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February 22, 2008 | by  | in Online Only |
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Smack dat petition

A public petition is a great way for a profile political party to garner support from the public and build it’s image. If the issue is topical enough they will get media coverage throughout the process of gaining the 285,000 or so signatures to force a public referendum. However to do it properly they need to own it, the party needs to be visible. The Kiwi party has not done this with its endorsement of an anti anti smacking bill petition.

Today the petition has supposedly reached 325,000 signature. It puts forth the question:

“Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

This question is open and does not really address the point of Sue Bradford’s legislation, which was to stop parents being able to abuse their children and hide behind a defence of discipline. Perhaps a better question, for the purpose of the petition would have been:

“Should some parents be able to abuse their children and get away with it due to an outdated law?”

Perhaps a fairer question however could have been:

“Should there be better education for parents about how to use non violent means of discipline on their children.”

It is illegal for a boss to discipline their employee with physical force, if I see an tagger it is illegal for me to smack him on the botty, if my father was to attempt to discipline me now with physical force I would be able to press charges. Section 59 used to institutionalise violence against children. It made it ok and gave parents a defence to hide behind if they got carried away.

What we needs to happen is the Government needs to work with the Greens to put more information out there and have more education about the amendment. The media has portrayed the repeal as an infringement on individual rights, it is not. It is about treating everyone within our society with respect.

This petition is playing on the lack of information that most people have about the anti smacking bill. It purposefully uses a loaded question to illicit a response. We are supposedly an informed and enlightened country. Lets start acting like it.

This petition has done nothing except reinforce the notion that smacking your children is the best way to discipline your children. Obviously not many people watch Super Nanny. Larry Baldock, leader of the Kiwi Party, is bringing evangelical Christianity into NZ politics.

Make your own mind up about the subject. Read the legislation. Read Bradford’s speeches and statements about the law, do not just jump on the bandwagon blindly.

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The editor of this fine rag for 2009.

Comments (38)

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  1. dave says:

    Jackson,
    Just to note what you have missed out

    1. The pettion is not run by the Family Party – it predates the party’s existance
    2. There are two petition questions – and the second question has nothing to do with a leader of The Kiwi Party.
    3. Therefore the party does not need to be visible in promoting this petition because it is not the party’s petition

    You say this petition is playing on the lack of information that most people have about the anti smacking bill and that as we are supposedly an informed and enlightened country we should start acting like it

    If you say so. Practice what you preach. I would suggest that many of those who signed the petition are more informed than you are. Be informed.Then write. You may then sound like you know what you are writing about rather than jumping blindly on the bandwagon.

  2. dave says:

    oops. point 1 should read Kiwl Party – but it has nothing to do with The Family Party either and the petitions predates both parties.

  3. Andy Moore says:

    Jackson, the thing is that children are not autonomous, whereas adults are. You don’t tell another adult “tie up your shoe-laces”, however it is fine for you to say this to your child. You don’t administer a careful, loving smack to another adult because he did not tie up his shoe-laces (you could trip and hurt yourself badly), however it is fine to use this form (among many) of discipline with your child.

    No-one has said that smacking is the best way to discipline your children.

    And Dave is right, the petition was started by Larry Baldock but has been pushed by a number of groups.

    The question on the petition is fine, it addresses the issue perfectly. Should a smack be a criminal offense? Opponents of the petition claim that the question is misleading.

    As for your suggested re-wording of the question – there have been seven or eight “borderline” cases where parents have got away with excessive force. So no, let’s not change the law, let’s just get the judges doing their job properly, reading the law where it says “if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances”…

    What’s wrong with bringing evangelical Christianity into NZ politics? And, quite apart from that, and I think you’ll agree with me, 83% of New Zealanders are not evangelical Christians.

  4. Its not a good enough response to tell Judges to do their job properly.

    The Crimes Act never included a definition of reasonable, so therefore the Courts had to apply the common law definition. The development of what reasonable actually means has been a continued headache for some time. Its inherently subjective and therefore extremely hard for courts to define. For there to be a definition it must be consistent, unfortunately its very difficult to get that consistency.

    Not to mention that the Courts don’t want to be seen as stepping on the toes of the legislature. From a legal perspective its a much simpler solution to just remove the defense entirely.

    It’s also not entirely true to sideline Larry Baldock. He was in the Christian wing of United Future, and now Leads the “Kiwi” Party. Evangelicals have no place in politics. For the same reasons that theocracies make bad governments. The complete inability to rationally engage in debate and moderate compromise. It’s god’s way or the highway. This is the last thing New Zealand needs.

    Im a firm believer that there are some voices that just do not deserve to be heard, the spittle flying raving rants of the Christian right is one of those voices.

  5. Simeon says:

    “Perhaps a fairer question however could have been:

    “Should there be better education for parents about how to use non violent means of discipline on their children.””

    Yeah well if you would like to start a petition calling for a referendum on that question, then you are legally entitled to do so. You will need around 300,000 signatures.

    Good luck !!

  6. dave says:

    Conrad,
    Yoiuy really are immature and ignorant, arent you regarding this issue. You say the development of what reasonable actually means has been a continued headache for some time. Andy was notdiscussing what is reasonable, he was discussing what is reasonable in the circumstnaces.

    You ignore the circumstances.

    BTW in a democracy EVERY voice deserves to be heard, its that some voices deserved to be heard louder than others.

  7. Jackson Wood says:

    I know it is not run by the Kiwi Party. The leader of the Party just happens to be one of the organisers.
    However Baldock is using it to promote not only himself but his party.
    I am informed. Informed enough to know that I think physcial abuse of children is a bad thing and this law does not prohibit discipline, it just prohibits the defence in a court.
    I guess subtle sarcasm does not flow too well on here. My ‘perhaps a fairer question’ was in light of the loaded question asked.

    83% of NZ’ers are not evangelical Christians, I agree with you there. I however beleive that most of those 83% would rather religion and politics remain separate.

    Are you saying that children’s voices do not deserved to be heard as much as adults when it comes to violence against them?

  8. dave says:

    Jackson,
    You really need to brush up on the law. As Sue Bradford has correctly said, the old law already banned child discipline – the legal defence was for corrective discipline only and of course only applied if you went to court for smacking your kids. In other words you have a legal defence from a banned action – which has now been removed.

    Child discipline is still banned – but you have no defence in court other than ” I didn`t do it”. Furthermore, Bradfords bill specifically bans corrective discipline. Meaning you break the law if you physically discipline your kids.

    Finally, even Bradford says this law was not about banning physical abuse – it is about banning corrective discipline. You don’t agree, and thats fine – but you can hardly say you are informed…

  9. Great ad hominem attack dave. It belies your own misgivings over the issue.

    Your sentence about what is reasonable was completely vacuous. There is no difference in determining what is reasonable and what is reasonable in the circumstances. Circumstantial evidence always plays a part in assessing subjective reasonableness. I’d assumed that I wouldn’t need to elucidate such a basic piece of analysis. It appears I was wrong – the intelligence of some posters here is severely lacking.

    You are also wrong about Democracy. Some voice do not need to be heard. Hate speech does not need to be heard. Violent nationalism does not deserve to be heard. Bat shit crazy logic does not need to be heard. Religiously inspired drivel does not need to be heard.

    Could you do me a favour… could you point out three different identifying traits between corrective discipline and child abuse? I doubt you could, so stop trying to hide your lack of argument in verbose postulation of the semantics of the bill.

  10. Andy Moore says:

    Conrad, I can’t believe I’m even bothering to respond to you. Sigh, but here we go. I am an Evangelical Christian. But… what if I was a Muslim, or homosexual, or a dwarf… do you consider these good reasons for my voice to be silenced?

    Simeon – nice comeback mate.

    Jackson. 83% of New Zealanders say “a smack should not be a criminal offence”. Heck… these might just be twisted statistics from some dodgy (dread the thought – evangelical research center), well no it’s not. I got the 83% figure by averaging out 14 different polls, the results of some of which you can see here: http://equipbiz.co.nz/politik/htm/polls_old.htm

    On top of this, I and other New Zealanders have been standing out at tables, talking to everyday Kiwis, and the overwhelming response has been “I know the difference between a smack and child abuse”. If you think I’m making this up, get out onto the street, and see what the people really think – the socialist media that tells you what you want to know… mate, it is stuffed up – get out there and see what the people have to say.

    Well, that’s opinion – and just because a majority say that something is ok, does not mean that it necessarily is! Is smacking ok? Yes, if…
    1) the force used is reasonable in the circumstances
    2) the parent is not just lashing out at the child in anger, but rather out of a desire for them to understand that there are varying consequences for their actions.

    And why is smacking acceptable? Isn’t it violence? A quick example. When the batsman steps up to the ball, does he smack the ball with the bat? Does he spank the ball? No, he hits the ball. Note the different purposes of the words. The word “smack” or “spank” was created to show that there is a distinction between the two actions.

    Finally, if you tell me that a light smack is illegal because it is violence, then I would say, a tell-off should be illegal too, because it is violence (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/violence).

  11. Andy Moore – would you actually hit your child for not tying up his shoelaces? That’s a bit harsh. Just goes to show the reasons we need the law.

  12. dave says:

    three things that identify child abuse as opposed to corrective discipline
    1 corrective discipline is adminstered in love and was within the law in terms of the legal defence in court only, child abuse has always been illegal and there has never been a legal defence
    2 corrective discipline was reasonable in the circumstances, child abuse is not reasonable in any circumstances
    3 corrective disclpline is administered for correction, child abuse can be administered by anyone

    favour granted.

    is that enough conrad. I suggest you quit while you are behind before you dig yourself into a hole further.

  13. Maybe you could give him a smack to help illustrate your point

  14. “children are not autonomous, whereas adults are” – Andy
    te he he, this is quite possibly the most ludicrous sentence yet posted in a comment on this website. Thankyou, Andy, for informing us that our brains have all been replaced with electrical systems. I guess we now know why evangelicals believe they can convince people that the world is 6000 years old and god loves us so much he wants to torture us eternally for having fun – because they do not understand the human capacity for independent thought. Thankyou for making this clear to us outsiders.

    Dave –
    1. “corrective discipline is adminstered in love” – which suggests that a parent can argue that they beat their child to death out of love. Who are the courts to define what love is? I’m certainly not aware of any legal definition of love.
    3. “corrective discipline is administered for correction” – same problem, the parent will turn around and say they were trying to correct their child – this is not simply an excuse, because real child abuse often is driven by the parent’s misguided views on “correction”

    2. Is a better argument, and I agree there are situations in which light smacking is reasonable. But again, what is the definition of reasonable? Previous to Bradford’s bill, the courts had to decide. What the repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act has done is to put this decision over whether a smack is reasonable (i.e. whether or not an arrest is in the public interest) into the hands of the police instead of the judges.

    Thus the real debate over Section 59, the one we should be having and the one which will determine whether the bill is a good idea, is simply this: are the courts, or the police, better at deciding where to draw the line between abuse and smacking? Defending the old system means proving the judges are more capable at making this decision than the police. Defending the new system means showing that the decision of the police, who may have first-hand information, should not be overturned by the courts. To be honest, I don’t know which choice is better, but I do know that this choice is the real issue here. Those who play up the whole “families versus the state” rhetoric demonstrate an inability to address the real question at hand.

  15. dave says:

    Tristan,
    Thats a pretty good comment – but the courts didnt have to define love, they had to define what is reasonable in the circumstances. Unlike yourself, Conrad sees no distinction between “reasonableness” and “reasonableness in the circumstances”. You asked what is the definition of reasonableness- and I have always maintained that the circumstances of a given situation have a huge bearing on what is reasonable. I suggest you do too. For example if your kid swung baseball bat at your head I think you`d take stronger disciplinary action than if your kid refused to tie his shoelaces.

    No one has to apply the reasonableness test now, police judge whether a smack is “inconsequential” ( or, as you correctly say, being in the public interest to prosecute).In terms of police v courts, I maintain such decisions are handled better by the courts, than the police.

    Finally the real issue is not whether the police or the courts should be deciding such matters, it is whether parents should be charged, prosecuted or conviced for lightly smacking their kids. And given that you agrre there are situations in which light smacking is reasonable, that follows you either agree that a parent should be able to have a reasonable force defence in court or such parents should never be charged in the first place because they are not breaking the law.

    The current law has no reasonable force defence, and all parents wh lightly smack their kids are breaking the law in doing so. And Tristan, you can’t agree with this law And agree that there are situations where light smacking is reasonable and be consistantly logical in your argument.

    PS Laura, I dont smack to reinforce arguments. However thanks for the suggestion. Perhaps you can do it for me. Thwack!

  16. Andy Moore says:

    Laura, I said (February 23rd, 2008 at 12:26 pm) that the words hit and smack are two different things. No, I would not hit my child for refusing to tie up his shoe-lace, however I may smack him if he refuses, reiterating what Dave’s been saying, the circumstances change what sort of discipline is called for.

    You guys seem like thinkers – can I ask you your thoughts on the Government riding rough-shod over the majority of New Zealanders when they passed firstly the repeal of Section 59, and then the EFB.

  17. dave says:

    grrrrrr… that`ll teach me for writing flat tack..
    Police judge whether it is in the public interest to prosecute, courts should decide whether to convict based on the law. Police should not be in the job of convicting. Trouble is the S59 law is bad law – so bad that the police have now become the prosecutor, and convictor by default unless they are successful in diversion.

    Hope that clarifies things somewhat.

  18. Andy – please explain the difference between a forceful smack and a loving hit?

  19. Andy Moore says:

    Hi Laura, please explain the difference between a forceful smack and a loving hit – I didn’t come up with these terms…

  20. dave says:

    Can I? A loving hit is what you do to someone late at night in a dark nightlclub. A forceful smack is the drugs you take before you engage in the loving hit…Really, Laura.

  21. It appears there’s a lot of rhetoric on the side of the smackers. It’s okay to smack your child, but never hit – what’s the difference? And, of course, they only do it lovingly and lightly (although, of course, it’s hard enough to shock the child, so it’s actually quite hard).

    Andy: “No, I would not hit my child for refusing to tie up his shoe-lace, however I may smack him if he refuses.” – Another fine use of rhetoric to say ‘smacking ain’t bad, but hitting is.’ I’m asking you the difference between the two terms, aside from using a lighter, less-forceful word to justify your action.

  22. Andy – if the Muslim, Dwarf or Homosexual couldn’t logically and rationally argue their view point without relying on an outdated, and outmoded moral crutch then I’d be just as happy to see them exit politics. In fact i’d actively encourage it. Ted Haggart was a bat shit crazy homosexual AND Meth addict – I’d advocate to see him gone as much as I’d like to see the xtian right gone. Oh wait….

    Just mentioning other causes (with far better arguments and justifications than yours) doesn’t refute my point at all. Actually it just gives me more ammunition to turn against you.

    Dave – I was going to reply to your stupid post, that just rehashes what you said in your first one without actually clarifying anything – but Tristan did it for me. Thanks partners in crime. You saved me the drudgery of a chore.

  23. *edit* Tristan AND Laura *edit*

  24. dave says:

    Laura, I`ll tell you the difference between a smack and a hit later today – once Ive had my coffee hit. Conrad, suggest you contribute to the debate instead of being a dickhead. Obviously your brain is not engaged early in the morning. Sites like these can engineer healthy debate from all perspectives. Dont shut it down please – take a leaf out of Tristan’s book, or else this site will be lowered to the cesspit level of The Standard blog by the very people who are attempting to make this blog work.

    And I want to se it work.

  25. Yea. I posted at like 5.30 and I hadn’t slept for ages. I still stand by what I said though.

  26. Dave – “police judge whether a smack is “inconsequential” ( or, as you correctly say, being in the public interest to prosecute). In terms of police v courts, I maintain such decisions are handled better by the courts, than the police… Finally the real issue is not whether the police or the courts should be deciding such matters, it is whether parents should be charged, prosecuted or conviced for lightly smacking their kids.”

    I think it’s fair to say that “inconsequential” = “not reasonable” i.e. force was used when it did not have to be used. You say that the police should not be allowed to convict, and they’re not – a judge can no-longer pass judgement over whether the level of force used was above or below the reasonable line, but they can question the evidence used to prosecute the parent, and they can question the evidence suggesting that the arrest was “in the public interest.” (Actually Police National HQ pointed out to me that Robert Peel’s initial Principles for the London Met, upon which our police are based, already make clear that all arrests must be in the public interest. The amendment to Bradford’s bill simply spells this out so that it cannot be ignored as it is in the cases of other crimes i.e. recreational drug use).

    The amended version of Bradford’s bill still allows judges to question evidence, but it makes clear to them that “force” (whatever that means exactly) is not okay. The only difference between this and the previous Section 59 is that judges are instructed to make purely evidential judgements, rather than moral judgements about the level of force acceptable. This is, I think, a very slight improvement on the previous law – but it will have almost nil effect in reducing child abuse and, frankly, any gains it may have made are outweighed by the damage the furore over the bill caused to our national political conversation. At a time when we needed to seriously look at child abuse, we got sidetracked. Furthermore, while the amended bill is a slight improvement on the past law, I believe Bradford’s unamended bill (prior to the insertion of the “arrests must be in the public interest” clause) was unworkable and would have been worse than the previous law. Agreeing to help pass the amendment may just have been John Key’s greatest political move, one which will be hard for a man so light on ideas to top.

    Finally, it is worth pointing out that “non-violent” parental punishments can often be worse than “violent” smacking. Take the example 18th century British penal reformer John Howard (as far as I know, he’s no relation to the former Australian PM). After touring the prisons of Europe, the devoted Protestant became a strong anti-torture advocate, a belief which led him to advocate non-violent parenting: Howard believed obedience had to be “rationally coerced” out of his son, and instead of caning him, would lock him in the cellar for hours. Father and son never had a close relationship.

    What this shows is that force does not = child abuse, and child abuse does not = force. The amended repeal of section 59 does not criminalise parents for smacking when they have no other option (i.e. to stop a child touching a hot stove) as such arrests are “not in the public interest”. The repeal raises the threshold on which judges can acquit parents; this is marginally a positive move but, as I said earlier, will not make much difference, was outweighed by the negative hatred engendered by the debate, and is not the real child abuse debate which we so dearly need to have.

    I can see why you do believe it criminalises all smacking – because you do not consider the “in the public interest” clause to be strong enough, especially since it only points out a policing principle which technically applies to all laws. But I think the fact that this was made explicit means light, unavoidable smacking is not criminal. I guess we’re still left to define unavoidable, though.

    Sorry I wasn’t intending to write so much!

  27. tori says:

    WHEN I WAS A CHILD 5i remember mum would slap my hand or even spank my bottom if i was misbehaving. i have children now & i do the same. yes i slap my child on the hand, yes i smack the behind but i dont abuse them. now this smacking law is in i have to learn to find another way to punish my children which is GREAT! but not easily accomplished. The only education i am recieving is watching “THE NANNY” (its a great programme) thanks to the “THE NANNY” I wouldve had a breakdown.
    I REMEMBER as a child at school a little boy getting strapped by the teacher because he misbehaved. i am glad they abolished that, as a parent i wouldnt want someone else to have the right to punish my child but me, remember we all once called smacking or spanking a form of disciplinary and was accepted by society and the GOVERNMENT(HYPROCRITES)
    Instead they choose to arrest us & put the blame on us so they can cover the real truth about the real child abuse that is happening in new zealand Dont forget the GOVERNMENTS CHILD Protective Services who failed to do their job and got away with it (COVERUP)and those poor children were abused or died. So they decided to smack this law on us parents.

    I was once a supporter for labour but i feel that the govt has let us down again.

  28. dave says:

    Tristan,

    You say that the bill makes clear that “force” is not okay. Actually it is corrective discipline that is not ok under the Act. If it is not correction, it is not covered by S59.

    Youy`re incorrect that the sole difference between this law and the previous Section 59 is that judges are instructed to make purely evidential, rather than moral judgements about the level of force acceptable. The police make the moral judgement by deciding whether it is in the public interest to prosecute. In terms of the letter of the law corrective discipline is similar to the old S59 – smacking was against the law, but had a legal defence in court, now corrective discipline is against the law with no defence. (The original bill aimed to “ban force,” but was changed to ban correction). But instead of relying on a legal defence, smackers now have to counter a subjective interpretation by poice of what is in the public interest – made with no legislative guidance or common law precedent.

    Sue Bradford knew that once the police pass the public interest test to prosecute, a conviction is almost certain – even for the light smacking you Tristan, support through your faith in police consistently administering a subjective test.

    The only objective view stated by the current law is that corrective discipline is unlawful. Crudely stated, the police are able to make it lawful in certain circumstances if they decide to turn a blind eye to the law in the name of public interest.

    So onto the referendum (which was what the initial post was about). The reason I suggest that 300,000 signed the petition was because they want the law clarified. They want the law to explicitly state that light correction is not a criminal offence, as parliament intended – they don’t trust the police to effectively make such decisions based on factors other than clear law.

    Legislators should not force the police to adjudicate on vague law – they need to clarify the law. And because it is police who are effectively deciding whether a certain instance of corrective discipline is against the law, the judiciary has its hands tied if police make a decision to prosecute based on subjective opinion. Explicit policing principles of discretion do not fix up vague legislation as you incorrectly maintain, they potentially introduce common law – therefore corrective discipline can hardly be lawful based on such principles.

    The real issue is not whether the courts or the police should carry the can for vague law, it is whether the law should clarify that parents should have the option of administering physical discipline to their kids without breaking the law and having the police showing interest – and 300,000 people agree.

    I think you would have supported Chester Burrows’ amendment….

    Oh and Laura the difference between a smack and a hit is that one used to be within the law and is done for correction, the other one never was and does not involve correction. A smack that does not have a purely corrective element is what you would call a hit.

  29. Haha okay, so I guess the parent is given plenty of leeway as to when they’re allowed to hit their child, and it’s completely subjective. Why would you need to smack to correct your child? I can semi understand if it’s to control them i.e. if they’re gonna run out in front of a car. But to correct them, why not, literally, correct them? Use words, not force. Use your brain, not your fist.

  30. Unfortunately Laura, a large segment of New Zealand is not as eloquent as we’d like. Tis sad :(

  31. dave says:

    why not correct them? Well, if you want to correct your child, and uphold the law at the same time it is impossible unless the police/courts decide otherwise. Correction under section 59 is not just limited to the physical – which is another reason why the law is dodgy – but in my view correction certainly does not encompass the fist. fist is punching. Punching is not smacking so it is not correction etc.

  32. matt the truck says:

    Yer.. whats wrong with bringing evangelical Christianity into NZ politics? If you work on the Sabbath, you should be put to death. If you don’t believe in God, you should be put to death. If you’re son gets drunk, kill him. Women are subject to man. Sell your daughter to the highest bidder. Its time to follow the work of God. God’s word is perfect. VOTE FAMILY FIRST!!!!

  33. Dave – so is a really hard smack also not correction? What I read from your comment is that correction is okay, because if the kid pisses off the parent, the parent should be able to vent their anger on the child. So it’s not so much correction, as anger-release for the parent.

    I didn’t know trucks could type, nor be evangelical. And I have a BA from Victoria University. Makes you think.

  34. matt the truck says:

    Not smart enough. you’re should be your. I’ll get it when I grow up. One day I’ll be a big Mac Truck… Matt the big Mac Truck. One day I tells ya

  35. Kerry says:

    Weeeeell, wading in late in the argument, I’ll just say I have eighteen years-and-counting of parenting experience.

    It’s not about imposing your idea of ‘right’ on your child, for most of it – yep, there’s a couple of years per child at the beginning where you’re teaching the basics of behaviour and consequences, but mostly, you can teach children how to cope with the real world around them by ‘using your words, not your hands’ – as a very wise kindergarten teacher I once knew used to say – she taught 2 of my 3 children, and she did exceptionally well with my son, who had patterned some of his behaviour on his controlling and abusive father.

    Modelling the behaviour you want to see, is an important part of getting the result you want. If you want children to play without fighting physically, then don’t hit them, it’s as simple as that.

    If you practice non-violent conflict resolution techniques in any other part of your adult life, you will find that these techniques can be used to retrain any bullying behaviour exhibited by children.
    It can even be used to retrain bullying behaviour by adults. Or at least get them sacked from their jobs, à la Clint Rickards.

    For any parents reading this, I recommend “Kids are worth it, by Barbera Coloroso, which comes up with gems like -” if a child can suffer the natural consequence of a bad decision without anyone dying, sometimes the best course is to let them experience that.” – ie: don’t sweat the small stuff, or ‘rescue’ the child/teen from poor choices.

    The other corollory to this is that sometimes the definition of a ‘poor choice’ is completely subjective, and is based on the parents’ need to control an outcome they feel they own (how the child turns out…) which is not a reality-based construct. Each of us have autonomy to make decisions, and with that comes the priviledges and responsibility of chossing how to deal with the consequences, especially in late-teen/young adult years.

    Ask me again in ten years, when all of my offspring have passed the government threshhold for student allowance means-testing, and I am no longer viewed as the financial controller; but I’m pretty sure my answers will come out the same.

  36. Dave says:

    OK here’s a good question. Should the Government give urgent priority to understanding and addressing the wider causes of family breakdown, family violence and child abuse in NZ?

    What do you think of that?

  37. Scrubone says:

    “It’s also not entirely true to sideline Larry Baldock. He was in the Christian wing of United Future, and now Leads the “Kiwi” Party. Evangelicals have no place in politics. For the same reasons that theocracies make bad governments. The complete inability to rationally engage in debate and moderate compromise. It’s god’s way or the highway. This is the last thing New Zealand needs.”

    “Im a firm believer that there are some voices that just do not deserve to be heard, the spittle flying raving rants of the Christian right is one of those voices.”

    Considering I know quite a few Christian Evangelicals, and the reasonable people that they are (“It’s god’s way or the highway” is not something I’ve ever heard one say, in fact quite the opposite, we have to compromise quite badly to live with atheists sometimes), I’d consider your point to be quite irrational, and very uncompromising.

    Does that mean I can ban you from being involved in politics? Because as I see it, that’s your criteria here.

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