Monday, 23 June 2008

mountains and molehills

it looks like the kiwi party have enough signatures for their referendum about smacking. even though a police report out today shows that the repeal of s59 has hardly led to a rash of parents being "criminalised":

In total over the current six month review period, Police attended 288 child assault events, 13 of which involved "smacking" and 69 of which involved "minor acts of physical discipline".

All of the 13 cases involving "smacking" and 65 of the 69 "minor acts of physical discipline" were determined to be inconsequential and therefore not in the public interest to prosecute. Of the four cases prosecuted, one was withdrawn after successful completion of diversion and three are yet to be resolved through the Court.

so the repeal is working as it should - there aren't lots of new cases, and the defence of "reasonable force" is no longer available for those who seriously harm their children. what on earth is the problem with these people, all 390,000 of them that signed the petition? could it be that they don't understand the law, or how it's working? or is it that they think we have to wait a little longer for all their dire predictions coming true, of thousands of good parents languishing in jail* for the crime of smacking?

it all seems so much of a non-issue. yet now, we'll probably have this referendum, which will no doubt be used to push for a reversal of the law. i haven't yet seen national party policy on this - have they said they will consider repeal? or will they just do it if they get the chance and their is enough clamour for change by a vocal few? if they do, it makes a hypocrisy of that party's vote for the repeal.

on another note, poor old ross robertson is still trying to get a code of ethics set up for parlimentarians. i really have trouble seeing why anyone would object to this. it would be a really good look to articulate a set of values and behaviour, then to abide by it or face the consequences if you don't. as a chartered accountant, i have to abide by the code of ethics established by the nzica. all professional bodies have one, and even trades usually have one as well.

the fact that there has been a lack of support for this from other parties is highly suspicious. it makes them look like they are indulging is some highly questionable behaviour and don't want to be held to account or to public scrutiny for it. i hope the first part of the code of ethics will be a stop on the unanimous screaming that occurs at question time when one of the ministers gets up to answer (funny how most of the questions are heard in silence).

*i was going to say "or in home detention", but then thought that most of the people who signed this petition probably think home detention is a soft option that ought to be scrapped as well.

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