Undergroundnetwork


Voting for violence by underground

The question on the paper reads “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”. When I received my citizen initiated referendum voting paper I asked myself “What accelerant would best burn my ballot?”.

Nine million dollars wasted during a recession. The question is absolute bullshit. Anyone half literate agrees. It does not ask the Government to do anything. If the referendum was binding, nothing would come of any vote. And fortunately anyway, our Prime Minister has the sense to shut the whole thing down before the vote is out.

No is yes and yes is no. The question requires one to acknowledge that  smacking is “good parental correction”, against the judgement of the social agencies who we trust with our most vulnerable and child experts the world over.

We are taught that violence is never the answer for anything. New Zealanders’ pacifist psyche has surprisingly been discarded on this issue. All of a sudden violence is a reasonable way to deal with a situation you cannot handle. Don’t say it is not violence to smack a child. To use physical force to get someone to do what you want, or to stop them doing something you don’t want them to, is violence. What message does this teach children?

The issue has been distorted. The repeal of section 59 of the Crimes Act was to remove the defence of “reasonable force”. The cases where this law was used to keep child abusers from justice have been well documented. Those who have distorted this argument are absolving these child abuses of their actions. How was it the country was so easily deceived by coercive lobby groups? The PM has rightly said he will only look at reversing the amendment if it is shown not to work. The police have come out repeatedly saying there is no sign it isn’t working. Is the country not listening?

Social norms change. A referendum 40 or 50 years ago on something like smoking in restaurants or airplanes, women’s rights to choose, homosexuality, corporate punishment or pay equality would have received different results than now. Things that were once not acceptable are now common place and visa versa. It’s called evolving. Otherwise it would be only wealthy landowners casting their votes  while their slaves sustain their lavish lifestyles. Or life in Iran.

People are already using violence less against their children. In thirty years time smacking will be a dirty word. And the Neanderthal’s children will herald a brighter future where violence is not acceptable. Ever.



Why referendums are absolutely meaningless. by underground

In a well written and intelligent editorial, the Herald on Sunday outlined why referendums are not worth the ballot paper the poorly written questions are written on. Entitled “Ask an obvious question and you get a meaningless answer“, today’s editorial outlines how the questions used in referendums are loaded as to ensure tht only one result can possibly be found. In next years citizen initiated referendum on the repealing of section 59 of the Crimes Act, the question will be “should a smack as a part of good parental correction be a criminal offence?” When many experts in child psychology and childcare have said that smacking is not actually a part of good parental correction, the question ceases to make any sense. So do you vote if you disagree with the premise of the question? Vote yes and oppose “good parental correction” (which does not include smacking), or abstain in protest? Continue reading



Is Green the new Red? by underground

An advertisement for the Green Party in today’s Herald (near a great story about an incredible woman!) highlighted the party’s efforts on behalf of workers. With Labour not representing the worker masses as well as they historically having as they fight to claim some of the middle ground, the Greens threaten to possibly claim much of Labour’s core vote. Sue Kedgely’s Flexible Working Arrangements bill, which was passed in Parliament last year, will come into effect tomorrow (Tuesday 1 July) and give workers the right to request hours that fit in with their commitments. This law will be massive for families and for workers who are constrained by their jobs, opening up the possibility that people can work to live, not work to live.

Sue Bradford warned Labour not to take the workers vote for granted in 2006. She pointed out that paid parental leave and four weeks annual leave, both important pieces of legislation for workers, were both forced onto Labour’s agenda by coalition partners. Green’s have long since added social concern to their environmental agenda, but with the Flexible Working Arrangements bill, have they now well and truly taken the labour title of Labour? Is Green the new Red? Continue reading



Statistics that smack of spin by underground

Statistics are great! If you’ve got an opinion, how better than to back up your point of view with some supportive numbers. Statistics give you credibility. I often use some numbers to back up one of my many online rants on this here blog you are reading. It often goes like, “here’s what I think and here’s the numbers that prove my point. Now you cannot disagree with me. I win and you lose! Back to the drawing board, you …(add insult here.)

However, sometimes statistics can be less than conclusive. And sometimes both sides of an argument can claim a stat supports either side’s point. This is what happened when the Christian lobby group Family First commissioned a survey into Sue Bradford’s repealing of section 59 of the Crimes Act (or what is lazily, but more simply, referred to as the “Anti-Smacking” Law) Continue reading



“Use the (reasonable) force, Luke!” by underground

To accompany my blog on statistics used to support arguments, I thought I’d post a few thoughts on the repealing of section 59 of the Crimes Act, and on lobby groups in general. These thoughts are no doubt unpopular, but it’s good to disclose ones opinion! It is somewhat simplistic, there are a few generalisations and even an admission of ignorance. However this is far more honesty and sincerity than you would ever get from the deceitful lobby groups in this country. I’m not finished with them on this blog! Continue reading