Thursday, 3 May 2007

Anti-smacking vote proof National's gone soft

National's decision to back down and support Green MP Sue Bradford's anti-smacking bill simply proves just how soft and 'Labour-lite' the NZ National Party has become under John Key.

Every single MP from the National Party, United Future, and NZ First acted like lemmings last night, following John Key in flip-flopping on their support for the controversial bill. What happened to this decision being a "conscience vote"?!

While there is talk of much disquiet amongst some National MPs, only 3 MPs took a stand and voted against the draconian bill last night... ACT's Rodney Hide and Heather Roy, plus independent Pacific Island MP Taito Field.

Mr Hide describes Clark's amendment as "clever", noting "the entire National Party has been rolled. I congratulate Helen Clark for a great sleight of hand and emerging from it unscathed."

Hide took over the former amendment of National MP Chester Burrows (which aimed to define what a 'light smack' was), who then rejected his own words and joined his colleagues in the rush to support Labour's minority coalition government.

(Only 9 MPs stood firm and voted for the Hide/Burrows amendment... ACT's Rodney Hide and Heather Roy, United Future's Gordon Copeland and Judy Turner, and 5 of the 7 NZ First MPs. Every single National Party MP backed out and supported Sue Bradford's offensive bill in full.)

The so-called "compromise" amendment (officially moved by Peter Dunne, leader of the supposed family-friendly United Future Party) had the full support of Sue Bradford, who was "delighted" at National's change of heart.

No surprises there, as the amendment really changes nothing in terms of making criminals of good parents. Bradford said, "This amendment keeps the integrity of my original bill intact... all it's doing is to say to avoid doubt police have discretion when prosecuting complaints."
In reality, what it means is that Police can use the bill as a crutch for intruding into the lives of innocent New Zealanders.

The clear evidence of this was a particularly nasty girl interviewed on 3News last night, who said she would call "111" on her parents if she was ever smacked. (A future Labour Party MP if ever I saw one ;-)

It will be very interesting to see whether the general public swallow the clap-trap from the country's politicians, or whether they can see through the legal mumbo jumbo and realise they've just been shafted.

* Stuff: Not all happy with smacking bill amendment
* Stuff: Clark/Key amendment passes by 117-3
* Newstalk ZB: Unrest in National ranks over smacking bill
* Rodney Hide: Confusing Times
* Bradford wins complete s.59 victory

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