Anger directed at John Key for the wrong reason
In the past few days my support for the passage of the Key/Clark/Palmer/Dunne amendment to Sue Bradford's smacking bill has led to comments in my email in box calling for me to shut down my blog and to "castigate" John Key for supporting the amendment - along with other unreasonable requests. Some people were really angry. I mean really angry.
Firstly, this is my blog. I write what I want to. So I will continue to do so.
What I can't understand about these people is why they are so angry about the amendment which confirms that police will have discretion when investigating smacking complaints. Why are they angry at John Key for an amendment he didn't write, amending a bill that is not even his, that legally changes nothing to a bill with his agreement he has made slightly better, for a bill that was going to pass without his vote anyway?
I would have thought they would have been angry at National for announcing its intention to vote for the bill - but even more angry at National MPs for voting against the Chester Borrows amendment when it was reignited as a Rodney Hide amendment. Such a vote would have given the message that National supported parents right to smack their kids without breaking the law, even if the amendment didn't pass. Voting against the bill will also give that message.
In last month's speech to the Salvation Army, John Key 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.
In a matter of days National agrees to an amendment it says makes it even more likely that parents won't be prosecuted and announces its intention to vote for a bill making smacking a crime. Incredible. Not one of the people who emailed me pointed out the contradiction between Keys speech and National's current position because they were too fixated on the amendment.
As a result of the passage of the amendment, National now believes that no one will be prosecuted for lightly smacking their child so its MPs awill now vote for the bill. It doesn't matter to National if smacking is illegal. It doesn't matter if smacking is a crime. As a group, National is now giving the big middle finger to parents who want to live within the law. This is because National along with MPs in all parties but ACT supports the right of parents to break the law in the belief that they are not going to be caught.
MP's should support the bill only if they think it is fine for parents to break the law as long as they are not going to be prosecuted.
And most do, apparently. Parliament is going to redefine parliamentary intent by including breaking the law it is making as part of that intent, because of one word that is to be deleted from Section 59 of the Crimes Act.
That word is justification.
There will no longer be legal justification for correcting kids. Consequently, good parents may be subject to a CYFS complaint for breaking the law and that is fine with Helen Clark because she is so chuffed that she is able to get the bill off the agenda before the budget.