Saturday, March 31, 2007

I'm ashamed of you, New Zealand!

Pro-smacking banner: Discipline him with the rod and save his soul from death. We've been together a good few years now, New Zealand. 1992 was when we first met - and I moved in with you a year later. Over 14 years together, with never an angry word between us. Okay, I admit I might be a little obsessive about our relationship - I think my love for you sometimes borders on hero-worship, but still.

I have always been so proud to be seen with you, proud to introduce you to my friends, filled with pride by everything about you - and filled with an equal pride by the fact that you wanted me.

But today I'm ashamed of you - and I never imagined this day would ever come. What happened to you, New Zealand, why is it that part of you thinks it's OK to hit a child?

Why is it that parts of you are fighting tooth and nail to keep the right to "use reasonable force" on your children enshrined in law? Why have I heard people laughing this week as they relate tales of what I would call abuse from their parents - and as they argue forcefully for the right to do the same to their kids if they feel like it - "without The State interfering".

My God. No wonder we have such an appalling record of child abuse in this country - third worst among 27 developed countries for child deaths; a child killed every five weeks by caregivers. Being allowed in law to "use reasonable force" on your children is the pointy end of the stick that eventually leads to the violent deaths of children such as the Kahui twins, in my opinion.

Let me ask you a question, New Zealand. If you were, say, a manager in a company, and one of your staff failed to get an important project in on time, do you think it would be reasonable for you to whack them over the head with the phone book as a punishment? What if you caught one of your employees stealing money from a colleague's purse? Would it be okay for you to grab the hot-water jug and beat them with the electrical cord to "teach them a lesson"? How about if you worked in a stressful environment and in a heated debate one of your colleagues swore at you? What would happen to you if you pulled their pants down and smacked their bare bottom?

You know the answers to those questions, New Zealand. If you did any of those things you'd be had up for assault and you'd be hard-pressed to find any jury willing to let you off. And rightly so.

In a civilised society you can't go around hitting, whacking, beating or smacking people! So how THE HELL can you argue that it's okay for you to do that TO YOUR OWN CHILDREN?????

Frankly, New Zealand, I'm pretty disgusted with parts of you right now.

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