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Larry Baldock on the Question

0 comments | 1:42 pm | top |
Larry Baldock cuts through the confusion and misinformation with an explanation of how the petition question came into being. Below are a few excerpts from his must-read article on the NZCPR.

The original question we submitted to the Clerk of the House of Representatives back in early 2007 was “should a smack in the context of positive parental correction be a criminal offence in NZ?”


Larry and the 390,000 signatures
As required by the CIR Act 1993, the Clerk published the question in the Gazette and advertised the question in all major papers with an invitation for anyone to submit their opinion on the wording of the question over a 28 day period.

Only two submissions were received. One from a couple who stated their opinion that a smack should never be a criminal offence, and the other from the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry’s submission raised four concerns that were considered by the Clerk in consultation with myself and anyone else the Clerk wished to take advice from as required by S9 of the Act. We eventually agreed to change the wording by replacing “in the context of positive parenting” with “as part of good parental correction.”

The CIR Act requires that the Clerk of the House ultimately determine that the wording;

(a) Shall be such as to convey clearly the purpose and effect of the indicative referendum; and
(b) Shall be such as to ensure that only one of two answers may be given to the question.

At the time the Clerk of the House was David McGee QC who was widely acclaimed as the most experienced and qualified Clerk in the Commonwealth. Upon his retirement as Clerk in 2007 to assume the post of Ombudsman he was given many accolades by MPs for the diligent way he performed his duties.

Surely it is inappropriate for the Prime Minister, Leader of the opposition and Sue Bradford to now be insinuating he did not do his job properly. Especially given that they did not bother to take the time to participate in the submissions on the question when they had every opportunity to.

The words “as part of good parental correction,” simply set the context of an appropriate smack, (reasonable force) rather than the kind of hitting or bashing that might be administered in an abusive (bad) parental situation...

The obvious intent of the question surely is that in the context of good parenting where a smack is not abusive, should a smack be a criminal offence?

Another reason for our use of the word ‘good parental correction is that politicians supporting the new law have constantly been saying that this law was not going to affect ‘good’ parents. They had nothing to worry about.

The real purpose of the law was being hidden as much as possible during the whole debate, and as a result confusion exists amongst the general population about what the new law actually does. The real purpose of the ‘Bradford law’ was to completely abolish any form of physical discipline, for the purpose of correction. This, in addition to smacking, also includes taking a child, against their will, to time out. That is clearly contained in the purpose clause of the new Act, “…by abolishing the use of parental force for the purpose of correction.”

Click here to read the full article.

Hat-tip: Constant Joy
Related articles: Deception from Anti-Smacking Brigade, Herald Article Not Worth the Effort of Reading

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