Kids should not live in fear.

Kids should not live in fear of the people who they love and trust most in the world. Smacking is a violation of that trust and can lead to all sorts of insecurity and possible psychological damage. Surely there’s a better way of parenting.

I believe the NO vote (pro-smacking) is just a reaction to 9 years of Labour, Helen, and Sue Bradford. Kiwis are usually pretty reasonable. In a few years everyone will be sick of Bob McCroskrie and his fellow paleocons. (I know I am tired of his constant moaning — he used to be on Radio Rhema’s morning show, blathering on about how we’re all going to hell in a handbasket.. )

FYI Here’s the actual legislation:

Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007
Section 59 is repealed and the following section substituted:

“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.”

The four circumstances described in (1) seem entirely reasonable. The big change is that as far as I can tell corporal punishment is now illegal. The term ‘correction’ is somewhat vague, which I think was a mistake, as it provides scope for misinterpretation (not to mention scaremongering about theoretical scenarios).

Note: I’ve changed my mind on this issue from last year. Used to be pro-smacking but the law as written looks fine. Parents should not be afraid.
Note (2): Cross-posted here


2 thoughts on “Kids should not live in fear.

  1. I find it interesting that you conclude “corporal punishment is now illegal.” Perhaps this is an interpretation of the word “correction.” (I think it significant that the word “correction” is used – but agree it can be confusing and should have been explained. I don’t think it is in the definitions.)

    But hasn’t corporal punishment been illegal for some time now – at least in schools?

  2. Ken,
    Thanks for the comment; I think Parliament deliberately made it vague. However their preamble explaining the intent of the legislation (at the same link above) should help judges decide how to interpret the law.

    I think the phrase “corporal punishment” serves as a good summary of the law change. It’s been outlawed in all state schools, not sure about private ones.

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