Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Deborah Morris-Travers FAIL!

From SPCS' latest press release...

"New Zealanders may have forgotten that in 1997 Deborah Morris-Travis, currently spokesperson for the VoteYes anti-smacking campaign, while the then Minister of Youth Affairs, vigorously lobbied to have condom vending machines in all our schools and colleges and in all places where young people gather. She failed in her "condomania bid" as it was referred to. The Dominion Post (30 June) has reported that Board members of a primary school in her sedate seaside hometown of sunny Otaki, have resigned in the wake of the fallout over children as young as 6 and 10 at the school being forced by their teacher to pick up used condoms in the school grounds. Parents are outraged at the failure of St Peter Chanel's board of management to deal with the condomania scandal and associated health and safety issues involved." - continue reading

One of the key people behind the Yes Vote group believes that there should be condom vending machines in all schools? Heck, what sort of a message would that send out to the youngsters? FAIL!


Yes Vote is claiming that because a couple of academics in Otago think the referendum is a waste of time, then it must be stopped.

One lecturer says the referendum is an "absolutely appalling waste of money” - FAIL

We all know it is Helen Clarks fault that it is going to cost $10 Million. She had the choice to have it in conjunction with the election. But she was more worried about her short term political prosepects than democracy

Another lecturer says the referendum has "no legal impact whatsoever” - FAIL

All referendums have no legal impact. Only Parliament can change the law. As a professer of law, Andrew Geddis should know what he's talking about.

New Zealand needs to have its say on this issue. We forced a referendum so that New Zealanders could tell the Government what they think of the Anti-Smacking law.

I think we all know that paying for lecturers such as these is an 'appalling waste of money'.


The Yes Vote campaign continues to demand that the referendum be pulled before Friday. Their only problem is that they have their spin going the wrong way.

In the below Screen shot of their latest press release they say "Promoters of the child discipline referendum are increasingly damaging their own cause by failing to take the opportunity to call it off" - FAIL - The referendum is our cause! We got the signatures. We forced the referendum. We want all New Zealanders to have a say!

Deborah Morris-Travers goes onto say "“Even among those who support their question, there is an overwhelming belief that the whole exercise is a terrible waste of money." - FAIL. No we are angry at Helen Clark for not having the referendum in conjunction with the election and saving 8 Million bucks.

She continues, "Demanding an amendment to the child discipline law in return for calling off the referendum is outrageous. The law grants children the same legal protections as all other citizens have. This is fair and reasonable, especially when law is being administered sensibly and sensitively." - FAIL. I think we see this law through different pairs of glasses Deborah. We have different opinions. I think you have just explained why we need a referendum!

The Yes Vote campaign are running scared. They don't want the referendum because they know they will lose. It is also a real shame that they have such a low regard for democracy.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Parents in a Rage? FAIL!

The Section 59 blog picked up on a strange comment on the Yes Vote site at the beginning of June...
The Yes Vote campaign has some advice for parents on their little blog...

Parenting tip: Nip anger in the bud... take steps to control your own rage.

rage: noun. Violent, explosive anger; A fit of anger.

Heck, how many parents do you know who rage with anger against their children? Whether they act on that rage is beside the point: what would cause parents to be filled with rage against their children in the first place? Surely a word such as frustration, dissapointment or annoyance would be more fitting?
hahahah, FAIL!

Labour FAIL

The Vote No blog reports...

Family First NZ is welcoming comments by a senior Labour MP that the Referendum wording is not confusing.

What an embarrassment for Labour. They are trying to spread the propaganda that the question is ambiguous and hard to understand - but here's one of their own MPs speaking his mind and clarifying that the question is in fact easy to understand.

Alternatives FAIL

Barnardos offers a list of 21 "alternatives" you can use instead of smacking your child, click the image for the full document:
Some of these suggestions are sensible, some sound silly. It is good to know alternatives for different situations.

But the existence of alternatives does not mean a smack may not be the right choice for some children - that is another alternative as well, and may be the best one for some children. That is why the Barnardos poster gets the FAIL stamp.

And really, I wouldn't want to rely on Barnardos' alternatives. There is some good stuff, such as:
- Encourage them when they do right.
- Make tasks a game ("Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down" - remember Mary Poppins?).
- Model good behaviour.

And a lot of nonsense:
- Take a deep breath and calm yourself down. (It's really your fault the child is playing up you know, you're such a bad parent.)
- Lower your expectations. (Your child is stupid, get over it.)
- Explain why you want them to behave. (Only useful with older children, try that with a 1-year-old.)
- Put precious things out of reach. (Teach them that as long as they can reach it they can have it. This might work in your own child-safe home but will ensure you are never invited to anyone else's.)

The only actual punishment suggested is "putting them in a quiet safe place so they can calm down" (time out). The rest are mainly suggestions about how to deal with the fact your child is a horrible brat.

Law-abiding parents? FAIL

From the Yes Vote "Misleading Claims" page:
Of course law-abiding parents have nothing to fear. The problem is that it is now illegal to smack, so anyone doing that is no longer a "law-abiding parent". So most parents ARE placed in the same category as child abusers, and DO have something to fear.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Child <> Adult - FAIL

Click for full size.

Barnados Lying FAIL!

Dave at Big News has uncovered another major FAIL...

Barnardos have been interviewing children by phone to see what they think about getting smacked. The question they asked
Do you think that adults who are taken to court for hitting a child should be let off if they say they were disciplining the child?
Well, of course they shouldn't unless they were their caregivers. The kids had to push 1 if they should be let off 2 if they think they should not be let off, 3 if they don't know and 4 to hear the question again. Just over half said they should not be let off. Many probably didn't understand what " let off" meant- left off convicting is the assumption.Nor is it clear whether "adults" included strangers.

They interviewed stressed kids who called the Whats Up hotline, a hotline for kids to talk about anything they wish, including abuse. While the kid was waiting to speak to a real person, they were given an automated message with the above question. That's a little like asking turkeys on the 15 December whether they are looking forward to Christmas. There was only a 10% valid response rate...

continue reading Dave's post here.

Practice what you preach

This referendum isn't, wasn't and never will be about "hitting" children.

It's about smacking - which all will agree is a much more specific thing. Smacking generally is regarded as force applied to a hand or to the bottom in response to an offense by the child. The old law allowed this and other force, with the proviso it be reasonable in the circumstances.

But by using the wider and much more generic term "hit", the Yes vote site fails to even participate in the debate. Hitting means, and is intended to invoke images of, force applied in any way, to any part of the body, safe, reasonable or not (and usually not). By doing so, they are able to lump together discipline (which is designed to decrease over time as it achieves it's long term goal) and abuse (which is always random according to the whim of the abuser).

New Zealand has a massive problem with the latter, and the S59 amendment bill outlawed the former.

But it's not like the "yes vote" site endorses misleading statements for both sides - in fact, they're selectively quite opposed to them...
It is clear from the referendum debate over the last two weeks that the question is misleading...
The question is, why is a site that advertises it's presence with misleading statements complaining about what it considers to be misleading statements made by others?

Oh, and it's even worse than that. While the "yes vote" lobby obviously don't allow people like me to comment and correct their site, the referendum question was put to public submission.

The original question we submitted to the Clerk of the House of Representatives back in early 2007 was “should a smack in the context of positive parental correction be a criminal offence in NZ?”

As required by the CIR Act 1993, the Clerk published the question in the Gazette and advertised the question in all major papers with an invitation for anyone to submit their opinion on the wording of the question over a 28 day period.

Only two submissions were received. One from a couple who stated their opinion that a smack should never be a criminal offence, and the other from the Ministry of Justice.

Seems like Barnardos, Save teh Children, Unicef, Jigsaw, Ririki, Women's Refuge, Epoch and Parents Center might have more credibility now had they said something then.

Practice what you preach FAIL.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Discipline not working? FAIL

This poster attempts to push a stereotype that "smacking" parents just smack for every offence, and get more and more violent when that doesn't work. For most parents at least, this is nonsense.

Most parents use a mixture of different methods of discipline. They may say "no" first, followed by removing the toy / object, followed by a light smack, followed by time out for example, depending on how long the child misbehaves. Every parent and child is different. Some may smack daily, some may smack yearly. This stereotype is ridiculous and insulting.

What happens when a 'little smack' doesn't work any more? That's simple - try something else - for example time out or removal of privileges.

But if you won't smack, and time out doesn't work any more, what do you do then? It is the non-smacking parent who has fewer options, and is likely to have far more difficulty finding a discipline method that works for their child.

Yes Campaign FAIL !!

Yes Vote Campaigner Hayden N admits his ignorance on smacking.

He says "The Yes campaign are doing ok, but there isn't anything out there, that in simple terms, explains that a smack was ALWAYS assault, (Even I didn't realise this until recently).

I'm sorry Hayden, but you are quite right. A smack is not assault and never has been. Great to see that you are learning though.


Yes Vote Pleads "Withdraw Petition" FAIL!

The Yes Vote group requests that Sheryl Savill dishonour the 390,000 Kiwis who signed the petition, by withdrawing it, thus causing the referendum to not go ahead...

"If the instigators of the citizens initiated referendum are serious about making life better for children in New Zealand, they should exercise their ability to stop the referendum and save some of the $9 million committed to this futile PR stunt.  This is money that could be applied to making a real difference for New Zealand’s children and their families."

Yeah whatever. We're hardly going to collect 390,000 signatures and then turn round and say "hey, the little Yes Vote group doesn't want us to go ahead with this referendum... let's call it off".

We agree that it is a waste of $9m but this was Helen Clark's decision, as she refused to allow the referendum to proceed as was expected, at the '08 election.


Teach Him - FAIL

This is one FAIL that just isn't funny to think about - what is actually being taught to children as a result of the law change.

Anti-Smacker FAIL!

Our spy on Facebook continues to give us valuable "FAILS"

Here we see Anti-Smacker John Kingi giving us some great support.

On behalf of the YES VOTE FAIL team, Thank you John! Its great that you are supporting our blog!

But I have to say FAIL

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Religious nutters? FAIL

The Yes Vote crowd commonly pretend that those wanting the freedom to smack are fundamentalist religious types who think the Bible tells them to beat their children. This is a blatant lie. Religion has nothing to do with whether you support or oppose parents having access to smacking.

Who supports a Yes vote? Among others:
  • Humanist Society of New Zealand (Atheists)
  • Workers Party (Communists / no defined religious position)
  • Presbyterian Support (Christians)
  • Religious society of friends (Quakers, range of religious views, commonly considered a Christian sect)
In other words, people from a wide range of backgrounds. Click here for a full list.

Who supports a No vote? Among others:
  • Focus on the Family (Christians)
  • FIANZ (Muslims)
  • Libertarianz (Liberals, no religious position)
  • Sensible Sentencing Trust (no religious position)
Also people from a range of backgrounds.

Smacking views have nothing to do with religion. But they have a lot to do with your views on personal freedom. If you are an arrogant authoritarian who believes you know how to run everyone else's lives better than they do, you may support a Yes vote, and want to make smacking illegal. But if you are humble enough to realise that everyone knows best how to run their own lives, you can only support a No vote.

You don't have to be an atheist to be an arrogant authoritatian, and you don't have to be religious to be humble and promote freedom.

Child misbehaving in public? FAIL

You'd think with all the positive parenting tips the Yes Vote crowd have, they would have some way of stopping your child misbehaving in the supermarket. But this is their advice:Yes, you read that right. If they are playing up in public, just give in to them and go home. Forget about buying groceries today, you can eat crumbs until you can next afford to drive to town.

It makes you wonder how many of these people actually live in the real world.

"Stay on message" - FAIL

In parliament, Sue Bradford defended her bill, making it clear that she wanted to stop serious assaults on children.
I would like to take a brief call to make a direct response to Mr Copeland. Of course, as far as I know, there has never been a conviction or a prosecution of someone once lightly smacking a child. That is simply because we have the defence of reasonable force under section 59 of the Crimes Act, which is for the purpose of correction. It is this section this bill seeks to repeal. The problem is that at the moment we have cases where people who severely beat their children escape conviction in court under section 59 of the Crimes Act. The whole point is that this bill is not an anti-smacking bill; it is an anti-beating bill.
She was even happy for smacking to continue... well, back then she was.
"We could ... say as part of the commentary that it's not our intention to criminalise parents for putting their children into a room for time-out or for physically removing them from danger or for lightly smacking them - which are all the things that the bill has been accused of doing."
Today, her supporters are not quite staying on message...
"Promoters of the referendum on child discipline must be truly desperate if they are willing to make a father who repeatedly pushes over his 7-year-old their new poster-boy for 'a smack as a part of good parental correction'," she said.

Ms Morris-Travers said all parents got tired and frustrated but the actions being raised were not good parental correction.
No beating here, not even smacking. No, a man was pushed through the courts for pushing his child.

And, in spite of clear statements from Sue Bradford that she thought light smacking was ok, and that her bill was not even designed to make that illegal, her supporters are attacking a man for a mere push.

In this case, any harm done to the child is far, far overshadowed by the trauma inflicted on himself and his family by the court case.




Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yes Vote Leader Concedes Defeat... FAIL!

Patrick Smellie is one of the leaders of the Yes Vote group. In a post online on 10 June, he admitted that there would be a large No vote.

"You are undoubtedly right that there will be a large No vote. The polling, however, shows there is a large Yes vote available also."

Not only does he concede defeat in the referendum, but he is blind to the consistent polling that shows 83% of Kiwis are opposed to the anti-smacking law.


Children's views FAIL

Smacking – “It’s wrong, full stop” say children

Media release: Barnardos New Zealand 23 June 2009

...The debate around the Referendum ’09 on physical punishment has been widely debated by adults but who is listening to the voice of those who are at the centre of this debate – the children?

As New Zealand’s largest telephone helpline for children and young people, 0800WHATSUP provided an opportunity for children and young people to express their views about physical punishment and whether or not adults should be able to claim a legal defence if charged with assaulting a child.

“The initial results from the survey show that the majority of callers (more than 55 percent) do not think parents taken to court for hitting a child should be let off if they say they were disciplining the child”, says Murray Edridge, Chief Executive of Barnardos New Zealand.

“Despite this, comments from the children and young people who participated in the survey suggest many children are conditioned to expect and accept physical discipline from parents"

  • If a child thinks parents should be prosecuted for smacking, their opinion is very important and should be listened to. BUT
  • If a child thinks otherwise, they have been "conditioned" to think so and their opinion is not valid.
The full report states that the children were asked "Do you think that adults who are taken to court for hitting a child should be let off if they say they were disciplining the child?". Note the use of the emotive word "hit" here and throughout the messages read to the children. But even with such a leading question, only 55% of children said "hitting" for discipline was not ok. Probably even less than 50% would have said "smacking" was not ok.

In fact, most children recognise that there is a big difference between hitting and smacking, and that physical punishment may be appropriate in some circumstances. Note what the children actually said to the counsellors as reported by Barnardos themselves:
  • (Counsellor) “He said it’s not really that good [for parents to hit their child] but it depends on what happened, or what the child did”. He said it depends on whether the child does something ‘really, really, really, really, really bad’, for example, ‘if they break a window on purpose’”.
  • (Counsellor) “The interpretation I got from this caller was that she thinks its OK to smack (‘a little tap on the bum’) but that if there are bruises, it is not OK."
  • (Counsellor) “He said that parents should be allowed to hit their children because there were more students getting suspended from school than 10 years ago.”
  • [Getting a smack] should be ok…if they are disciplining them for playing up, they deserve it…but it shouldn’t be too hard.” “I behave a bit more when I get a smack."
Of the 19 children quoted by Barnados, 11 think smacking is ok in some circumstances (but "hitting" may not be) and 8 disagree. That's not what their media release would make you think.

Barnados FAIL again.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Facebook FAIL

One of our spies sent in a screenshot from a Yes Vote supporter's Facebook page...

"Don't get me started on how much I hate him!"

"I just burst several blood vessels in rage."

Simon wouldn't speak like that about someone who disagreed with him. These are the kind of people who make terrible parents who psychologically abuse their children.

Heck, I feel sorry for their children!

Barnados FAIL

Barnados issued a press relase a few days ago, calling for a yes vote...

"It also suggests that “good” parents are being criminalised by the law when Police statistics show that this isn’t happening..."
You don't need to look at police statistics to know that good parents are being criminalised. Just look at the law: it states that it is a criminal offence for any parent to smack their child for the purpose of correction.

“We know that opponents of the current law are a minority group..."
You reckon? What about the polling which is consistently showing that 83% of Kiwi parents are opposed to the law?


Yes Vote FAIL

hahahah... FAIL!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Child Abuse ... FAIL

Christopher Nimmo in a letter to the YES Vote supporters on Facebook says the referendum, "is an opportunity to make a stand against child abuse"

How on earth will people ticking a box do anything about child abuse?

Sue Bradford even said the anti-smacking law had nothing to do with fixing the child abuse problems of this country.


Green Party FAIL

The Yes Vote group is excited about the Green Party's press release...

The statement is made, "The pair are heartened to celebrate two years of a safer world for our children and young people."

But everyone knows that child abuse levels have not dropped, they have soared in the last two years!


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Phil Goff FAIL

The Yes Vote group are holding up Phil Goff as a standard bearer for their cause...
...the same Phill Goff who responded to the referendum question,

"Well my answer to that is no it shouldn’t be a criminal offence or we should not have people following up and prosecuting parents for a smack in that context."
- TVNZ’S Q+A with Paul Holmes, 12 April 2009 (click here for audio)

Argh. That's awkward. FAIL!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Christian - FAIL!!

On the Yes Vote's write to your MP page you can select that you are either Christian or an Atheist, but what if you're a Muslim or any other religion? ....... FAIL!

To Heck With Parents... FAIL

It's hard to believe, but the following comment can be found on the Yes Vote aren't we special page...

Yeah, you read that correctly. "This referendum... isn't about protecting parents, it's about protecting children."

Someone should share the special 6-letter f-word with the Yes Vote group... family.

No Smacking Poster FAIL

You can download this poster from the YesVote website. 6 steps for encouraging good behaviour in ririki...

In other words...
  1. You're the one with the problem, not your kids.
  2. Just clear out, your kids don't want you there.
  3. Don't tell them off - it might hurt their self-esteem.
  4. If your kid is doing something you don't want her to do, try and distract her... if that doesn't work, take them away. But remember, you may only do this if it is not for the purpose of correction. Otherwise you'd be breaking the law.
  5. Smile, hug and praise your kid when they're good... this will encourage them not to disobey you at other times...  maybe.
  6. Play games with your kids to change bad behaviour.
Yeah, I know... FAIL!

Slogan FAIL

The Yes Vote campaign are desperately pushing a minority view... they know that aprox 83% of Kiwis think that a smack is not child abuse. So what they are attempting to do is to twist the language in order to make their position seem credible. The word "smack" becomes the more emotive "hit", and children are presented as autonomous citizens who need no correction. Here's some of their FAIL slogans...