Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Key and Bradford to meet over smacking bill

It is clear that although Helen Clark and Sue Bradford know it, they will not publically state that light smacking for the purposes of correction is illegal under Bradford’s smacking bill with a possibility that parents could be prosecuted for corrective discipline.

National leader John Key wants to meet with Bradford to see if they can come to some sort of consensus. Yesterday, I read one of his speeches - where he noted three things that most MPs agree this bill should do:
• To prevent violence against children being protected by the defence of reasonable force.
• Not to criminalise good parents who occasionally give their children a light smack.
• To lower the threshold for acceptable physical discipline.
Problem is that the bill criminalises corrective discipline, and Key wants to come to a consensus to pass the bill without parents to be criminalised for light correction. There are two options: Either pass the Burrows amendment, or an equivalent, or to legislate for police to ignore the law with regard to light correction. As it stands, one is not politically achievable and the other is legislative nonsense.

However Key, in his speech 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.
Key does not want to make corrective discipline a crime, Bradford doesn’t “intend to” make corrective discipline a crime. The bill, as it stands does not reflect either position, and nothing constructive will happen in any discussions if Bradford refuses to admit her bill criminalises parental correction.

Meanwhile over at the No Right Turn blog, the blogger has criticised John key, saying that there is nothing to compromise over and all parents who hit their kids are bad parents. He believes that bill is so badly worded that it “does not deserve to pass”? If the bill doesn’t deserve to pass it should be either scrapped or fixed. Yet NRT doesn’t want to scrap it, he doesn’t want to fix it and he doesn’t want it passed in its current form. In other words, he doesn’t have a clue, but as long as John Key and his “fundamentalist Christian mates” don’t get involved, that’s okay.

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