Anti-Smacking

Your voice counts…when it suits

87% of voters said NO to the anti-smacking law. 117 out of 122 politicians completely ignored you.

10.00pm WEDNESDAY: In a disgraceful display of ‘we know better than you’, all political parties except the ACT party ignored a succession of polls averaging 82%, a 300,000+ petition, and 87% in the recent Referendum opposing the anti-smacking law and asking for the decriminalisation of light smacking.

This probably wasn’t surprising from the Labour, Greens, Progressive, and United Future parties who had no problem spending $9m to run a separate Referendum rather than hold it during the general election – because they knew how unpopular their stance was

But it was tough to watch National MP’s (all who have been inundated with your emails during the days – hundreds of them!!) vote against the very amendment they lobbied for while they were in opposition but didn’t have the numbers at the time to adopt that amendment.

In 2007, John Key said, “… if the reality is that no one is ever going to be prosecuted for lightly smacking their child, then don’t make it illegal. Don’t make it a crime. It’s poor law-making to write a very strict law and then trust the police and the courts not to enforce it strongly . The law shouldn’t depend on which police officer or which judge or which jury you happen to get on the day.”

The law is not working and we have published many examples of good families being prosecuted and investigated by police and/or CYF for smacking or minor acts of physical discipline – cases which National MP’s still choose to deny. A recent Investigate magazine article exposed the Latta review as flawed and misleading – a revelation which National MP’s also choose not to accept. READ ARTICLE .

We’re pretty gutted by the ‘spit in the face of voters’ – as ACT MP David Garratt said. But we’ll continue to listen to the concerns of families in NZ – and be a voice for them.

THANK YOU to the hundreds of you who emailed the MP’s this afternoon. I was called by a National MP to ask me to tell you to stop. Their emails were overloading!

All we can say is – they’ll be counting on your vote next year. Hopefully we’ll show them more respect than they’ve shown us tonight.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING

ACT MP David Garrett (10min, as the sponsor)

ACT MP John Boscawen (5min on behalf of ACT)

David Garrett (5min in reply – summary)

NOT RECOMMENDED

Chester Borrows (10min on behalf of the Govt) – WARNING – CONTAINS OFFENSIVE MATERIAL

(Ironically, he was the architect of the original amendment which National vigorously lobbied for and was identical to that put up by ACT. He says they didn’t have the numbers to pass that amendment at that time – they do now!!)

URGENT URGENT

Tell National MPs to Listen to Families

WOULD YOU CONSIDER TAKING 2 MINUTES TO SEND AN IMPORTANT EMAIL?

We’ve just learnt that there is a possibility that politicians are going to vote tonight on ACT MP John Boscawen’s Private Member’s Bill which seeks to decriminalise light smacking. The bill is being hosted by David Garratt now because John Boscawen is a Minister of the Crown and cannot host a private members bill. This amendment is identical to an amendment which was supported by National MP’s – until they were told how to use their conscience vote by leader John Key and forced to vote for the Sue Bradford bill (similar to the Labour party). This upcoming vote is an opportunity for the politicians to listen to the public and get this law right.

BACKGROUND
At the end of last year, 88% of voters in the Referendum demanded that the government decriminalise light smacking.

This is an amendment which the Prime Minister only last year said …”I’m not arguing people like the law, nor am I arguing we would’ve got to that point if we had been the government of the day, we would’ve gone to the Chester Borrows’ amendment , I’m not arguing about that actually.”1

On Radio Live just last year, he said: “(The smacking law is) a complete and utter dog’s breakfast.. badly drafted.. extremely vague.. the Borrows amendment was the right place to settle… linking light smack with child abuse is “bl**dy insulting.”2 While Leader of the Opposition John Key said: “The Labour Government has shown utter contempt for New Zealanders and the democratic process with its plan to railroad the anti-smacking bill through Parliament…Helen Clark has refused to let her MPs vote the way they really think on this bill.”3

In 2007, he made a lot of sense when he said, “… if the reality is that no one is ever going to be prosecuted for lightly smacking their child, then don’t make it illegal. Don’t make it a crime. It’s poor law-making to write a very strict law and then trust the police and the courts not to enforce it strongly . The law shouldn’t depend on which police officer or which judge or which jury you happen to get on the day.”4

The law is not working and we have published many examples of good families being prosecuted and investigated by police and/or CYF for smacking or minor acts of physical discipline. A recent Investigate magazine exposed the Latta review as flawed and misleading.
1. John Key – TVNZ Breakfast 3 Aug 09
2. John Key – Radio Live – 4 Sep 09
3. http://johnkey.co.nz/index.php?/archives/60-Labour-shows-contempt-for-New-Zealanders.html
4. http://www.national.org.nz/files/_0_Key_Speech_17-04-07.pdf

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