The announcement that Plunket will support legislation preventing parents and caregivers from giving their children a slap if they misbehave has outraged some.
Already two groups have announced they will oppose the legislation, Plunket Mothers for Smacking (PMS) and Plunket Mothers for Tradition (PMT).
Mrs Jesse Harris for PMS told reporters yesterday that politicians had no right to tell parents what they could and couldn’t do when it came to whacking their own children.
“This is just more social engineering by this Labour Party which is trying to prevent people from doing what they want to their kids, and not allowing us to smoke in pubs and so on.
“If you ask me some of these namby-pamby liberals in Labour are the product of being moddy-coddled as children and most of them probably deserved a good slap across the face every now and again. They still do. We’re bloody angry.”
When it was pointed out that the proposed legislation originated with the Greens Mrs Harris said, “Well some of those bastards need a bloody good whack across the kisser too.”
Mrs Jean Tunney speaking for PMT was of a similar disposition but said their group was also looking at the broader issues of the erosion of traditional roles for parents.
“It has been a great Kiwi tradition to give your kids a smack if they misbehave in a supermarket, like when they get bored and want things. That’s a tradition which we have loyally upheld for decades and we see no need to change it now.
“I don’t know what this PMS group is on about but if they don’t fall into line with us on this vitally important issue I can see we could come to blows, and I tell you, I won’t be the one who is left with a bloody nose at the end of it either, pal.”
The two groups have found an unlikely ally in New Zealand First leader Winston Peters who declared yesterday that the proposed legislation reflected yet another influence Asians “and other foreigners” were having on traditional New Zealand values.
“I have here a list of the names of 27 people who have arrived in this country in the past year who have never smacked their children and are prepared to swear an affidavit to that effect. That’s the level these people will stoop to in order to undermine the values of decent hard-working Kiwis. These 48 people have come here from countries where they don’t even speak English, and I think that proves my point.
“But what we have seen under this Labour government is people like these 63 whose names I have are flooding into the country with no checks on whether they are fit parents, let alone will make decent hard-working white New Zealanders like the people I represent. And maybe some Maori too, I suppose.”
Green MPs are largely reluctant to speak about the impending legislation as some of their members have been abused and struck in the street and their co-leader, that one whose name no one can remember, said yesterday she had also had some unhappy confrontations with a Labour MP over the issue.
“I won’t mention any names, but one particular MP approached me in the corridor the other day and invited me to a game of tennis. I didn’t like the way he said it and I suspect it was some form of intimidation of the kind you might use to control an unruly group of schoolboys. I felt very threatened.”
The legislation is expected to appear in Parliament before the election despite some politicians best efforts to bury it because it is a no-win issue for MPs who are currently watching their backs.
Act’s interim leader Rodney Hide said that discipline was fundamental to a decent society, and to that end Act supported any groups opposed to the legislation, especially those prepared to take matters into their own hands.
“This isn’t a time for division across party lines and personally I’d like to see someone like Gerry Brownlee given his head here to knock some sense into these Greens and Labour Party girly-men. But I am prepared to wait until after the election before I start looking for an excuse to have a whack at someone.”
“We are generally a peaceful society in New Zealand, the odd gang, rugby team and crazy driver excepted,” said Mrs Harris of PMS. “And although some reckon we have pretty high incidences of child abuse and kid killing here we don’t see there is any connection between disciplining a child by using a firm smack or even a belt with rivets in it, and the fact that some bastards go a bit too far.
“We are pleased Mr Peters has swung on board with this important issue and tomorrow I will be approaching him for the names of those 78 people who have slipped in to the country illegally and are campaigning against Kiwi values even before they’ve got their taxi licenses.”
National’s Don Brash said he wasn’t inclined to comment at this time but said as a boy he had often been thrashed within an inch of his life when he told his family he wanted to be an artist and it hadn’t done him any harm, in fact it had got him a good job working with interest rates “which can be lots of fun, you know“.
The prime minister is overseas and unavailable for comment.