Kiwi Polemicist

December 7, 2009

• Anti-smacking law: Key’s words don’t match his actions

Filed under: Anti-smacking Law, Politics — Tags: , , , — Kiwi Polemicist @ 8:13 pm

This is from the NZ Herald:

Prime Minister John Key has reiterated his belief no change is needed to the anti-smacking law after a new review found cases were being dealt with properly.
[…]
“Lightly smacking a child will be in the course of parenting for some parents and I think that’s acceptable,” Mr Key said.

Asked if he had just said it was acceptable to lightly smack a child, Mr Key replied “Yes, I think so” and said the law was clear that such matters should not be treated as a criminal offence [that is only true if the smack is not for the ‘purpose of correction’ and is given for one of the permitted reasons].

“It’s up to individual parents to decide how they’re going to parent their children. My view is that it will depend on the circumstances and how you want to raise your child,” Mr Key said.

“Some people will continue to lightly smack their child for correction, some will not. It is up to them to decide.”

Let’s get this straight: Key is endorsing a law that specifically makes it illegal to smack a child ‘for the purpose of correction’ whilst also saying the following:

  • “Lightly smacking a child will be in the course of parenting for some parents and I think that’s acceptable”
  • “It’s up to individual parents to decide how they’re going to parent their children”
  • “Some people will continue to lightly smack their child for correction, some will not. It is up to them to decide”

Mr Key, I am very glad to hear that you agree that light smacking is acceptable, and that you think it is up to parents to make a choice about smacking for the purposes of correction. Please tell me why you continue to support a law that is contrary to what you say you believe, because I and, I suspect, a great many other New Zealanders are confused about the difference between your beliefs and your actions. I urge you to put your beliefs into action and change this law; this would also be a great way of showing respect to the 1,470,755 Kiwis who voted against the anti-smacking law in the recent referendum.

Related post:
Referendum on anti-smacking law: John Key gives the finger

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Here’s the full text of section 59 of the Crimes Act:

Parental State control

(1) Every parent of a child and every person in the place of a parent of the child is justified in using force if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances and is for the purpose of—

(a) preventing or minimising harm to the child or another person; or

(b) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in conduct that amounts to a criminal offence; or

(c) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in offensive or disruptive behaviour; or

(d) performing the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting.

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) or in any rule of common law justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction.

(3) Subsection (2) prevails over subsection (1).

(4) 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.

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November 19, 2009

• Democracy is dictatorship: a response to Bob McCoskrie’s letter

Today Bob McCoskrie of Family First has sent out a letter titled “A personal note from Bob McCoskrie“, where he states why he is going on The March For Democracy this Saturday (the background to all this is explained in my earlier post).

In his letter Bob shows how governments have repeatedly ignored the results of citizen-initiated referenda, including the latest one on the anti-smacking law. 1.57 million people voted against that law, while Peter Dunne (who voted for the anti-smacking law) says that a petition signed by 45,000 people who wanted daylight saving extended is ‘overwhelming support’. If 45,000 is overwhelming support, what on earth is 1,570,000?

After showing how the various referenda with strong results have been ignored, Bob says

I want NZ to be a place of DEMOCRACY not DICTATORSHIP

I do not wish to criticise Bob in any way, but apparently he, like 99.99% of people, does not realise that democracy is dictatorship by the majority. Allow me to explain.

87.4% of a representative sample of the population have voted against the anti-smacking law. If they have their way and the anti-smacking law is repealed (or amended) then that 87.4% of the population will be imposing their will upon the 12.6% of the population who want the anti-smacking law retained as it is. That is dictatorship by the majority.

Presently the government is in favour of retaining the anti-smacking law without changes, so it is ignoring what is commonly called the will of the people. That is dictatorship by the minority, i.e. the 122 politicians in parliament who think that they know best.

My point is this: democracy is always a dictatorship. The real question today is this: which dictator will decide what happens to the anti-smacking law? Presently Mr Minority (the government) is deciding. I believe that it is a lesser evil when Mr Majority (the 87.4%) decides what happens to the anti-smacking law, and that is why I will be marching on Saturday.

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Have you ever wondered why this country is a mess and why we always have dishonest politicians? When you realise which majority is ruling NZ and appointing the politicians it will all make sense. The answers are in my post The problem with democracy – Part One.

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November 14, 2009

• So-called abused children to go onto database

The NZ Herald is reporting that

Child abuse alerts are to be placed on a national health database, so that doctors will know if there are past concerns about a family.

The little-known Medical Warning System, run by the Ministry of Health, has been traditionally used by doctors to check for patients’ allergies to drugs. But as part of an upgrade, doctors and officials plan to add notes about any record of child abuse.

So, you take little Jonny to the doctor for an ear infection and the doctor sees an alert, therefore he takes a close look at your child for signs of abuse. This is simply a means of turning doctors into unpaid policemen, if they aren’t that already: Big Brother is watching you. To put it another way, your family doctor is the eyes of Big Brother. This is a classic example of what civil rights activists call ‘function creep’, i.e. something helpful is turned into something harmful. This database plan shows that the government will take any opportunity that allows it to increase its control of citizens.

What’s the definition of abuse, the threshold for putting a child on this database? No one is sure yet, but the NZ Herald says

Starship hospital paediatrician Dr Patrick Kelly said a working group was still discussing the criteria to be used. He believed the minimum threshold would have to be a notification (a complaint about abuse or neglect) to Child Youth and Family.

If the definition of abuse is a complaint then thousands of children will be on the database without good reason, because many complaints are made when no abuse has occurred. Even if the definition of abuse was a so-called proven case of abuse we would have a major problem. Why so?  Because we live in a country where smacking ‘for the purposes of correction’ is illegal, and therefore constitutes child abuse in the state’s twisted view of the world.

So, if you give little Jonny a swat on the rump steak to teach him that flushing the cat down the toilet is a naughty deed and then Child, Youth & Family find out about it, your family doctor will be told that you’re a child abuser.

Do you, Joe Public, get any say in any of this? Of course not.

Less government, more freedom I say.

The government ignored overwhelming public opposition to the anti-smacking law.

Join the March For Democracy on November 21.

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November 5, 2009

• Garth George thinks that John Key is wonderful

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — Kiwi Polemicist @ 6:47 am

Garth George’s column this week has the nauseating title “We Should All Salute Our Wonderful PM“, and it goes downhill from there. It’s what is known as a hagiography, a biography of a saint.

Go and fetch a bucket, then read this extract:

He is a man of the people, as yet unspoiled by the poisonous atmosphere of power politics, and in spite of his position and spectacular wealth remains one of us.

He is every bit at home in the company of a class of primary schoolkids as he is with the man and woman in the street, or in the company of the world’s high and mighty. He is amiable, engaging, good-natured, highly intelligent, humorous and, most of all, unaffected.

Now for a dose of reality. Recently we had a referendum where 87.4% of a representative sample of the population showed their opposition to the anti-smacking law. As I said in my earlier post, John Key’s response was thus:

giving-the-finger gorilla

I don’t care how amiable, engaging, good-natured, highly intelligent, humorous and unaffected John Key appears to be: what I do care about are his actions, and his actions show that he is not a man of the people. His actions show that he is a man who wants to rule the people.

Sociopaths are some of the most dangerous people around, and they can be engaging, good-natured, unaffected, and humorous when they want to be – that’s part of what makes them so dangerous. I’m not saying that John Key is a sociopath, but I am saying don’t judge a book by its cover.

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August 7, 2009

• Economic Nonsense From the Kiwi Party

The comments button is at the bottom right of this post.

Larry Baldock of the Kiwi Party

Larry Baldock, leader of the Kiwi Party

The Kiwi Party has issued a press release which is full of economic fallacies and is quoted here in blue and in full:

The anti-smacking TV One Colmar Brunton poll released today shows opposition to the law remains strong and consistent at 83% opposed to the criminalisation of good parents who occasionally smack.

Referendum Petition organiser Larry Baldock said the other result from the poll was that 3 out 4 New Zealanders felt the cost of the referendum was a waste of money, and that is not surprising.

“However, since the referendum requires the cost of at least two letters being posted to 3 million registered voters, and the return of the voting papers by prepaid return, NZ Post will be receiving a Government investment of at least $3-4 million,” said Mr Baldock.

It’s not a “government investment” in NZ Post. NZ Post is a SOE (State Owned Enterprise), so the government has taken $9 million from taxpayers at gunpoint for the referendum and given $3-4 million of that to one of its organs. It’s not a “government investment” in NZ Post, it’s a reshuffling of stolen money that the government possesses (I am reminded of those people who rearranged deck chairs on the Titanic).

“This cost could definitely have been avoided if the referendum had been held at the election last year when voters were going to the polls anyway.

Baldock twice describes the referendum as a “cost”, yet he also twice uses the word “investment”. There is an internal contradiction here, because a cost is money down the toilet (not necessarily wasteful, but definitely a reduction in wealth), whereas spending is only an investment if you have a reasonable expectation of receiving back more than you spent (a profit/increase in wealth) in the future.

Also, the cost would not have been “avoided” if the referendum had been held at the election last year, only reduced. The cost of the referendum could only have been avoided if Sue Bradford, Helen Clark, et al had listened to the people instead of imposing their will upon them.

“Given that most of the estimated $9 million cost of the referendum will be spent on postage, printing, advertising and employing staff for counting etc, it cannot be considered a waste. For a start the Government will get some of the money back from its SOEs like NZ Post and TV One, as well as the GST from money spent elsewhere in the economy.

How can the government get money “back” from SOEs, which are part of itself? You don’t put your money on your foot, then pick it up and say “I’ve got my money back”. As for the GST, that’s just government money travelling in circles at great cost to the taxpayers. Baldock is correct in describing the referendum as a “cost”: it’s a cost that taxpayers like yourself have paid at gunpoint.

“If Government spending in infrastructure is an investment in the economy and the future of our country then so is the referendum”.

This sentence and the paragraph before reek of Keynsian socialism, i.e. that government spending on the economy is a good thing. Ludwig von Mises refutes the beliefs of Baldock and Keynes very well:

At the bottom of the interventionist argument there is always the idea that the government or the state is an entity outside and above the social process of production, that it owns something which is not derived from taxing its subjects, and that it can spend this mythical something for definite purposes. This is the Santa Claus fable raised by Lord Keynes to the dignity of an economic doctrine and enthusiastically endorsed by all those who expect personal advantage from government spending. As against these popular fallacies there is need to emphasize the truism that a government can spend or invest only what it takes away from its citizens and that its additional spending and investment curtails the citizens’ spending and investment to the full extent of its quantity. [emphasis added]

Back to Baldock…

In my opinion, the cost benefit ratio of reversing this ill-conceived socially destructive law will far outweigh a similar amount spent on a road.”

I agree with this, but of course the cost should never have arisen in the first place.

“As I have been saying in my radio ads, there are now only two people who can waste this money, the voter who does not vote, and John key if he refuses to listen.”

That’s a nice sound bite, but I believe that the money spent on the referendum was in effect wasted by those who passed a law which was clearly opposed by at least 83% of the population. However, since we are forced to spend the money it is lamentable to avoid voting. Also, if John Key ignores the referendum result he will be endorsing the wastage bought about by those who passed the law.

Keynsian policies are responsible for much of the destruction of private wealth wrought by governments today. I support the Kiwi Party’s opposition to the anti-smacking law, but when it comes to economics the party is somewhere between woeful and pestilential, as shown by the economic nonsense in this press release.

John Key is also a Keynsian socialist and follows the same fallacies.

What do you think about the quote from Mises (in green) and the points that I have made?

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Hat tip: Family Integrity

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Related posts:

Arrant arrogance (read this first)

John Key shows his arrogance (he is the paternalistic enemy now)

If you want to be free to parent then put your money where your mouth is

The anti-smacking law will cause the death of children

Sue Bradford’s arrogance regarding the anti-smacking bill

If you want to read more use the category selector on the right.

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