National to vote for the anti smacking bill
National is to vote for the anti smacking bill after National and Labour agreed to an amendment last night. They should have done this ages ago. They should have gone further.
What the amendment says
To avoid doubt it is affirmed that police have the discretion not to prosecute complaints against parents of any child, or those standing in place of any 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 pursuing a prosecution.
This amendment conflicts with the stated purpose of the bill, being to remove force for the purposes of corrective discipline. This amendment allows force through police discretion, and the amendment can be a defence in court if police unnescessarly prosecute.It is a compromise, it is not ideal, but it may be politically achievable.
What the leaders should have added is that if police have discretion not to prosecute, they also have discretion as to whether they report such discipline to Child,Youth and Family. Its my understanding that as the bill stands, police will have to report all such reported discipline to CYFS. So if they have discretion in prosecuting, they should also have discretion in notification to CYFS.