Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Beyond Slippery, This Slope is Slicker Than Owl Shit

There are many things I love about New Zealand - the clean air, picturesque scenery, the native flora and fauna, and, for the most part, the people who are some of the kindest and friendliest I've met anywhere, especially the Maoris and Pacific Islanders. The government, well...that's a differnet kettle of tarakihi altogether, but, to be honest, I'm not real fond of the current state of government back in the U.S., either. New Zealand has a history of being a "social petri dish" (I'll discuss this in detail in a future post), and now under PM Helen Clark's Labour (read: LIBERAL) government, further social engineering and political correctness is never too far off the agenda.

The latest in social experimentation legislation being considered in Parliament is the repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act, which, if passed, will prohibit parents from smacking their children and make it a criminal offense:
A fresh attempt to ban parents from smacking their children has left many confused.

MPs have proposed law changes which would ban smacking but still allow parents use what is termed reasonable force against their children.

But both sides of the smacking debate don't think it will work.

Currently New Zealand parents may use reasonable force to discipline their children and that includes smacking.
This is all in an effort to prevent child abuse, of which one recent horrific case comes to mind, but it leaves way too much open to interpretation. So now compromises are being proposed, but I submit this will only further cloud the issue. What is "reasonable force?" Is "this" acceptable...or "this"...or "that"...? Parents will be scratching their heads as they consider whatever laundry list of circumstances and "reasonable force" the government may deem acceptable or not:
Now a Parliamentary Select Committee has come up with a compromise on the contentious legislation.

It is recommending Section 59 of the Crimes Act be repealed, but at the same time allowing reasonable force to be used in some instances. They include protecting a child from harm, preventing a child from harming others, committing a criminal offence or engaging in offensive and disruptive behaviour.

Parents can also use reasonable force to perform the normal daily tasks involved in good care and parenting.
To be fair, though, the push for this legislation is not coming from Labour, but from one of Labour's coalition partners, specifically, Sue Bradford of the Green Party:
But Green MP Sue Bradford says the repeal of Section 59 abolishes the defence of reasonable force which some parents hide behind to physically abuse their children in the name of discipline.

(snip)

Bradford says under the recommended changes, a parent is technically assaulting a child if he or she smacks them, whether its in private or public.
I have a novel idea: How about severe punishment for those who commit acts of abuse against their children, and stay out of people's lives? But (and I'll detail this, also, in another post) severe punishment for serious offences like murder and rape do not really exist in this country; it's pathetic, some of the ridiculously lenient sentences people get.

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