Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Making it up on smacking

189 Responses

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  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I have already heard calls to bring back corporal punishment in schools in this current discussion.

    I don't think those calls ever went away.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    As mentioned once before it took 50 years after the death penalty had been stopped for a majority of the NZ adult population to support that legislative change. So it will take a few more decades for majority support for not hitting children (although of course the children themselves are never polled). It is hard and scary for people to face and change their entrenched views about these issues.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I’m pretty sure it was 1989.

    Te Ara says:

    The minister of education abolished corporal punishment in 1987, though it was not legislated against until 1990.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Oh well, right government at least. It was a big issue at the time.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Grevers,

    From my experience, the people who opposed the repeal of section 59 didn't, and still don't, understand the law and, more particularly, the meaning of correction.
    There are still circumstances where it isn't illegal to smack/physically restrain etc. a child - e.g. stopping a child from endangering themselves or others is not "correction". Immediacy is a big factor - even a minute's delay could see it become correction.

    New Plymouth • Since Jul 2011 • 143 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    So it will take a few more decades for majority support for not hitting children (although of course the children themselves are never polled)

    Children are sometimes asked. The Herald interviewed a class of students in 2009, for example, while the law change was going through.

    David Farrar recalls conducting his first poll, on corporal punishment in schools while the 17 year old chair of the Rongotai College Student Council.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Te Ara also says:

    New Zealand had the death penalty for murder up until 1961, when it was abolished in a free vote in Parliament. The death penalty for treason was abolished in 1989.

    Which semi-confirms the impression I had that on the day before the death penalty was abolished treason was the only crime you could be executed for. It also helps to explain the half century gap between the last execution and the final abolition of the death penalty.

    What I remember debating as a 17 year old at Rongotai College was FPP vs. MMP, and me being the only one in my circle of friends who supported MMP. I was so frustrated to be just a few months short of being allowed to take part in the referendum.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Boys’ schools were some of the most conservative on the issue. Many had entrenched cultures of violence and little knowledge or practice of alternatives. On social issues like this many people vote for what they know as there is a fear of change or the unknown.
    I doubt you would get primary or secondary schools students supporting hitting these days.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Which semi-confirms the impression I had that on the day before the death penalty was abolished treason was the only crime you could be executed for.

    There were a few others as well, mostly in the Armed Forces Discipline Act (cowardice etc.).

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle MacDonald, in reply to Dan Horne,

    "The study concluded that even low and common levels of spanking were associated with increases in antisocial behaviour. Unlike studies using other statistical methods, this study suggests that the effect of punishment on behaviour is not linear, and challenges the assumption that only frequent and severe punishment is associated with harmful effects." http://ow.ly/syC0u

    It's uncomfortable, but the data in the social sciences literature is crystal clear, in fact from the same paper:

    "The extent of agreement in the research literature on this issue is unusual in the social sciences. Physical punishment is associated with increased child aggression, antisocial behaviour, lower intellectual achievement, poorer quality of parent–child relationships, mental health problems (such as depression), and diminished moral internalisation."

    FACT: there is no known safe level or frequency of any form of physical punishment.

    People can believe what they like, but that's the science.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 81 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Kyle MacDonald,

    People can believe what they like, but that’s the science.

    Thank you Kyle. But do you have the link in something other than that ow.ly format? I can't open it, but would like to pass it around to a few others.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle MacDonald, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 81 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    Thanks Kyle.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Richard Stewart,

    We used to hear stories about parents who had beaten their children with a length of hose or similar, which was deemed acceptable by the courts as 'reasonable force'. This is no longer acceptable which is a good thing.

    There was a brief moment when I was in primary school where this exact thing was discussed, and the school decided that no action was required. I still respect the teacher who went against social mores to bring the problem up at all, and just wish that a criminal conviction had been the outcome. It would probably have saved a great deal of anguish all round.

    I'm with Miche: the consequences to a child of ongoing abuse from a birth parent can easily be worse than the consequences of that parent abruptly exiting their life. In many cases it just accelerates the departure.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Moz,

    I’m with Miche: the consequences to a child of ongoing abuse from a birth parent can easily be worse than the consequences of that parent abruptly exiting their life.

    I have no doubt that this is almost always true.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Whatever Colin Craig may imagine, there is no prospect of any change to the law unless the National MPs who voted for it now intend to reverse their position (and most are still in Parliament). They voted against the Boscawen amendment too - en bloc.

    If they no longer support the law they voted for, it would be nice if they could tell us before the election. But if they do support the law they voted for ... well, again it would be nice if they could tell us - and Colin.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1321 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Except my facts weren’t wrong. That’s what the evidence was. I was aware he eventually managed to get the court to throw out the charge because of the way it was framed.

    I have no idea what the evidence was, or whether it was credible.

    The incident was witnessed by a schoolteacher and her son, who attracted the attention of a just-off-duty policewoman – who was sufficiently concerned by Mason’s behaviour to summon six of her colleagues from the nearby central police station.

    The schoolteacher and her teenage son testified that that Mason punched the four-year-old in the face, and the policewoman told the court that Mason said to her:

    “I hit the big one in the face and that is what I do and that lady [the witness] can mind her own business.”

    The only evidence to the contrary was Mason’s own account, which was in conflict with what he reportedly said to the policewoman at the time of the incident.

    Mason did admit in court to pulling his son’s ear and grabbing him by the hair, which was in conflict with his original account to journalists that he had merely “flicked” his son’s ear. It was this account to the media that prompted the eyewitnesses to come forward. (He would otherwise have got away with a warning from police. It wasn't like they were gunning for him.)

    I do understand why he was acquitted by the Supreme Court – conflating the ear-pulling and punching allegations into one charge pre-empted the jury’s decision and had a bearing on sentencing. Even the Crown admitted there had been a miscarriage of justice in that and the judge’s summing-up. The allegations should have been dealt with as separate charges.

    But do I believe the eyewitnesses and the policewoman who called for backup – or Mason, who changed his story at least twice? It’s the former, quite emphatically.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to simon g,

    it would be nice if they could tell us before the election

    A phrase we'll hear more of in this year of desperate horsetrading. Charter schools, anyone?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The only evidence to the contrary was Mason’s own account

    An account which the NZH was more than happy to air at length, and spin so hard a low humming could heard from several miles away. 'battling kiwi musician just doing the best he can, etc etc.'

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Pavlov's Paradise...
    The Great Kiwi Political Playbook: 1.01,
    'Prod the proles to see what condition their conditioning is in...'

    Well done Graeme, for always bringing it back to the facts, why MSM can't do that itself also eludes me, it should be a Galvanic reaction to check all facts are exactly as presented before proffering for public consumption - that used to be a self-respecting journal-of-record's point of difference.

    ...but Mr Craig's cunning ploy has worked, and here we all are relitigating the minutiae of the outcome of a piece of ill-defined, populace-pandering, scattergun legislation.
    Boscawen's attempt to leaven it with some parameters was on the right path.

    There is always a vast grey area surrounding the spectra of physical memory imprinting, especially from admonishment through to punishment
    (I'd probably take my guidelines from the animal kingdom as to the levels of correction needed for growing offspring)
    and it's in the sorting of cuffs from clips and taps from slaps and smacks, etc (there is no Newton force given is there?) that the confusion (and anger) arises.

    and the banning of Corporal punishment never really dealt with the Psychic punishments that still continued - witness the rise of bullying, hectoring, sledging, trolling, et al...

    in an ideal world no discipline of any sort would be needed...

    </dream>

    or
    and just maybe Mr Craig is being helpful to his new good buddy Mr Key, already... He seems to be a masterfully adept naive-looking real concern-troll.

    Anything going on needs some offstage misdirection - no last minute TPPA surprises or similar in the wind?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    This morning’s Herald editorial:

    The anti-smacking bill advanced by Green MP Sue Bradford became a bipartisan step when John Key, as Opposition Leader, offered to help Helen Clark get it through the final stages in Parliament. Its passage was a profound statement of public standards even if most young parents had already moved to more civilised methods of correction.

    It removed for good the possibility that any parents accustomed to using violence could suppose the law in this country condoned it. If it has not changed their behaviour, as the bill’s critics continue to claim, it has removed any sanction for them and they can no longer claim to any misapprehension of their legal rights. When the law’s opponents exaggerate the way it is being enforced they do its message a favour.

    Mr Craig needs to learn the difference between conservatism and regression. Conservatism is reluctant to change but it can recognise progress. It can tell the difference between what is valuable and worth keeping and what is primitive. Parenting is one of the hardest tasks most people do but modern parents are finding methods that do not give their children lessons in violence.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    As much as I abhor Colin Craig and his sycophants for their advocacy of parental corporal punishment, could I note that the Con Party has other undesirable attributes...such as supporting restrictions on abortion access for competent minors under sixteen, for instance?

    http://www.werewolf.co.nz

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    SOP; “Standard Operating Procedure”: Usage example: “A conservative politician just making stuff up in support of unfounded beliefs is SOP.” See G W Bush / Iraq War.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers, in reply to Russell Brown,

    All credit to the Herald for taking Craig to task.

    However....the Herald and the Dom Post are past masters at dog whistling in a dozen news stories…and then repudiating that message in an editorial read by far fewer people. This way they look “balanced"….but they know full well the overall impact of the two tips firmly one way….

    I’ve been watching media for almost 40 years. This is one of the oldest methods around for shaping public opinion while pretending not to.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    Hot off the presses:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/9611678/Woman-assaults-daughter-with-jandal

    Being smacked with a jandal or a belt was fairly common when I was a kid in the 70s (not for me though). Nice to see it is now called what it is: "assault".

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

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