Colin Craig and repealing Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act.



I have observed the politics of the Conservative party from afar ever since I got to know the Conservative spokesman for Napier during the 2011 election.  He was a nice, personable chap who hadn’t a hope in hell of getting into parliament but he gave it everything on the stump during candidate debates.  He wasn’t a particularly persuasive speaker, nor did his arguments make that much sense, but he was passionate and I respected that.  Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for Colin Craig.

Anyone who states that a major policy priority when in government, and a potential coalition deal breaker, is the repeal of a piece of legislation that eliminated a travesty from the law books, surely cannot be taken seriously.

At a time when much debate has raged back and forth about male attitudes towards women, a politician who strongly advocates for the legal physical abuse of children needs to be banished to the pages of political history once and for all.

I found it fascinating that Mr Craig was ranting about greater parental control over children as a fix to the sort of behavior perpetrated by the roast busters, and yet in the same breath he was advocating for the ability of parents to beat the living crap out of their kids…  Did he not see the hypocrisy of his words?

TDB Recommends

Let’s recap what the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007 actually did.  Before the law change (which passed 113 votes to 7) there was a legal defense around the definition of the use of ‘reasonable force’ when beating a child.  It should be noted that there is no such defense for an assault on an adult – or an animal for that matter; but there was for a child.  The way that juries interpreted this test was inconsistent, and I remember there was outrage when a jury acquitted a woman who beat her dyslexic child with a horse whip.  So the law change removed the ‘reasonable force’ test.

What was also interesting is that there was clause in the amendment that stated

“To avoid doubt, it is affirmed that the Police have the discretion not to prosecute complaints against a parent of a child or person in the place of a parent of a child in relation to an offence involving the use of force against a child, where the offence is considered to be so inconsequential that there is no public interest in proceeding with a prosecution.”

What this means is that the police are not going to prosecute a parent or caregiver unless there is a very good chance of gaining a conviction for physical abuse.  With this in mind, remember when Bob McCoskrie and Family First gathered signatures for a referendum that posed the totally disingenuous question…

“Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

This is not what this law did and nor does it read as such, which really did make me wonder if Bob even read the new law….  In any prosecution (and I believe there have been only three contested trials…) the judge has the discretion to take into account any mitigating factors that s/he may consider to be material.

So, Colin Craig wants to return the country to a place where people can literally beat their kids, but it’s okay if they use ‘reasonable force’.  What type of message does that send to our young people?  Certainly not the type they need to learn in this day and age.  If Key does end up doing a deal with the Conservatives, then he does so at his own risk; however, not even John Key believes that a return to the past is wise.  Lets just hope that Colin’s 10 minutes will soon be over and election 2014 will see him disappear from the political landscape forever.




  1. A really useful rule of thumb is to never vote for anybody who maintains a fixed-stare, bug-eyed smile. The natz have a difficult choice. Either cosy up to the lunatic right which is even more extreme than Act, or avoid them on the basis of any alliance losing more party votes nationwide than they would gain by Craig winning an electorate. My heart bleeds for them, really.

  2. I am amazed Bomber that you even got Colin Craig to front up, (lampooning him as you have, as a muppet), to grill him over his party’s position on climate change.

    To bad you couldn’t do the same with David Cunliffe.
    Good on Colin Craig for fronting. The New Zealand Right seem pretty thick skinned and sure of themselves. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for the Left, who are much more sensitive. At least we now know where the Right, Nats, ACT, and the Conservatives stand on climate change. The Left* seem to be much more thin skinned, sensitive about stating where they stand, and refusing to be drawn, on all the substantive issues.

    *The Greens excepted.

  3. Stuart
    Colin Craig does not advocate beating the crap out of kids and to say so exposes you as an ignorant sensationalist and worthy of Green Party puppet status. As I recall 87% of referendum voters wanted the Anti Smacking bill gone because the majority of parents know the difference between a smack and abuse. Your Green Party masters do not recognise the rights of parents to raise their children to know the consequences of their actions and continue to ignore the will of the electorate. Colin Craig stands for the electorate deciding their path through democratic process.

    • Then 87% of people are either shit parents or really really really stupid. Mind you, I guess that’s why they are called the masses and why we only have 120 representing us; the average IQ is probably just code for stupid so we need a few smart people to guide the braindead many. On the downside, most of the 120 MPs are not that smart either. Crap. Guess there’s not much hope for us.

    • Colin Craig does not advocate beating the crap out of kids…

      That’s exactly what he’s advocating. Prior to the law change parents who regularly physically abused their children were getting the appropriate assault charge because of the clause that was repealed.

      As I recall 87% of referendum voters wanted the Anti Smacking bill gone because the majority of parents know the difference between a smack and abuse.

      Nope, see below. The referendum question got the answer it was designed to get. That question should not have been allowed and the people who put it forward should be in jail for fucking with our democracy.

    • A comprehensive review of prosecutions brought after the Section 59 repeal found 0 (zero) cases of “good parents” being convicted over spankings, which is what I’m assuming you’re worried about.

      Before the review panel was convened Family First praised the selection of Nigel Latta, feeling that his no-nonsense brand of political incorrectness would bring a welcome rigour to the proceedings (I’m paraphrasing). After the results were in, and they disagreed with Bob McCoskries’ bias, Family First waste no time in denouncing the proceedings as a sham.

      The problem you’re worried about doesn’t exist. Yes, sometimes people get caught up in child services that on balance maybe shouldn’t have, but that happene before the Section 59 repeal and will happen after. Thats just humans being human.

      What Section 59 does is remove a defence that child abusers have succesfully hidden behind in the past. That is it. That’s all it does. The end.

  4. Stuart Nash as a centre right small business voter I am almost bound to write off everything you declare to be fact as pure nonsense, but on this issue you have nailed the issue superbly.

    To say that it pisses me off when people call this Bill the anti-smacking bill is an understatement. It makes me livid as to me it is indicative of New Zealanders complacency towards child abuse.

    There is no law against smacking your child & no parent has been prosecuted for doing so. It is a myth that has been coined by the good wife beating, child molesting Christian right wingers who still live in the days where the earth was flat & women got stoned to death for speaking.

    Ignoring the fact that Colin Craig has about as much clout as the Maori Party (his so-called leverage will look good only on paper as Key is the master of handling such egos), lets look at what people like Craig are defending: if this Bill got repealed people would be able to once again defend the use of wood, vacuum cleaner hoses, straps, wire, cord etc as “reasonable force”. You know, because of ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’. Not only is this criminal & abuse, but it is the easy way out. It requires no skill as it teaches your kids to behave out of fear rather than respect. And then people wonder why the likes of the roast busters or narcissistic assholes (like some certain bloggers & mayors!) are in the world. Discipline is based on the word disciple and there is no teaching, no learning when you are beating the crap out of your child or threatening to beat them. You are not just breaking their bones or giving them welts or bruises, you are breaking their hearts, their spirits. And this definitely affects boys in a big way – boys who so quickly internalise everything, creating resentment which essentially becomes the emotional equivalent of a suicide vest, waiting to explode hurting themselves & anyone who happens to cross their path. Boys who grow up with zero empathy & zero emotional growth.

    In terms of the legislation – as it stands, no smacking parent has anything to fear. And even if you did, the worst that could happen is that the police & CYFs would check you out. And isn’t that wonderful: if my neighbour sent the police around to my house because they heard me yelling (ha! a mother who declares that she doesn’t ever lose the plot is a liar – kids make even the most saintly of us unsaintly at times!!!) or saw me smack my child on their backside I would be thrilled. It would mean that somebody gave a crap about my child to make sure they weren’t being subjected to abuse.

    But never mind, I am preaching to the converted; given that 80% or so New Zealanders are against this Bill I have zero faith in this country’s ability to end child abuse. Bit like driving really – most people think they are awesome drivers yet the cold harsh reality of how that translates onto the road means most drivers are in fact shit. So yaye, we have a country full of shit drivers and shit parents defending really really really shit parents.


    • I think 80% of the population didn’t know what was actually happening and got carried by the BS that people Family Fist and Colin Craig were spouting. It’s why we need to educate people better, why we need to ensure that they have access and read the policies and facts.

  5. And, what’s the bet that Craig will try to repeal the Marriage Amendment Act….hell, he may as well try to reverse the reforms of the 1980s, ban women from getting divorced, working outside the home, using contraceptive, getting abortions, voting, speaking, walking beside their spouse & cheating….you know, cos only the good Christian men are allowed to cheat & get away with it.
    Freedom of speech is not without its limitations – Colin Craig’s mouth should be sewn shut for good!

  6. With this in mind, remember when Bob McCoskrie and Family First gathered signatures for a referendum that posed the totally disingenuous question…

    It wasn’t disingenuous at all. It was more one or a combination of these:
    Leading Question
    Suggestive Question
    Complex Question
    Loaded Question

    I’m thinking more that the Suggestive or Loaded Questions fit.

    I also note that there hasn’t been a law change preventing such corrupt language from being asked in referendums.

Comments are closed.