. Dave Kennedy says:

    Andrei, this act in itself isn’t the answer (you are right in this) but having some legal parameters is still important. The legislation doesn’t dictate how to bring up your children but makes a clear statement about the use of force for correction purposes. This gives children the same protections as animals and adults in the eyes of the law. Whacking children to modify their behavior is unacceptable in most societies and society as a whole has to pay for any dysfunctional citizens who were beaten as children.

    New Zealand has a high percentage of working mothers compared to many other countries and the value we place on looking after children isn’t high. Women who choose to be a full-time parent feel a lot of pressure to put their children into care and find paid employment and early childhood education is still under resourced.

    The change in attitude to drinking and driving came through both law changes and culture change, the way we treat our children probably needs the same approach. New Zealand has one of the worst health and safety records for children in the OECD and the culture change we need has to come through a variety of ways.

    I also believe that most parents need support in bringing up children and the community as a whole should look out for all our children in a supportive way. Bronfenbrenner describes the influences on children and the wider responsibilities of our society well:

  36. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, this was what Nigel Latta investigated and he found that the law and its application was working well. We should also remember that no law is perfect and there very well may be exceptions when a policeman is over zealous or someone is vindictive in reporting, but this doesn’t mean the law is wrong just the way it was applied.

    In my case the incident I shared was in our home and was unlikely to be reported and even then would be regarded as a minor incident that wouldn’t be worth pursuing, especially as there was no history of similar behaviour.

    My daughter worked at the Warehouse over Summer and observed different parenting skills while there. She told me that all of those parents she witnessed who were publicly smacking their children were obviously struggling in their role. I really believe that if you are a loving, caring and competent parent than you have nothing to fear, only those who use smacking as their first line of approach should be concerned.

    What actually concerns me more than Section 59 is the still common perception that men should not have any physical contact with children. As someone who recently worked in a new entrant class this is really difficult. Small children need caring physical contact when they are distressed and pat on the back when they do well. If children can not experience caring, appropriate contact from men it will distort their perception of them, and our society will suffer.

  37. Mr E says:

    “The legislation doesn’t dictate how to bring up your children but makes a clear statement about the use of force for correction purposes.”

    Its not a clear statement Dave. In my view, not at all.

    “The change in attitude to drinking and driving came through both law changes and culture change, the way we treat our children probably needs the same approach.”

    Drink driving – measureable, definable. Appropriate force? Not so. Police, Lawyers, Judges make those definitions. And ambiguity threatens parents. I can’t imagine how you don’t understand that.

  38. Andrei says:

    and society as a whole has to pay for any dysfunctional citizens who were beaten as children.

    Allow me to correct this for you Tovarishch Kennedy
    and society as a whole has to pay for any dysfunctional citizens who were raised in dysfunctional environments.

    There that’s better.

    As for the rest of your comment, Tovarishch, I have a profound suspicion of those who would use the Government and its organs, armies of bureaucrats and the police! to bring about “culture change“. After all who’s to say that the cultural direction they wish to take us is the correct one, are our political elite sages of wisdom that we must follow their every diktat?

    I think not

    This is the road to perdition, Tovarishch, the road to perdition.

  39. Mr E says:

    ‘What actually concerns me more than Section 59’

    You’re concerned about section 59? Good.

    You didn’t run with my scenario – instead taking the easy route. That’s a bit sad.

  40. TraceyS says:

    Mr E, what’s the problem with of trying to stay “above reproach”? I accept that as a parent I may not always be and I’m prepared to stand up and defend myself if need be.

    I was smacked by an out-of-control mother as a child. If there’s one thing I could take away from my childhood it would be that. Do you know why? It’s because when you’re brought up with it, it’s there in you, to hit and hurt someone. I’m not prepared to go there. I don’t want to raise my kids with that pain and that fear. They’ve been spared. I’ve broken the cycle.

    My mother was routinely spanked when her father got home from work. It was grown into her very being. This is not an excuse. I can say it’s no excuse because it was grown into my being and I have resisted. So have my siblings for the most part.

    When I asked my mother “why did you do it?” she said “back then it’s just what you did. Everyone did it.”

    Well I had friends whose parents did not do it. Everyone did NOT do it. Some did. Everyone turned a blind-eye; that’s what everyone did. She turned a blind-eye to what she saw other parents doing and it was much, much worse than what she herself did. The attitude was “oh well, some of us are spanking and some of us are throwing our kids against walls and that sort of thing, oh well, everyone’s doing it to some degree, mustn’t interfere!” But she’d go to bed at night, she told me, and think “I have got to do better tomorrow”.

    Well I’m sorry to those of you who are anti-Section 59, but someone should have interfered. I have interfered and taken verbal abuse in order to get a parent to reflect on their behaviour. I would do it again any day in an instant if I saw a child being hurt by an angry parent.

    Anyone like my husband, whose worst spanking was a light and semi-playful tap on the bum with a wooden spoon or a couple of oranges fired in his direction, will not really know what I mean. Not at a cellular level anyway. Dave mentioned Celia Lashlie and I have been lucky to chew her ear not long ago and found out that despite apparently having called the laws “dopey” she admired Tariana Turia as an MP – a supporter of the anti-smacking law. To sum it up, I would say that the law change was necessary, but does not solve any problems and probably introduces some new ones. But that is life. Why do we expect that doing the right thing will always be simple and easy?

  41. Paranormal says:

    And tracey, that is exactly how social change should be managed. By concerned individuals and education. Not by the strong arm of legislation that will have so many unintended consequences.

    DK you really don’t get it do you, or I guess you really don’t want to understand. Andrei is so right about you Tovarishch.

    “She told me that all of those parents she witnessed who were publicly smacking their children were obviously struggling in their role.” And there’s the rub. You and your leftist ilk have made it illegal and stigmaitised those good parents that need help with their parenting. How will they get help now? If you can’t see the issue here you really shouldn’t be involved in government – ever.

    Let me give you another example. Our neighbours are good people. Second marriage for her with a new baby and an older child from a previous marriage. The new baby is having trouble sleeping and screams through the night and day. As with everything this will pass, but it is stressful in the meantime. My wife has witnessed just how good they are as parents doing all the right things, and tried to help with settling the wee thing. The mistake the tired mum made was to make a joke to the local health nazi about now understanding why some people might hit their baby. Next thing she’s under watch from all the forces of the state – and in a much worse way than ‘we’re here to help’.

    The problem with your big government one size fits all approach is it can’t distinguish the good and bad and has no common sense.

  42. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, the Greens’ investment in social workers and nurses in low decile schools shows that we do get the issue. You keep blaming the Greens for section 59 but you forget it was supported by all parties and John Key himself had an important role.

  43. TraceyS says:

    Oh Dave, I fear that Paranormal will take you apart on that one, as what you have said only reinforces this argument.

    There are two groups in this argument: left middleclass like Dave, right middleclass like Mr E, and then there’s the varied bunch who are the subject-matter (ie. parents who don’t treat their children well). The left middleclass generally are the teachers, social workers, nurses, and other concerned people who are often at the coalface of these issues every day, but not affected personally, and who are distraught by what they see going on. The right middleclass are a bigger bunch who appear to be saying “don’t let the few bad-apple parent’s behaviour affect MY family and how we do things”, and who may also be distraught by what they see going on but generally don’t really want a bar of sorting it out. Fair enough.

    NEITHER will be able to help the third group. Your daughter, Dave (all of 19 is she?), sounds like a classic example of the first group. What would she really know about parenting let alone parenting in difficult circumstances? I was once an idealistic young woman who knew oh so much too…but that was before the children came along and reset my self-image. ‘She’ is the well-meaning individual who is looking in from the outside and making value-judgements that just don’t fit! I find that more right-leaning people are less likely to make these useless judgements. However, they may make a different error. And that is to view “their” problem as not “my” problem, nor should it ever be, creating a them-and-us division which is also not very helpful.

    I don’t know what would be worse for a child who is suffering physical ‘correction’ at a more than reasonable level – 1) Being interfered with (as in Paranormal’s example) and/or taken away by the state, or 2) Being ignored by people who know what’s going on and won’t do anything to help (as in my personal example). Both of these are huge issues in New Zealand and they have been for a long time. My aunt lost her kids to the State for a while some 30 or more years ago because it was ‘thought’ they were malnourished. Conversely, in my family there was overcorrection by physical means and everyone turned a blind eye because “we all do it”. Both these responses are ingrained in our culture and they’ll take a very long time to change. Section 59 alone has done nothing but draw the puss up into the pimple. But maybe that is just what needs to happen before things can change?

  44. TraceyS says:

    *three* groups.

  45. Andrei says:

    The right middleclass are a bigger bunch who appear to be saying “don’t let the few bad-apple parent’s behaviour affect MY family and how we do things”, and who may also be distraught by what they see going on but generally don’t really want a bar of sorting it out.

    Now now Tracey, that is so untrue as to be a grotesque caricature and BTW I know personally a CYFS person and she is a mighty screwed up lady in her own personal life and neurotic to boot – an example of your left middle class at the coal face.

    Not being in ivory towers people like myself know that there is no magic wand that can be waved that will cure the worlds ills.

    And that politicians who come up with grand schemes are selling us snake oil, which is likely to be toxic to boot.

    But what we do is we sort out, as we can, the problems we encounter in own own little neighborhoods, quietly and without making a song and dance about it and thus brick by brick we help improve the world…..


  46. TraceyS says:

    “I know personally a CYFS person and she is a mighty screwed up lady in her own personal life and neurotic to boot – an example of your left middle class at the coal face.” Sure, Andrei, but you can find people like that anywhere. In fact they are actually everywhere! And sometimes being at the coalface can do it to people too. That’s why I have a bit of respect for them in general. More than a bit, really…a lot!

    You know, Andrei, I was thinking about you when writing that passage you quoted above and wondering if you would put yourself in the category of right “middleclass”. I hate using those definitions, but for what I wanted to write, it was unavoidable. I didn’t grow up in a middleclass family and therefore don’t identify as being a member of that category. I am, and always will be, working-class at heart and mostly that is how we live as a family. So not being in an “ivory tower” myself it is easy to agree with you “that there is no magic wand that can be waved that will cure the worlds ills.” Even if there was one, I’m not sure I’d want to wave it. There is beauty everywhere, even in the darkest corners.

    And “sort[ing] out, as we can, the problems we encounter in own little neighborhoods, quietly and without making a song and dance about it and thus brick by brick we help improve the world” is exactly what I am doing with my life right now.

  47. Paranormal says:

    Thank you Tracey – DK you’ve just proved yet again you really don’t get it.

  48. TraceyS says:

    Correct Paranormal he doesn’t get it. I’m sorry that he doesn’t. I get the feeling Dave is a genuinely good person.

    He should sit down and chat with Celia Lashlie. She often presents to people like Dave and she is not critical of them. But she tells it like it is and pulls no punches about the limits to which a bunch of middleclass professionals can help.

    I think the answer lies with the working-class. Only those close to the problem will ever make much real difference. But I also agree with everyone here who says we’ve got to get the legal framework doing as it should, and not doing as it shouldn’t. I’m not sure it is there yet. But I feel that way about a lot of pieces of legislation, employment, environment, and so on.

  49. Dave Kennedy says:

    I am sorry you think that nurses in schools won’t make a difference, I have taught in many low decile schools and have worked with many parents over the years and know the best way of helping people is working with them not dictating to them.

  50. TraceyS says:

    It will make a little difference, Dave, but it won’t solve any problems. At best it won’t do any new harm.

    The nurses will be a great support for the teachers when they get sad and depressed at witnessing social circumstances they can’t change. Can just imagine the staffroom chatter “…ooh how aaawful…………chockie bikkies, anyone?”. There are much better ways to spend the money. I rather like National’s policy which aims to make teachers better at what they are there to do, which is teach, rather than making schools be hubs for social “change”.

    Another problem is that for kids to have the opportunity for regular and frequent access to the nurse, they will have to be within a large cluster of similarly needy others. There is no way a low-decile school of say 60 kids is going to have its own full-time nurse. They will be sharing with maybe five other schools. This will mean those kids don’t have the same access to nursing care as they would in a larger school with a full-time nurse. As you know, abuse and disadvantage don’t just occur on a Wednesday when the nurse happens to be in his/her clinic.

    Or maybe eventually the five small low-decile schools will be amalgamated into one big pool of disadvantage? Probably. Because the success of the policy is vested in there continuing to be large concentrations of disadvantage in centralised locations where it can be most efficiently ‘treated’. Some may think this is a great plan – convenient, and also keeps them from mixing with the ‘better’ classes of people. But I do not. Them-and-us policies are bad policies. This is one of those.

  51. TraceyS says:

    Especially for Andrei @ 5:09pm: yes it was a characterization, and as such, is bound to be unfair. But if anyone is grossly offended by it I’d suggest they’re being a tad oversensitive.

    These types do exist for sure. And good for them being that way. Other people’s kids are not their responsibility. Most definitely not.

  52. Paranormal says:

    So why don’t you practice what you preach DK? You’re a typical green/red trying to dictate how the world must be.

    The Nurses in schools thing is just another failed policy waiting to happen. The majority of parents in low decile schools are doing a good job, But you lefties just want to stigmatise them even further. It is pretty clear your policy, if it ever comes into force, and thankfully there’s sod all chance of that happening, will have a slew of unexpected consequences that were never envisioned by the instigators but are apparent to anyone with a skerrick of common sense.

    Why don’t you try targeting the problem? Oh that’s right, that might actually weaken your voter base.

  53. Mr E says:

    Yes money better spent else where I think. – Sorry Dave.

    “what’s the problem with of trying to stay “above reproach”? ”

    Nothing I think. Luckily for me I am. Sad that I have to use the word luckily though.

    This law has created the following groups:

    Parents that smack and worry about the implications and therefore don’t talk about how to do it correctly.

    Parents that have stopped smacking and have not employed new discipline tools. With children that have stretched boundaries to an frightening level.

    Parents that have light smacked and lose parenting rights. There’s evidence in the lives of people as I’ve explained above.

    I have a bit to do 5-9 yr olds. I make a point of asking those with seemingly limitless boundaries, ‘what happens when they are naughty’. Most deny any sort of punishment. Some say it with glee.

    Whilst I can’t prove that the new laws have increased this type of response, I do believe it has increased. I see it in behaviour.

    I fear for the impacts on society. I see those impacts regularly.

    I realise that the government has set up a helpline to help parents understand the law. But come on! That is like sticking a band aid on the wrong patient and ignoring the one suffering from major blood loss. Helpline. How sad is it that we educate our parents by making laws and then set up a helpline to try and mop up the consequences.

    Good grief, I say. Shame.

  54. TraceyS says:

    Oh, absolutely, I agree those groups exist Mr E. But they are not entirely new. The reasons behind them might have changed. For example, my aunt lost her kids for a while because someone thought they were malnourished but today she’d be praised for keeping the children trim! I was put on watch at high school (ie. had to eat in front of the Headmistress) because someone thought I wasn’t getting enough to eat. It would be difficult to imagine that happening nowadays when we are all worried about the opposite problem! I actually had a good appetite and was very healthy.

    Unfortunately there seems to be ‘fashions’ in the way parents are judged. What will be next? Well, no need to wait, it’s here already – the lunchbox with not enough in it. The fashionable mark of a bad parent. No matter that the child might be perfectly healthy, well-nourished and perhaps even overweight.

    I think one of the most damaging things to come out of the smacking prosecutions is that of caring people now not being prepared to approach another parent privately, on a one-to-one basis and say “hey, I saw you hurt your kid with that smack, was that really necessary?”. The vast majority of people I know would never want to be seen, or actually be, someone who would dob another parent in to the police. They don’t want to be that person who threatens a parent in the supermarket “i’ll call the Police on you!” or notes down the car number plate and then races off to do it without even talking with the parent. They know that if they approach a parent about their behaviour they might be tarred with that brush, and at the very least, that it’s going to be perceived as a threat by that parent and put the fear of God into them.

    Imagine, for a moment, that a nationwide campaign was run on TV and radio encouraging parents to step in and ask the questions when they see smacking happening (exactly what needs to be encouraged). That would not go down well because it would not be trusted in the current climate. Conspiracies about the ‘real’ intentions of the campaign would abound. This is not good, because peer support is probably the best way to make a difference. If there’d been no changes to smacking laws then such a campaign could be run and it would make a difference. We somehow have to get back to feeling safe tapping someone on the shoulder in a caring way, or I too fear the consequences of so many people thinking the law will sort this out for us. It won’t, and entrenched maltreatment of children is likely to become more entrenched..

  55. Mr E says:

    “The reasons behind them might have changed”
    Yep now we have laws that create those “reasons” not social acceptability’s.

    No doubt, a stigma has been placed on parents by the new law.

    Parenting – is a challenging privilege for all involved. I like to think that encouraging good behaviour is our most effective tool. But I can’t ignore that discipline plays a significant role too.

    Sadly I think creating laws around this has simply made it harder for parents to learn the best approaches. We’ve created stigmas, judgements, fears amongst parents. I cant ignore that the law has protected a few, but I also believe that masses are now worse off.

    Laws shouldn’t be allowed to do that. Society should not tolerate that.

    Regarding the review of the law ; they did a review to find out ‘if the law was working’. That review focused on those reported, those charged and those convicted. Not every other parent.

    This was Nigel Latta’s response
    “I think you [parents] can relax,” That statement says it all. The word “think” and the words “can relax”. Parents are not relaxed about it but not “thinks” they should be. Only thinks. Are families willing to take risks on his ‘thought’?

    Ele, you have influence with politicians. I don’t pretend to be any expert. I have but my own opinions, but, I do hope they fall on the ‘right’ ears.

    I doubt I will ever see this law revoked, but I do hope better ‘band aids’ are put in place. Parents need education. Education without fear.

  56. TraceyS says:

    Nigel Latta is a very relaxed sort of guy. My husband and I hosted him on a hunting trip. I felt nervous the children might show my parenting skills. Maybe they did! But he never made any comment or gave any feedback so I’ll never know.

    He is extremely popular and held in high regard by parents from all walks of life. If he said “relax” then I’m pretty sure a couple of million parents would (this is how many ‘likes’ some of his Facebook posts get). It’s good advice. Parents should relax. There’s nothing wose than uptight parents (even Dave will agree) 🙂

  57. Mr E says:

    Then those parents that smack, defiantly, and have parenting orders placed by the courts, lose their rights to parent. Not so good advice, I think.

    The potential exists for good parents to lose their parenting rights (custody) as a result of lightly smacking. It is undeniable. Nigel is suggesting people should not worry about this. That’s bad, and a point I don’t think he has considered.

    I’ve been privy to Nigel’s expertise before. He is clever, admirable, entertaining. That doesn’t always make him right.

  58. TraceyS says:

    Mr E, it’s not illegal to make texts and phone calls, but this could also land a parent in hot water and end in them losing their rights to parent (if it’s in breach of a protection order). This guy is going to jail for 13 months and won’t be able to do much parenting from in there:

    “Counsel Helgi Henderson said Morton’s reason for trying to make contact was his concern about his children seeing their grandfather, his father, who was very ill.

    “He knew he should not have done it but his concern overrode his judgement.

    ”I buy that only to a limited extent,” Judge Coyle said.”

    If I was parenting through a difficult custody situation I’d certainly be on my toes, not relaxed at all. But then I’m not in that situation and therefore feel reasonably relaxed.

    Nigel Latta is first to admit he’s not got all the answers. Last year I had afternoon tea with him and in two hours could not extract a single answer but left feeling motivated to continue doing what I am doing. He gives us permission to forgive ourselves, as parents, for not being perfect.

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