Monday, 3 August 2009

There's this referendum...

A New Zealand Citizens Initiated Referendum that asks "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"

Here's the history as far as I have gleaned:
Assault is against the law in New Zealand.
There used to be an exception to the assault law if it was a case of a parent or guardian using "reasonable" force against their child for the purposes of correction. (Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961)
In 2007 this section of the law was changed, essentially removing the exception and outlawing smacking (what Americans call spanking).
This upset a lot of people who think that as parents they have the right to smack their children.
A group of these people got together and followed the protocol to put this referendum to the public.

This question is very poorly worded because it assumes that a "smack" (whatever that technically means) can be a "part of good parental correction." And using the term "criminal offence" is scary, and not in fact what the current law does.

So I vote Yes, because a Yes vote is essentially saying that I want the law kept the way it is now. I don't think that good parents who lightly smack their children should go to jail, despite my Yes vote. The current law isn't doing that.

Here's an analogy. When my friend from the States was here visiting recently we went out to a night club. An obnoxious drunk was being a jerk to us, and my friend slapped him. Twice. He wasn't happy, but he was too drunk to do anything about it.
Was this assault? Yes.
Do I think she should have slapped him? No
Was she arrested for it? No
Do I think she should have been arrested for it? No
Do I think the law should be changed to make exceptions for slapping nasty drunks? No

In the same way, I think that smacking your kids is assault, and I don't think it should be done, and I don't want an exception in the law explicitly saying it's okay to smack, but I don't think that parents who are loving and kind otherwise should be arrested.

Is that all clear now?

1 comment:

votetheday said...

So what the result will be like of this referendum? Will the smacking be forbidden once and for all? Predictions are accepted here -