As promised, here's some comments on Sue Bradford's Section 59 bill. The select committee is hearing submissions from this Thursday, but if you havent heard from the select comittee and have asked to do an oral submission, don't worry, you`ll hear from them shortly.
As it has now been reported on, Bradford wants to reword her bill to make it clear that it is not the intent of Parliament to make all smacking a criminal offence. Light smacking should not be a criminal offence.
Bradford has been under pressure to come to this decision because she realises that if it is not amended, the bill will most likely fail. Ironically today's media coverage happened less than a week after I was in her office discussing this very aspect with her.
Let's look at how she wants to do it. She presented two options: One is to add so,me commentary or something in the explanatory note that will make quite clear that it is not Parliament's intention that light smacking should be made a criminal offence. The other option is to amend or rewrite Section 59 itself.
Bradford's preferred option is to add something in the Explanatory Note or commentary. If this was done and Section 59 was repealed, light smacking would still be an offence, as the Explanatory Note is for explanation only, it doesn’t have legal effect. What matters is what the law will say, and if the Bill was passed, it would only be the repeal of section 59, not the Explanatory Note, that would become law. One blogger does'nt seem to know that and he works for the Green Party.
Hop along to Frogblog, the Green Party blog They say that Bradford has not backed down. Lets see if they can reword their blog post without using the word " intention".
National wants to do an amendment to define reasonable force. Thats a bit like defining light smacking. If I get time, I'll write something on that later.