Anti Smacking Bill
Hello and welcome to another episode of Jay Wont dart's podcast, where I mention my opinion on the Trademe Message Board and made fun of for being vegan.
This episode, I'll talk briefly about the Anti Smacking bill thats caused grief in New Zealand.
My intro was from No Agenda 104.
Before I forget, hi to anyone from the TradeMe Message Board who's listening, I wish I could have gotten some recordings from you to play, no matter what side you are on. Hi to wayne472, merrigj, mikey853nz, and anyone else who is listening from New Zealand.
I could be wrong about details I mention in this episode, so feel free to correct me, I'll give out my email address at the end of this episode.
A little background about New Zealand politics for international listeners. In New Zealand we have MMP, which is a system in which several small-ish parties can band together and become a government, its not "X vs Y", if party X doesnt have enough votes to govern alone, it can get support from party gamma, so it has enough votes to be the government.
In New Zealand, we do have two major parties, one centre left, one centre right, Labour on the left, and National on the right. Labour had been in power forever, but had increasingly been under siege from National gaining more votes each election, Labour would rely on smaller left wing parties to hand it extra votes to cross the line into power again. Generally both major parties get 80 odd percent of the votes, roughly 40 percent each for Labour and National. Labour, the major left wing party normally campaigns on more healthcare and more education, with more liberal ways to get ahead in life, more benefits, welfare and affirmative action for minority races. National, the major right wing party normally campaigns on law and order, lowering taxes and keeping a more old fashioned, work hard to get ahead in life and dont complain attitude.
The Green party is a fairly large small party, probably the third largest party overall. The Greens focus on climate change, pollution, helping people break the cycle of poverty and affirmative action. They are quite left wing overall. The Green party is quite interesting, I think, always having two leaders, one male, one female! The Green's often have crazy and well known MP's, dope smoking rastafarians who ride skateboards, people who get tears in their eyes at the thought of Genetic Modification, or radical feminists who spend most of their adult life on welfare, get arrested in protests, and tell others how to live their lives. I'm being bit mean with my descriptions of the Greens, but they are normally the most crazy MPs in parliament.
Theres also the Maori party, which normally focuses on getting more state assets given to Maori tribes and helping the Maori race, affirmative action. The Maori party is very modern, it was formed in 2004. The Maori party can be either left or right wing, but I often think of it as more Left wing aligning with Labour over National.
Those are the parties I think are the most important ,we have a handful of other large-ish small parties, but they dont matter as much to me personally and dont get a large percentage of the votes at election times.
The labour government, with help from smaller parties, had been in power for three terms , up until the 2008 election when National got in, with help from two minor parties.
Under the Labour government, green party member Sue Bradford had her private members bill about child discipline put into law. It changed Section 59 of the crimes act 1961 to now remove the defence of "reasonable force" for parents charged with assault on their children. This has been known as the "anti smacking bill" as it basically bans smacking your children, it is now a violent act that is not allowed. 113 Mps voted the bill in, only 7 voted against it, so all the politicians were basically fine with smacking being banned.
I have seen people stating that this law DOES NOT make smacking illegal, but in fact only prevents bad parents from beating their children. For this episode Im going along with the mainstream belief that this is a "Anti smacking bill" that wants all physical discipline from parents to be banned, that includes smacking.
National was initially against this bill, but with an addition of part 4, that police investigating claims of smacking could decide if what was done to the child was "inconsequentially" or not. If the police officer thought the child was no worse off from being smacked, they could choose not to prosecute the parents. This was sort of allowing smacking, althought it would be up to a police officer to judge whether the child had been hurt or not which could be risky for parents who wanted to smack their children.
The full section 59 now reads
All that makes my head hurt, I could never be a politician with all those confusing words. The parts I would think would let a parent hit a child are ruled over by other additions at the end. Parents ARE allowed to physically grab a child if they are about to walk into a busy street, they can hold them back from doing something dangerous, but they cannot hit a child afterwards, "bad child, im going to smack you". I've seen people who support the bill saying that smacking is actually fully allowed by this bill, and that what the bill known as the "anti smacking bill" is actually about is stopping parents giving an old fashioned "good hiding" to their children after some time, instead of smacking the child on the hand to stop them hitting another child, it actually means "wait till daddy comes home to hit you with his belt". Like I said before, Im going to focus on smacking, I'll assume this bill is to be against smacking children outright.
Theres been massive public outrage, with around 80 percent of the public apparently for smacking children, and only 20 or so percent against smacking children.
Labour had to have fears people would turn against it because of the anti smacking bill, it had been labelled too "politically correct" and also as a "nanny state", that wanted to control everything people could and couldnt do. Labour had ideas about banning normal incandescent light bulbs, and only having compact florescent bulbs that use quarter the electricity, the sort I use, as well as ideas about making showers have to be run at a lower pressure, they wouldnt have a lovely strong pressure, instead using less water to save on the amount of water used nationwide. People were very angry about both of these ideas, and the anti smacking bill certainly annoyed them even more. National ended up gaining power from Labour, National was against Labours ideas about banning bright light bulbs and strong showers.
National however, is keeping the anti smacking bill, which effectively prevents parents from smacking their children. A referendum was initiated by upset voters, which is happening at the moment, I got my voting paper yesterday. This referendum is going to cost the taxpayer over 8.9 million New Zealand dollars, I have no idea where the money is going, its just bits of paper that get a yes or no tick.
The question thats being asked is "Should a smack, as part of good parental correction, be a criminal offence in New Zealand?" which I think is confusing as hell. I've asked people who are for smacking, and who are against smacking, and people on both sides think its a bad question. It says "good parental correction" as if a smack can be that, something good parents do, but its also "a criminal offense". I think its a loaded question designed to make people vote No, that they are for smacking children, because the question makes it seem like you are making "good parents" commit a "criminal offense". I would think most people also feel a right they have is being taken away by The Man.
You've been very good putting up with my voice for so long, so I'll use a clip of someone else talking for a change, this is a Guide to the anti smacking bill I found on a anti smacking website I'll mention later on, I got this from youtube, its from before the referendum had been issued.
I liked that part "like it or not the bill is here to stay so adopting these techniques is the best way to stay out of jail", well actually a referendum is being held which could overturn the "anti smacking bill" and let parents smack their children again.
I'll play a 3 news story about the anti smacking bill and then the full debate that was on Campbell Live, afterwards I'll tell you my personal feelings about smacking, if I'm voting that parents should be able to smack their children, or not.
<3 news clip>
Ok, as promised, I'll tell you how I myself am voting on the anti smacking bill referendum. I personally am voting Yes, I am against smacking children as I believe it to be an act of violence, calling it "smacking" does not change that it is essentially just hitting another person to make them do what you want. I know many people who are for smacking will be angry that I consider smacking to be hitting, but if its not hitting, if its not physical discipline, then what is it? Its like the people who say they are vegetarian but eat fish! They consider fish not to be meat! They see a fish has eyes, a mouth, they eat and go to the toilet, they breed and have more baby fish, they feel pain, they see, hear, they can sense in ways we cannot, such as feeling disturbances in the water around them, but, "oh no, a fish is not an animal, a fish is a vegetable or something, its not meat!"
No, I say that smacking is the same as hitting, a light smack is the same as a light hit, if child X smacked child Y, even very lightly, we wouldnt let them do that would we? I wonder, if a child smacked another child, would a No Voting parent then smack child X? I think so.
If we dont tolerate children using violence, then why do we use it against them? If a mentally disabled person is "mentally 5 years old", would we smack them in the way we might smack a 5 year old? I dont think so. I've heard arguments that "oh, its a different relationship" as mentioned in the campbell live debate, but no, I dont agree with that, its no different, just as light smacking and light hitting are the same to me.
Now, to be clear, I dont think all parents who smack their children are blood thirsty murderers who come home at night and beat their partners and then kill their children with a coathanger. Im not being silly like that. To smack someone is to hit someone, and thats violence.
I dont see adults smacking other adults, why is that? There comes an age where parents generally dont smack their children, why do you think that is? I would assume its because the child is big enough to smack back, to hurt the parent. Its not fun hitting another person when you could be hit back.
I've already ticked Yes, that a smack should be a criminal offence, you can see a photo of my vote slip on my flickr account.
I know its hard for some parents who grew up being smacked, and who smack their own children, to see that other people have a problem with their behaviour. I was smacked as a child , and I'd be threatened with a smack too. "stop doing that, do you want me to smack you?" or that the parent would be going to get The Wooden Spoon, my mother would hit me with one large wooden spoon. It would be a threat for me, "im going to get the spoon", if I were doing something she didnt like, and sometimes if I did something accidentally that I knew she would hit me for, I'd plead "no mum, not the wooden spoon", although it probably just made me look more pathetic to her as she hit me.
I have a few clips from people supporting my idea that smacking children is violence. I asked No Voters, people who wanted to smack their children to appear, but they either didnt want to be recorded, or were unable to record themselves and send me an mp3. I honestly wish they were on here, talking to me personally, but I've played neutral clips, for smacking clips, as well as my own point of view against smacking clips. So I think this episode has been quite fair to all sides.
Here are two clips I got, both from fellow Vegans incidentally.
Thank you to both Bruce and Sam for appearing on my podcast.
Every Vegan I know is against smacking children. I think my vegan friends are against it, as they see it as a violent act, that a large adult is doing to a small and helpless child. I would think that practically all vegans, who are generally for peace and against all violence, would most likely be against smacking children.
My father went to school at a time when they boys got hit with a cane, the teacher actually physically hit children! Unbelievable! I know my older listeners might be laughing at me now, but I cant imagine teachers being able to hit children. Did they get hit if they didnt do their homework? I know that it certainly didnt stop the bad kids being bad, I've been told by a no voter, for smacking, that her husband would upset the teacher to make him hit them in class, and that they would hide under desks, and run about. They thought it was a great time, it didnt control them. Also, girls didnt get hit with a cane, because they were thought of as "weaker" than the boys I guess? Not sure. My father is left handed, and he wasnt allowed to write with his left hand, I think he would be hit with a ruler for doing that. Imagine schools today hitting little boys for writing with their left hand, which is natural for them, its no different than hitting them because of their race, or because they are gay! Unbelievable, I wonder if the average parent who believes in smacking also believes in hurting left handed children so they have to write like a right handed person. Imagine being the only left handed child in a class room of right handed people, imagine being told by the large male teacher, whos holding a ruler to hit you with, "you're gonna do what I tell you boy, you dont use that hand except for wiping your butt boy, do you want a smack? you want me to hit you? huh? think you're a fancy left hander now do you? hey?". Awful.
I found a website written by a young child
"If kids even once stepped out of line they were strapped or canned. If they got caught not working or doing the wrong thing they would stand you up at the front of the class and make you wear the dunces cap or make you hold out your hand to be strapped. If you were left-handed you were forced to use your right and if you did otherwise your left hand would be strapped until it was too sore to use.
If you were late for school you would be strapped the number of minutes late. The teacher always carried a ruler around to give any body who was not doing what they were told a hard rap across the knuckles. Children had no choice in the work they did or how they did it. Whatever teacher said to do was to be done. For being really bad you could be canned six times and that's where the saying six of the best come from.
Some teachers made you bend over and put your head under the black board so when they canned your back side if you raised your head you would hit it on the chalk ledge"
if I can see this is wrong, then I dont see why other people cant.
Theres evidence from polls that fewer people smack their children now than in the 1960's, its gone down dramatically. The use of physical discipline by parents has been reduced, you can hear that from the Campbell Live debate. The people in the debate were asked if they smack their children now less than they were smacked as a child, they all agreed. I doubt children have suddenly gotten nicer, more polite, dont old people say the opposite? And yet, I would assume that even parents for smacking children, smack them less than they were smacked growing up, and that often parents feel bad about smacking their children. We dont hit children for being left handed, or Maori anymore, so why hit them because they hit another child? An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind, as Ghandi said.
Here are some clips that are both for and against smacking, from well known people.
Tony Blair, former prime minister of the UK,
I dont think all people who smack their kids go on to beat them to a pulp, but a smack is still hitting, and thats violence against children.
Dame Kiri , a new zealand musician,
I dont think you should have to earn respect, you should be able to get it, it should be expected that you are a good person, you shouldnt be punished until you can prove yourself good, you should be treated with dignity so you respect your seniors, that you see everyone as equal.
Helen Clark, former Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand,
I dont agree with Helen Clark, and Labour was for this bill being passed while she were Prime Minister.
John Key, current National Prime Minister of New Zealand,
John Key is for smacking he says, he did it himself, and yet admits there are more effective tactics such as taking away a cellphone. Id hate to have my iPhone take away by mum and dad, but its better than being hit.
I'll also remind you that National passed this bill, with their addition that the police could judge if the child had been assaulted or not on a case by case basis.
last is Sue Bradford, the Green Party MP who came up with this bill, its her creation. She changes her mind all the time publicly if this "anti smacking bill" stops smacking or not, if its an illegal act or not, if she wants it banned or not. Im not a fan of hers, but I can agree with anyone who is against smacking children ,if Hitler thought smacking children was wrong, then I can be on Hitlers side of this single issue.
I'd like to mention two websites that helped me out with my views on smacking.
http://yesvote.org.nz/ vote yes for banning smacking and
http://www.voteno.org.nz/ vote no, which is for smacking children.
Theres also a stupid parody of the yesvote site, by people who are for smacking, they personally attack the positions of the yes vote people. This is linked to on every page of the novote site, they at least think its funny if they havnt actually made it themselves. you can find the silly parody at
I personally agree with yesvote.org.nz, and disagree with voteno.org.nz , but I feel I should mention both sites for the help they gave me as useful resources, as well as for listeners to this episode, thats you, these two sites will help you make up your own mind.
I like the slogans that yesvote.org.nz uses, against smacking children, "hitting kids teaches kids its ok to hit", "if its wrong to hit an adult, how can it be right to hit a child", "is it right to have a law saying its ok to hit a child?" and my favourite question, "what happens when a 'little smack' doesnt work anymore?". I like that last one the best as its something I hadnt thought of before, if you smack your child for doing fairly minor things like spilling milk, or swearing, what do you do if they hit a family member? Do you smack them harder? What if smacking them doesnt work, if they laugh it off, or try and smack you back?
I played a clip of Prime Minister John Key saying he is for smacking children, and yet he also says that if the "anti smacking bill" is shown to be not working, he will change it. Many MPs voted the section 59 change, well basically every MP in the country, but now they say they are for smacking, yet its known as the anti smacking bill! Who knows how this will turn out, even if the forecast 80 percent of New Zealand want to be able to smack children, the government doesnt have to change anything! They could, if they are worried about not getting in next term, but that is years away.
I dont think that only terrible people smack their children, almost everyone I know is actually for smacking! I personally feel its wrong to use violence against anyone, but especially when you are much bigger than the person you are using it against, and they have no way to defend themselves. What can a child do? Say "please dont hit me?" thats not going to stop a parent smacking them. They are most likely too small to smack the parent back, they wont be allowed a tazer to defend them from violence like the police have, and they cant use pepper spray on mum and dad. So what happens? They just have to learn that mum or dad is always right because if you argue with them, they can hurt you physically, and theres nothing you can do about it. You are nothing, they could tear you apart if they wanted to, just like that. I think thats awful. I think children should have the right not to be hit by anyone, and that includes their parents.
Thank you for listening to this episode.
You can find the script for this episode, as well as downloads for every episode of Jay Wont darts podcast at jaywontdart.blogspot.com
If you want to contact me, even just to say you listened, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, j a y w o n t d a r t @ gmail.com, I'd appreciate it.
Have a super happy day, bye.
http://yesvote.org.nz/ vote yes for banning smacking
http://www.voteno.org.nz/index.htm vote no for smacking children
guide to the anti smacking bill
left handed children beaten