Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Family Integrity # 169 -- The Voting record

Family Integrity # 169 -- The Voting record

Greetings all.

As we've all heard, Bradford's Bill to remove parental authority passed its second reading. Now, those who listened to the broadcast of the proceedings may recall that they voted twice. The reason is related to the Select Committee's report on Bradford's Bill as it was originally written. The Select Committee recommended that the Bill be re-written. As we've commented earlier, the re-write is a dog's breakfast, apparently unworkable and hopelessly contradictory. But apparently it was designed to have the same effect as total repeal.

Anyway, because the Select Committee was not unanimous in recommending the re-write (the two National Party members of the Committee, Chester Borrows and Nicki Wagner didn't like it at all), the whole of Parliament had to first vote to accept or reject the re-write. They voted to accept it. The second vote was then to move the re-written Bill past the second reading into the next stage of consideration. The vote was 70 in favour, 51 against. Here is a breakdown of the votes:

Labour: all 49 in favour.
National: 42 against, 6 in favour: the six were, Katherine Rich, Simon Power, Paula Bennett, Jackie Blue, Chester Borrows, Paul Hutchison.
NZ First: 4 against, 3 in favour: the three were, Brian Donnelly, Doug Woolerton, Barbara Stewart.
Green: all 6 in favour.
Maori: all 4 in favour.
United Future: 2 against, 1 in favour, that being Peter Dunne.
ACT: all 2 against.
Progressive: 1 in favour.
Taito Fields: 1 against.

If 10 votes would swing from being in favour to being against, the vote would then be 60 in favour, 61 against, and the Bill would be killed. If we assume that the 51 who were against it will remain against it at the third reading, we can see that the ones to lobby to change their vote from being in favour to against are:

the 6 National
the 3 NZ First
Peter Dunne
the 4 Maori

The strategy of national is to see Chester Borrow's amendment put forward and voted in. They reckon then that National will vote as a block FOR the bill as it will be amended by Borrow's amendment, and that there will be plenty of other votes FOR the amended version that it will pass in that form. Bradford has said that if Borrow's amendment gets in, she will pull the Bill and kill it on the spot (as the Bill's author she can apparently do that).

I would be pleased if Bradford pulled the bill. I would not be pleased to see the Bill go through with Borrow's amendment, for I do not like the amendment. Why? Because it is based on the false assumption that there is something wrong with Section 59 as it stands. That violence and abuse against children have been justified by juries and/or judges. I do not accept that. No body has come up with any evidence that this has happened.

Further, one of the pro-repeal speakers in Parliament during the debate before the vote, I think it was a Labour speaker, said she'd vote in favour of Borrow's amendment because it was a step in the right direction.....meaning a step closer to full repeal of Section 59. I agree that Borrow's amendment is a step, a big step, in the direction of full repeal.

Further, Borrow's amendment prohits the use of smacking with implements. This will put many Christians who take Proverbs 22:15 as a definite directive to use a rod of correction, rather than one's hand, into the position of being either compromised in their faith or outside the law.

Further, as Borrows has said, his amendment "drastically lowers the bar on the level of force that can be justified by Section 59". The legitimate use of force is a measure of one's legitimate authority. The degree to which parent's legitimate use of force is diminished is also a measure of how much their authority is diminished. And it is also a measure of how much authority/legitimate use of force is transferred from parents to agents of the state, i.e., CYFs social workers.

Nicky Wagner, National, made the best speech of the ones I heard before the vote (I missed a couple of them). She said this entire hooha around the Bill for the last year or so has been one big cop out: it was letting people appear to be dealing with a serious issue: the level of child abuse in NZ: without actually addressing any of the real issues. Banning smacking (or reducing parental authority via Borrow's amendment, I say) will only harm good parents and not affect the causes of child abuse in NZ: drug and alcohol abuse, the culture of violence being pumped into society via the entertainment media, the culture of violence and total disregard for life surrounding the abortion industry and the increased acceptance of assisted suicide and euthanasia; bullying at schools, etc.

I would add that Bradford's Bill to repeal Section 59 is an attempt to force her philosophy of child autonomy and minimal parental authority and maximum state powers of intervention in order to advance the utopia of a radical feminist agenda where so-called "patriarchal structures" such as the nuclear family are completely destroyed or neutralised.

Now, I have said that I cannot agree with Borrow's amendment. I would prefer to work for a return to the status quo....leaving Section 59 intact, just as it is. This puts me offside with people with whom I want to work closely, who see the passage of Borrow's amendment as the only workable compromise situation. Well, sorry, but I don't want to compromise. I hope to write "10 reasons to retain Section 59 as it is" soon, so will leave further explanation till then. But it does seem to me that if an MP stood up and declared his or her intention to fight for a return to Section 59 as is, and to simply dump this Bill, that MP would have 80% of NZers lined up behind. It does seem from listening to MPs, even "conservative" ones on the one hand and people in the street and on talk back radio on the other, that all MPs really are out of touch with what the silent majority want.

Keep lobbying your MP.


Craig Smith
National Director
Family Integrity

No comments: