Kiwi Polemicist

September 29, 2008

Daylight saving and the anti-smacking law – Part 2

In my Part 1 I described how Peter Dunne said that he had “overwhelming support” when less than 1.5% of New Zealanders eligible to vote signed a petition calling for an extension to the daylight saving period (it’s nice to know that our highly paid MPs are working on important things like extending daylight saving by three weeks). More than 83% of New Zealanders provided “overwhelming support” for leaving unchanged the legislation covering smacking, but Dunne ignored them and voted to make it illegal anyway. Let’s have a look at some more hypocrisy from Dunne.

In a press release issued before smacking was made illegal Dunne said:

Parliament is engaged in another contentious conscience issue – this time the debate about smacking. These debates often bring out the best and the worst aspects of Parliament, and this round is no exception. It certainly bought out the worst, but I didn’t see any of the best.

United Future is allowing its MPs to vote according to their own consciences on this issue. That is because we respect the right of our MPs to form their own views on an issue like this [but not the right of parents to form their own views] and to act in a way that they judge is in the country’s best interests. We contrast that with the Labour Party which has decided it knows best and that all its MPs, regardless of what they might individually think, will vote according to a pre-determined collective position [so it’s not OK for the Labour Party to tell its MPs that the Party knows best, but it is OK for Dunne to tell parents that he knows best when it comes to raising children].

One of United Future’s founding principles is freedom of belief and expression [what about the freedom of belief for those parents who believe that smacking is a useful part of parenting? What about freedom of expression for those parents who express their love with loving correction?], and we will uphold that principle regardless of the position an individual MP might take on an issue [however, he will not uphold that principle where parents are concerned] where we have chosen not to form an official policy, because of our overriding respect for human dignity and worth [how is telling parents how to raise their children – and thus treating them like children – compatible with an overriding belief in human dignity?]. Making everyone think the same way on a conscience issue is actually an affront to the individual freedom and personal responsibility so many espouse [frame that one: he’s hung by his own petard]. Because of our commitment to freedom of belief and expression we will continue to trust our MPs to act according to their consciences when issues of this type arise [but not trust parents to act according to their consciences], rather than seeking to make their decisions for them [but he will make the smacking decision for parents].

After much soul-searching, I personally have decided to vote for the Bill. While I do not like the state telling people how to live their lives [amen to that!!!! So, Peter, why did you vote for a law that constitutes the State telling people how to run their lives?], I have been long concerned about New Zealand’s appalling rates of child abuse [note the suttle and false linking of smacking to child abuse. They are two different things: anyone with an ounce of common sense can see that a smack (e.g. a swat on the rump steak) is different to a beating (e.g. a baseball bat applied to the head)].

I have always found the idea of hitting children to be personally repugnant, which was why I never hit my own children [this is Dunne’s attempt to take the moral high ground so that he can preach to the unwashed masses below]. I think the Bill is an important way of sending a signal to the wider community about the unacceptability of child abuse [the wider community, with a few exceptions, is fully aware of the unacceptability of child abuse so there’s no need for legislation: thanks anyway Peter] without compromising unduly parental rights [pray tell, how exactly is telling parents that they can’t smack their children not ‘unduly compromising parental rights’?], while offering some protection for vulnerable children [that old chestnut again. Making smacking illegal will no more protect children than the dog-chipping laws will stop dog attacks. Sweden is evidence of that: click here for a 249kb PDF about this]. My two colleagues have decided to oppose the Bill and I respect completely their decisions and their right to reach them freely [yet he does not respect the decisions of those parents who have chosen to smack their children, nor does he respect the right of parents to freely reach a decision about whether or not to smack their children].

In summary, Dunne is saying that he will allow his MPs to make their own decisions and that he will respect their beliefs, but he will not allow parents to make their own decisions, nor will he respect their beliefs. What’s good for the goose is not good for the gander.

Dunne said it himself: “Making everyone think the same way on a conscience issue is actually an affront to the individual freedom and personal responsibility so many espouse”. You could interpret this in one of two ways: (1) Dunne is referring to what other people espouse, not what he himself espouses. If that is true it just proves that Dunne is a public menace (2) Dunne does espouse these things: in that case the rest of his words go against what he espouses, and the missive is so full of internal contradictions that you have to seriously question his mental competence.

Dunne is damned by his own words whichever interpretation you choose.


You can use the category selector on the right to see my other posts on the anti-smacking law



  1. It is hard to believe that I actually voted for this man in the past. United Future once seemed to stand for sense, but that must have been the influence of the more sensible Christian members who have left now. Labour’s friend Mr Dunne is no longer a sensible option for a conservative to vote for, although having said that he is still towards the better end of a pretty poor bunch of current MPs. There are much better options though.

    Comment by Mr Dennis — September 29, 2008 @ 12:43 pm

  2. […] Click here to go to Part 2 […]

    Pingback by Daylight saving and the anti-smacking law – Part 1 « Kiwi Polemicist — November 19, 2009 @ 10:08 am

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