You have to wonder what contortions of logic would allow our PM to say something like this:
Helen Clark points out the law passed by 113 votes to eight - a huge parliamentary consensus.
Maybe National voted for it perhaps just to appear soft and lovely, I'm not sure. It seemed to take the sting out of National's critics for a while. Certainly National would not have brought this silly law in. Labour also required its MPs to vote for it.
And she says the law is working overwhelmingly as it was intended.
Assuming the intention was to get everyone's backs up, she is right. But what was the real purpose? Helen Clark has never had children and perhaps her lack of understanding of how families work is showing through.
Clark says violence in the home is the start of violence in the community.
But if the bill was intended to stop child abuse, or even reduce it, it certainly hasn't. That's because the smacking debate has tried to confuse discipline with violence. By suggesting that removing discipline will reduce violence, supporters have misunderstood the relationship between the two. In fact, violence indicates a lack of discipline and to the extent that children now run wild due to this law, violence in society will surely increase.
See Family First for some stories of what the bill has done. CYFS is already a disaster for some families, putting disinterested meddlers in a position of power within families.
If you read 'Brave New World' you will see a future where the state perfectly controls the creation of new citizens, where reproduction is separated from the creation of children. I wonder whether this law is a way of trying to prise children out of supposedly dodgy homes and into state care, where its creators imagine that the children might have a better life. It is a very dangerous road to travel. Children are created by, and belong with families, in all but the most exceptional cases where there is clear abuse or neglect. Even then it isn't clear to me that a disinterested social worker is of any use in repairing the situation - surely there are better equipped organisations who can intervene? Sadly in New Zealand, policies have provided the incentive for people to create a large group of children that they didn't really want. This is probably the root cause of our child abuse pandemic.
The smacking bill continues the meddling, with no clear measure of success. No wonder the bill is unpopular. The referendum should be held with the election - but the outcome of the referendum is anyway not in doubt. Helen Clark's ridiculous assertion that they didn't have time to organise it, while still not deciding on an election date until 7 weeks prior, was self-serving.
The bill deserves to be repealed.