NZ Herald Oct 25, 2008
In a year when the morals and ethics of our political parties seem at an all-time low, voters are focused on policies sidling into our sitting rooms. Many morally contentious issues are designated conscience votes by political parties, meaning their members do not have to vote along party lines. The anti-smacking bill proposed by Sue Bradford of the Greens and finally cobbled together by Helen Clark and John Key started out as a conscience issue and ended up as a party vote for Labour, National and the Greens, who voted 100 per cent in favour. Meanwhile, there was overwhelming opposition to the bill out in the community. Parents do not want the Government telling them how to parent. They say loss of discipline at home contributes to bad behaviour, out-of-control youngsters and, eventually, rising crime.
..While Mr McCroskie’s organisation is a pressure group rather than a political party, it has signed on as a Third Party and is spending a chunk of its allocated $120,000 to push family values – and undermine this legislation. Mr McCroskie says the law sends an underlying message that parents aren’t really in charge. “Kids are saying, ‘You can’t tell me what to do!’ We need to establish parenting within the law and parents don’t feel they’ve got it.” He talks about a consistent message (feeding through legislation) that we don’t rate parents. “We don’t recognise parenting as a career choice. The message is, ‘If you want to be a contributing member of society, get yourself a real job.”‘ He is talking about paid parental leave, 20 hours’ free childcare and all the other measures designed to make it easy for mothers to go back to work.