Thursday, 8 March 2007

2 March 2007 - Family Integrity - Who Has Jurisdiction?

2 March 2007 - Family Integrity - Who Has Jurisdiction?

Who Has Jurisdiction?

When I rang the Minister of Justice Mark Burton to ask about the "plank of wood" he mentioned in his speech debating Bradford's Bill to subvert all parental authority by criminalizing the use of any force to correct their own children, I was put on to his PA Andrian Fryer. Burton had said Section 59 had been used to justify beatings with such implements. So could he give me any details about the case where the "plank of wood" was used? Well, no he couldn't. It may have been a reference to the case in Hawkes Bay where a piece of kindling, the size of a standard wooden
spoon was used. But Mr Fryer really couldn't say. I asked if he was aware that in that case the bruising referred to was caused by a roller blade accident and that the acquittal was not, in fact, based on an appeal to Section 59? Mr Fryer couln't say.

Did it concern Mr Fryer or the Minister that such careless use of language and disregard for the accuracy of the facts opened the Minister of Justice to accusations of deceit? Mr Fryer couldn't say. It didn't matter anyway, he insisted, for it didn't change the Government's stand that the use of an implement for correcting a child was unacceptable.

Mr Fryer made it clear that the civil Government in Parliament has taken a stand on this Bill and will drive it through. As so many others have pointed out, it doesn't appear to matter one bit to this Government that the majority of the population object: this Government intends to tell parents that they must not correct their children with any use of force.........which means they cannot correct them at all, for to correct means at the very least to force the parent's will upon the

Governments have jurisdictions, areas wherein they wield legitimate authority. The Civil Government of Parliament is one government. Then we have local governments, workplace governments, church governments, the governments of individual families and finally the self-government of each mature person. Each of these governments has its own jurisdiction: there is a jurisdiction of the state, a jurisdiction of the church, a jurisdiction of the family, and so on. There is a bit of overlap at the
edges, but it is the characteristic of a free society that each of these governments is free to wield its legitimate authority within its own jurisdiction without undue interventions from the other governments. Parliament, or what we usually call the Government with a capital "G", is only one government among many.

The problem with Bradford's Bill is that it is a naked grab by the central Government of the state of New Zealand to take over the jurisdiction of each individual family government. There is already a legitimate jurisdiction of the state to intervene into the government of the family, and that is when the family experiences gross dysfunction.

Likewise, when the self-government of the individual breaks down and he or she becomes a lawbreaker, again the state Government has then a legitimate jurisdiction to intervene into the government of the individual with Police arrest.

Bradford's Bill is a clumsy attempt to illegitimately extend the jurisdiction of the state into the jurisdiction of every healthy family and to take over the way each family governs its children. This is not the way of state governments in free and democratic countries. Such moves are antithetical to the whole concept of democracy.

Significantly, however, this is the way of totalitarian state governments, such as the communist regimes of Cuba or the old USSR and East Europe before their collapse in 1989. If we in New Zealand do not want to fall into that kind of political and social slavery, we must reject Bradford's Bill and take the government of the family back away from the state.

Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity
PO Box 9064
Palmerston North
New Zealand
Ph: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389

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