Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Family Integrity # 151 -- Bill's new timetable

Family Integrity # 151 -- Bill's new timetable


The report of the Select Committee who considered this Bill to repeal Section 59 can be read at: http://tinyurl.com/yk49lh

The bulk of it is spin doctoring of the issues and not at all helpful. However, their proposed re-write of Section 59 is on the last two pages of the report, and it is crucial to become familiar with this. (It is reproduced below).

The old Section 59 only allowed one motivation for the use of reasonable force with children: correction. This proposed new Section 59 specifically prohibits only one motivation for the use of reasonable force with children: correction. Bradford has come clean at last: she wants to prohibit parents from correcting their own children. This proposed new bill allows reasonable force to be used in three areas: "preventing" harm, starting or continuing criminal behaviour, or starting or continuing offensive and disruptive behaviour. But parents are not allowed to use reasonable force to enforce good or right or proper behaviour. The proposed Bill is hopelessly contradictory and introduces a large number of words and concepts without defining them.

However, the one piece that is absolutely clear is that this new Bill intends to make it illegal for parents to use any force whatsoever to correct their own children.

1. Repeal of Section 59 has been in the Media a lot this week. Look here for some good reports:


2. Where to now:

Look at http://www.familyintegrity.org.nz/page/887173

According to information on the Parliamentary web site, "A bill can be read a second time no sooner than the third sitting day after the select committee reports to the House." For Bradford's Bill on Section 59 it looks like this: the Select Committee's report was tabled in Parliament on 20 November 2006. The first sitting, that is, the first day Parliament sits to consider Private Members' Bills such as the one to repeal Section 59, is Wednesday 22 November 2006. Parliament sits to consider Private Members' Bills on every second Wednesday, that is, fortnightly. It is therefore probable that the second sitting day will be Wednesday 13 December 2006. So the probable third sitting, and the earliest that the Bill could be debated again in Parliament, is Wednesday 21 February 2007. So it appears that the next time Parliament addresses this Bill will be no sooner than Wednesday 21 February or possibly into March.

3. Stuff Poll results: Should parents be able to smack their children without fear of breaking the law? Yes (7351 votes, 85.6%) , No (1004 votes, 11.7%) , Not sure (232 votes, 2.7%)

4. There, continues, therefore, to be an urgency for us all to be writing/visiting/phoning our MPs. All MP contact details can be found at: http://www.familyintegrity.org.nz/page/588413.

Tell the MPs you are totally opposed to the repeal or the amendment of Section 59. Ask them to leave Section 59 just as it is and to simply dump Bradford's Bill as it is far too damaging to families.
Proposed Rewrite of Section 59
59 Parental Control
(1) Every parent of a child and every person in the place of a parent of the child is justified in using force if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances and is for the purpose of --
(a) preventing or minimising harm to the child or another person; or
(b) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in conduct that amounts to a criminal offence; or
(c) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in offensive or disruptive behaviour; or
(d) performing the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting.

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) or in any rule of common law justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction.

(3) Subsection (2) prevails over subsection (1).

Craig and Barbara Smith

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