Key and Bradford fail to reach ‘smacking’ compromise

NZ Herald April 25, 2007
National Party leader John Key and the Green’s Sue Bradford have failed to agree on a compromise over her controversial bill to change the law on smacking. They met for an hour in Parliament today for talks Ms Bradford described as “genuine and friendly” but did not find a way to overcome National’s strong opposition to the bill.The bill removes from the Crimes Act the statutory defence that allows “reasonable force” to be used to correct children. Opponents, including National, say that means even the lightest smack would be a criminal offence. Supporters say smacking has been illegal for more than 100 years and the defence is allowing people to get away with savagely beating children.Ms Bradford said Mr Key proposed an amendment to the bill at their meeting which would insert a clause stating parents were justified in lightly smacking a child, if the smacking was minor and inconsequential. It is similar to an amendment already proposed by National MP Chester Borrows, although the wording is different. Ms Bradford said it was not acceptable, because it would legitimise violence against a child.