Monday, August 31, 2009

NZ Herald FAIL

The NZ Herald has a section on child abuse. However they put smacking in the same category.

Smacking does not equal Child Abuse.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Open Letter FAIL

Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) has published an open letter, claiming that it is sent out on behalf of the Yes Vote Coalition. Only thing is... it's not from the Yes Vote Coalition, but from SAVE leader Johny O'Donnel... I think somebody is going to be getting a smack!

Open letter published below...

Yes Vote Open Letter
Monday, 24 August 2009, 10:20 am
Press Release: YesVote Coalition

Dear the public,

A huge thanks must go to the nearly 90% of voters who chose to vote no in the recent referendum. Many thanks for putting our rights at risk, many thanks for ignoring our opinions of the law, many thanks for voting towards a repeal of our rights, many thanks for being miss lead by an ambiguous question and how could I forget a huge thanks for voting towards children being the only group of people in society you could legally hit- it shows great confidence in us as young people!

Demoralising was the response I got from our group called Students Against Violence Everywhere, despite our tireless efforts to protect our rights from right wing extremists the public still decided it was ok to hit us, not your wife or your husband, not your friend or family member, no it is children our most vulnerable citizens.

It gives us as young people great confidence in our country to think, that nearly 90% of you believe that we should have a law that says it's ok to hit children.

A true and honest thanks goes to those who vote positively, those who decided not to stand for the rights of children being put at risk, those who votes yes. We must thank you from the bottom of or hearts for having faith in us and believing that we shouldn't be hit.

Many thanks
Johny O'Donnell and the SAVE Team


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Foreign Funding FAIL

"Are we allowing foreign political interests to meddle in New Zealand’s electoral process? If so that’s very scary!" - writes the author of the Yes Vote blog in his article, USA Religious Right funds Vote No.

However a cursory glance at the Yes Vote blog reveals the hypocricy in this statement, as it reveals that the Yes Vote campaign has the support of a number of International pressure groups such as Save the Children, Barnados and Unicef.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ultimate FAIL

The people have spoken.

54% (1,421,003 people) of the electoral roll have had their say on the issue of corrective smacking. An overwhelming


of New Zealanders have stated their belief that a smack as part of good parental correction should not be a criminal offence.

This result doesn't merely reflect the polls conducted since 2005: it exceeds former polling.

This is the ultimate FAIL for the small Yes Vote group.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fail quote of the day - Sue Bradford

3 News reports:
The MP who drafted the law change that banned smacking says it will be difficult to draw conclusions from tonight's referendum result.
Sure, In much the same way that Japan might say that it is difficult to draw conclusions from the result of WWII.


Update: Homepaddock lays the smack down... er, so to speak.

Smacking may have lifelong consequences - FAIL

Smacking may have lifelong consequences says the headline at the "Yes Vote" site.
“Suppose there are two medicines that work, but one has harmful side effects that don’t show up for 10 or 20 years. Even if one dose has only a tiny chance of an adverse effect, I think parents would want to avoid that risk. That’s the way they should think about spanking” -
Fear, uncertainty, doubt. A potent mix.

If only there were a study available that looked at those consequences and could give us some certainty about smacking?
Children who are smacked lightly with an open hand on the bottom, hand or leg do much the same in later life as those who are not smacked, found the Dunedin multidisciplinary health and development study, which has tracked 1000 children since they were born in the city in 1972-73.
So why the difference in supposed outcomes between the Dunedin and New Hampsire[sic]?
But the lead author of the physical punishment part of the Dunedin study, psychologist Jane Millichamp, said the project appeared to be the first long-term study in the world to separate out those who had merely been smacked with an open hand. [and those that had been abused]
So does the new study conflate abuse with smacking? Um, that would be a "yes and we're proud of it".

When asked, “Can you think of a situation when it’s OK for a husband to slap a wife in the face,” almost half of those who had grown up being spanked regularly (three or more times a week) said yes.

“If you want your child to grow up to be the kind of person who reasons instead of hits,” he says, “I can’t imagine why any parent would ever spank.”

Yet another rubbish "study" to throw on the pile.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Dear NZ, Sweden Wants To Tell You Something

The Sweden branch of Save the Children has set up a site as Scrubone pointed out, called They claim that "this is what the rest of the world has to say on the anti-smacking law". However not surprisingly, the only alternative translation of the site is Swedish which means that it is in fact Sweden saying this, not "the rest of the world".

Further, it is clear that the site would not have been launched had the Swedish organisers not been confident of a strong yes vote in their poll (currently at 67% yes, 33% no). The most likely scenario is that the site was launched (13 August) with the poll already displaying a majority in favour of the yes vote - and the Swedish organisers will have "justified this" by presuming that all their signed up members would have voted yes anyway.

Either way, it's completely irrelevant to the New Zealand situation. Why would a site that has been operational for 5 days have any bearing whatsoever on the outome of the referendum in New Zealand? Polling conducted since 2005 has consistently shown that over 80% of Kiwis know that there is a big difference between child abuse and a smack.


Apparently we've all been naughty, so Save the Children has setup a site to get people from around the world to tell us all so. A virtual smack if you will.

They've also got a twitter account.

Currently I'm trembling in my boots, and I now regret sending in my voting paper so hastily. I knew that a vocal minority was trying to drown out common sense here, but apparently the phenomenon is world wide.

Don't underestimate the power of these sorts of things either - look what happened to Bush when he ran for re-election... oh wait, the voters just ignored it. At least those sites weren't launched at 2pm on election day - what's with that?!?

But what were they thinking? That we were all so sick of only New Zealanders telling good parents they were violent abusers - what we really needed was for people from other countries?


Sunday, August 16, 2009

DomPost Editorial - FAIL

You've got to wonder sometimes why the Yes Vote site link to things - it's almost like they do my reseach for me. Today, they highlight a massive fail by the DomPost Editorial.

What has discomfited some people even those who back the law's intent is that Ms Bradford equates an open-handed smack on a youngster's backside, or a tap on a toddler's hand, with child abuse.

She is unrepentant, arguing vehemently that violence against children can never be acceptable. She is right, of course.

So in the eyes of the DomPost, the law equates even the lightest smack with child abuse, which is rightfully viewed as violence. Well, they slyly don't say that directly, the reader is left to make the connection.

New Zealand has a dispiritingly high incidence of abuse against its littlest residents; few weeks pass without reports of yet another tot being admitted to hospital after a caregiver be that mum, dad, or mum's latest boyfriend hit out and turned the child into a vegetable.

Our roll of dishonour is long, the names on it familiar ... James Whakaruru, Lillybing, the Kahui twins, Delcelia Witika, Nia Glassie.

In each case, it is hard not to feel that these little Kiwis are better off in the cemetery than they were in the "families" into which they had the misfortune to be born.

It is true, as some critics say, that parents no more than a biological description in too many cases who belt a child within an inch of its life will not be deterred by the law change. They are never, as they punch a grizzling child in the head, going to stop and think: "I mustn't do this it's illegal."

Only too true - abuse was, it and always will be illegal. The law change simply undermined the old system whereby 12 men and women sat down and heard all the facts before deciding if something was abuse. Now thanks to a few cases where the facts didn't match the headline*, it's abuse out of the gate.

But the law change has affected the child-rearing practices of many other other mums and dads. They have diligently tried to learn new ways to discipline wayward youngsters, even when their patience has been stretched almost to its limit. And police report that, despite the fears of Mr McCoskrie and Mr Baldock, they were called to only a few more "child assault events" in the six months to April 4 279 compared with 258 in the previous period. Of the 279 cases, none involved a "smacking" prosecution.

So even though the law change won't stop it's intended target (people who beat children), it's simply good enough to stop people who tap their child on the hand and make them find "better" ways.

While the police may (depending on who's reading the statistics) have only been called to a few more cases, all parents now have reason to believe that the state no longer supports in their duties as parents. After all, describing even the lightest smack is "violence against children" hardly inspires confidence in parenting and exposes all parents (at least in theory) to the threat of government sanction.

Wait, isn't that the threat of violence against parents?

Around here, we describe idiotic logic like that with one word:


*It's also arguable that the prosecutions were incompetent. If you think that's a good reason to remove a defense, David Bain's prosecution was also considered incompetent by many.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sweden's Experience? - FAIL

The "Yes Vote" website is encouraging people to read this article, in a publication called "The Local, which is an English language news service from Sweden.

Bad, bad idea.

As you can see from the screenshot, the "related headlines" show quote clearly that Sweden has not become some sort of utopian example for us to follow.

In fact, reading the second article, it seems that the state is actually one of the worst perpetrators of child abuse!
In its investigation into the practices at facilities operated by Sweden’s National Board of Institutional Care (SiS), Swedish public radio discovered 463 cases of children being forced to spend time in isolation cells in the last half of 2008.

The cells, which are cramped and devoid of anything other than plastic floor mats, are only supposed to be used in cases when children are so violent or under the influence of controlled substances that no other measures work. Children are usually placed in the cells wearing nothing but underwear and can be held for up to 24 hours.

According to Swedish law, isolation cells are never supposed to be used as a form of punishment for young people.

Lawyers with the Children’s Ombudsman who reviewed the files concluded that staff members followed the letter of the law in only a small percentage of the cases.

“When taking into consideration how widespread it is, I think it’s fair to view this as a judicial scandal,” Malmberg told SR.

“What is supposed to be an exceptional measure has been used with great frequency and children have been isolated in violation of the law; it’s been used as a way to punish the children.”
So get that: the same country that tells us that physical punishment is evil, is stripping children to their underwear and placing them in solitary confinement.

MP Helena Bargholtz is forced to admit that child abuse (in terms of cases reported) is actually worse. She then hastily attempts to spin away the facts.
During the last two decades, reporting of child abuse and neglect has increased. There is no clear evidence indicating a corresponding increase in actual cases of child abuse in Sweden. Everything points to other explanations such as better awareness and knowledge of children in vulnerable situations. As mentioned above, attitudes in society have also changed: people today are less willing to accept violence against children. Another reason is that the reporting obligations under the Social Welfare Act have been strengthened and many more groups of professionals are now obliged to report children at risk - so fewer cases of child abuse and neglect fail to come to the attention of the social welfare authorities.

In other countries, where corporal punishment is not prohibited, for example the USA and Canada, the number of reports of child abuse and neglect has also increased. In Belgium, the numbers have increased by almost 70 per cent between 1986 and 1992.

The State's obligation under the Convention on the Rights of the Child demands that all measures must be undertaken for the implementation of the rights recognized in the Convention. Legislation is only one of the measures, but it is an important statement from society that we are no longer accepting physical chastisement of children.
Except that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child makes no such obligation. This is especially evident by the large number of countries that signed it who have not, and have no intention to ever ban smacking. This so called "obligation" is read into the Convention by those who want it to be there.
When the Bill on the anti-spanking law was put forward a member of the Swedish Parliament said: "If we as parents cannot convince our children with words, then we shall never convince them with violence."
You can bet your *** that she never anticipated that sentence ending: "But failing that, we'll just strip them and throw them into solitary."
Sweden's Experience? - FAIL

P.S. Read the comments on the articles, there are some interesting ones.

Corrected some spelling and grammar.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Standard - The police can now search every home

This is unbelievable.

While the removal of s59 is not intended to stop child abuse, it has the ability to start reducing our shocking abuse rates which are amongst the highest in the world.

Complaints to the police on parents smacking their children have increased in the past two years since the law was enacted. With the rise in complaints, it now affords the police the chance to investigate the home lives of those who have complaints laid against them. Parents who run a good household have the least to fear as the police will generally see that the children are well looked after and they don’t fear their own parents as they don’t live under the threat of “getting a hiding”. Police see this, and determine the nature of the complaint is “not in the public interest to prosecute.”

Is it just me, or is that one of the most scary things you've read in a long time? The recent law change removed any defense that force used for correction was reasonable. That means that any parent who used force (or threat) for correction now has only the defense that they didn't do it.

If there is positive evidence that they did, then they are effectively railroaded through the courts. The writer above thinks that it's fantastic that police are called out to the homes of good parents, because then they can use their own personal biases to decide who to present to court.

They can then be convicted, even if what they did was reasonable.

That is such a bad thing legally, it isn't funny.

Friday, August 7, 2009

John Key: Will He FAIL?

Barnados FAIL Again

In 2006 Barnados and Plunket issued a Press Release assuring Parents they would not be criminalised for smacking their children under the new law. They said if Parents were persecuted by Police or CYFS they would be “outraged” and they called upon the Police and CYFS to give assurance that this would not happen. Of course this didn’t happen and now parents are being persecuted. How come Murray Edridge isn’t still “Outraged” ... does he still assure parents they will not be persecuted ?

Click here to read the press release.

Terry Dobbs: Research shows that kids don't like smacking - Duh!

The Yes Vote site today proudly points to Terry Dobbs' research.

Adults may define a smack as something a lot gentler than a hit, but children were clear that a smack is a hard hit that hurts both emotionally and physically.

Fear and pain may sometimes achieve short-term obedience, but in the long term these emotions are unlikely to contribute to positive behavioural outcomes or promote children’s effective learning.

Many of the children believed smacking did not work as a disciplinary tool. They said that the use of time out, having privileges removed or being grounded were far more effective means of discipline.

The children’s responses render many adults’ claims and justifications highly suspect. It is also concerning that quite large numbers of children reported adult behaviour that was in fact abusive.

Unfortunately, her research was... a little flawed.

The book repeatedly claims that Dobbs’ research found physical punishment could lead to harm or abuse, yet all her data established that not one of the 80 children interviewed had reported such harm or abuse. Rather than suggesting smacking leads to abuse, the data suggest exactly the opposite: most of the children she interviewed had been smacked, none of them had been abused. Clearly, if Dobbs’ data indicates anything, it is that smacking does not lead to abuse.

Dobbs argues that “children are, in many senses, the experts on family discipline.” At first this appears just loopy, but examined in the context of the book it becomes apparent Dobbs is not simply saying that because children are disciplined they are experts, but that they have the moral maturity to make judgements about the discipline given them, whereas the adults giving the discipline don’t have that moral maturity. The whole reason children need special care and moral training is that they are not experts, they are not mature, and they are not morally astute. If they are such experts they don’t need “reward” either to establish the pattern of behaviour that indicates maturity and expertise.

You can read about this, and other research over at Halfdone (my main blog) - check out the booklet "by Fear and Fallacy" where the above quote comes from. That booklet goes into considerable detain over the flaws in this and other research, far to extensively to quote here.

Claims by anti-smackers that smacking doesn't work should always be treated with suspicion, if not contempt. Yes, smacking can be done badly and hence ineffectively, but if done correctly it is a useful tool of parenting.

But the biggest evidence is the case that started all this off.

The riding crop smack only came to the attention of authorities because the kid suddenly started behaving at school and social workers asked what wonderful think the parent had done.

The fact that that (very effective) discipline was regarded by a jury of 12 men and women as "reasonable in the circumstances*" set off a media fire-storm stoked by liberal "child protection" groups.

And here we are today.

*Oh, and it's always omitted that "the circumstances" included swinging a weapon at an adult's head. I guess there's an irony in that - a law to stop reasonable actions in response to an attempted serious assault called a law against assault.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Baby (Clayton Cosgrove) FAIL # 2

Yes Vote FAIL is proud to present the second of the series of Baby MP's

Today we present Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove.

He has told the NZ Herald that he will be doodling and drooling (didn't say that part) on his referendum voting paper.

Sounds like a man of principle to me!


A rewarding process for a rewarding process

Throng is asking for fund raising ideas for the upcoming telethon.

As such, we're compiling our own list of things that would be worthwhile seeing during Telethon that would encourage yourself (or anyone else for that matter) to open your wallet.

Perhaps you have the perfect dare for one of the TV3 presenters? Perhaps you'd be happy to bid on an auction to have lunch with Kate Rodger? If you're old enough to remember, perhaps there is something from a previous Telethon that you'd like to see done again? Whatever it is, let's hear about it.

Oh, I have an idea. It's a "rewarding process", and it'll help not just those in South Auckland, but parents all over the country.

Line up all the TV3 stars (and any others who can make it) and get them to apologise to New Zealand parents for:
  • Calling them violent
  • Insulting their intelligence
  • and trying to deny them their democratic rights
John Key could also make a formal announcement that he'll respect the results of the referendum. That would be nice.

Ok, so that's really the sort of idea they're after. How about setting up Sue Bradford in some public place, and let the public give her a light smack? That'd raise thousands.

Why stop there? Sue could do Auckland, Cindy Kiro Wellington, and other MPs who voted for the law could setup in other towns and cities. Don't forget the NGO heads who are still supporting the "Yes Vote".

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Baby (Rajen Prasad) FAIL # 1

Yes Vote Fail is proud to present a series of 2 Mp's who quite literally are babies.

First up is Labour MP Rajen Prasad

This man, who is one of our MP's is going to spoil his referendum voting paper.

It was reported that he doesn't know which way he would vote so he will just spoil his paper.


John Roughan - FAIL (officially!)

This morning Jim Evans, emeritus professor of law at Auckland University has a column in the Herald, which demolishes John Roughan's nonsense of the other day.

Have a read here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

We're right, you are wrong - Judith Collins FAIL

Judith Collins has no regard for the will of the people and the referendum.

She told the NZ Herald on saturday saying the 'anti-smacking' law was being applied correctly.

She went on to say about the law,

"I think it doesn't need to change, so I don't think the question is fair enough."

Well excuse me Judith, but I don't care what you think. The people of NZ might not agree with you and you should be listening to them.

The question may not be fair in your eyes, but that doesn't matter, the people of NZ forced the question. It is our question, not yours.

Its just like saying elections aren't fair because we don't think there should be a change of governmnet.


Nikki Kaye - FAIL

National MP Nikki Kaye told NZ that she likes the government interferring in peoples lives.

She said about the referendum.

"My worry is that many people I talk to see a 'yes' vote as a vote to reduce family violence and a 'no' vote as a vote to stop the Government interfering and telling them how to bring up their kids. I believe in reducing family violence and Government interference in people's lives."

Thanks Nikki, looks like nanny state is to continue...


Judy Bailey FAIL

I read a small article in The Press a few weeks ago entitled "Anti-smackers retain Bailey".

"Mother of the Nation", Judy Bailey's comments are absolutely vile. Her comments in the article are copied below...

"This whole debate was never about light smacking or good parental correction; it was all about the parents who choose to beat their children with jug cords or bits of four-by-two... [The law change] sent a powerful message to us all that hitting children is not good parenting. Children who were hit by their parents often grew up seeing violence as the answer to problems, and whole communities believed "it is normal to hang a child from a washing line". Good parenst have absolutely nothing to fear from this legislation"

Stating that the entire community in which poor Nia Glassie lived was essentially complicit in her brutal torture and murder is just not acceptable.

Bailey's other incorrect comments pale into insignificance compared with this awful, thoughtless and offensive statement.

Monday, August 3, 2009

No one... except those famous people over the road

I typed "Otago" into the "Yes Vote" site, and among the articles found there was this line.
Research shows that physical punishment has been associated with children’s increased aggression; poorer academic achievement; poorer quality parent-child relationships; more depression and anxiety; and decreased self control. No-one has been able to show that physical punishment has any long-term positive effects on children’s behaviour or development. Other more positive methods of parental discipline have been shown to be more effective, contribute to the well being of children and do not pose risks.
Except that is not true.

Groundbreaking New Zealand research has refuted thousands of international studies which claim that smacking children makes them more likely to become aggressive and antisocial.

Children who are smacked lightly with an open hand on the bottom, hand or leg do much the same in later life as those who are not smacked, found the Dunedin multidisciplinary health and development study, which has tracked 1000 children since they were born in the city in 1972-73.

The finding, based on interviews in the past two years when the children were 32-year-olds, will be published this year.


Preliminary analysis showed that those who were merely smacked had "similar or even slightly better outcomes" than those who were not smacked in terms of aggression, substance abuse, adult convictions and school achievement.

"Study members in the 'smacking only' category of punishment appeared to be particularly high-functioning and achieving members of society," she said.

So what of those other studies?

But the lead author of the physical punishment part of the Dunedin study, psychologist Jane Millichamp, said the project appeared to be the first long-term study in the world to separate out those who had merely been smacked with an open hand.

"I have looked at just about every study I can lay my hands on, and there are thousands, and I have not found any evidence that an occasional mild smack with an open hand on the clothed behind or the leg or hand is harmful or instils violence in kids," she said.


Dr Millichamp said the Dunedin study so far found no evidence of the "slippery slope" theory - that parents who started off smacking often progressed to abusive punishments.

So there you have it. Not only is there a study that shows that physical discipline produces the best outcomes for children, but the researchers also reviewed other studies and discovered that they had all conflated smacking and abuse.

In other words, every study that came to the conclusions Dr Smith quotes had used fauty methodology that assumed smacking was abuse.

Now, outside of missing thousands of studies with flawed methodology, it would be easy for Dr Smith to miss the one un-flawed study. There's just one problem with that.

Anne Smith works for Otago University. The study that refuses her is the Dunedin multidisciplinary health and development study, which is based at the same university. Not only that, but the DMHDS is famous - it was and continues to be well regarded and groundbreaking in the field of human development.

I don't know where exactly where Smith or Millichamp are based, but last I checked the Otago Education and Psychology departments are less than 5 mins walk from each other.

Which makes you wonder how she missed it.

Honestly reporting the research - FAIL!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Yes Vote Drives Trucks Through it's own Credibility

In the weekend, John Roughan's regular column descended into farce. MacDoctor outlined the biggest problem.

Roughan’s theory is that what the law-makers really meant by “correction” is the thorough tonking you were given “when daddy comes home”, where children were beaten until they screamed. A so-called “good” hiding. He thinks that the referendum question is designed to legitimize this sort of behaviour, that is is a sort of stealth question that will allow hundreds of Christian fundamentalists the right to beat their children to a pulp.

There is really only one thing wrong with his viewpoint. It is utter nonsense.

Not only is it nonsense, but flies in the face of:
  • Child discipline Case law
  • Most statements on smacking by Sue Bradford
  • All statements by Bob McCoskrie
  • Amendments voted down by the Sue Bradford/Helen Clark bloc
  • Actions of the police since the law change
  • And numerous entries in the Yes Vote site itself
In other words, it's a complete fantasy at odds with all known facts in the debate - including most things the Yes Vote site has been saying.

From the Yes Vote page "How the referendum came about"
And further from the "history of the child discipline law"

In 2007 a heavily amended version of Sue Bradford’s bill became law in New Zealand. It was supported by 113 of 120 members of Parliament. New Zealand became the first English speaking country to introduce legal measures to ban physical punishment of children.

So the "Yes Vote" site is quite clear - all physical discipline is bad, illegal, and not part of good parental correction.

So the question in my mind is this: would the "Yes Vote" site link to a story which states that discipline (outside a "good thrashing") is not illegal, then attacks their opponent? To me, that's not a hard call - If I were the "Yes Vote" site, I'd avoid this one at all costs.

On the other hand though, they've posted some dubious material at times. So did they avoid it?

They didn't.
There was a nice piece in yesterday’s Herald by John Roughan: Sinister undertones to referendum instigators, in which John rightly brings into question what Bob McCoskrie and friends mean by “correction”. He concludes that what the instigators of this referendum are really after is the restoration of their right to give their kids a good hiding.
So there you have it. The "Yes Vote" site just endorsed a column which utterly contradicts and undermines their own view of the new law.

And how do they describe this person who contradicts them? "nice"

It seems to me that the credibility of the entire "Yes Vote" campaign (which, as evidenced by this site, was never very high) is now a big, fat zero. They've thrown out all semblance of principles, simply so they can endorse someone demonizing their most prominent opponent.

I'm frankly amazed someone didn't realise and take it down sooner. I noticed it this morning, and it's still there as of 5:30. Does no one in the campaign read the site?

Being serious about maintaining your credibility - FAIL

P.S. It's almost enough to wonder if they'd post Bob's material, if he abused himself at the end of his columns! Well, why wouldn't they?