A very simple question
Bill English was asked on Radio Live today whether a smack should be allowed as part of good parental correction. The answer of course is yes, but he didn't want to say no, or yes. He was asked at least six times. Here's the transcript. It's a classic.
Radio Live Breakfast Show - 14 April 09
INTERVIEWER: The Labour Party seemed to have amended their position on Section 59, the smacking legislation. What do you think? Should a smack be allowed as part of a good - as good parental correction?
BILL ENGLISH: Look, the Government's position hasn't changed since a compromise was done with the previous Labour Government. And the Prime Minister has said many times, as has the rest of the Government, that if there is evidence that law abiding parents are being wrong(ly)prosecuted inconsistent with the spirit of that law then we would look to change it. And has been - and there hasn't yet been considerable enough evidence to warrant changing it.
INTERVIEWER: Well, did you think - do you think a smack should be allowed as part of good parental correction?
BILL ENGLISH: Well, look, I think the law, as it is, is the law of the land and needs to be enforced in a sensible way. And...
INTERVIEWER: But do you think a smack should be allowed as part of good parental correction?
BILL ENGLISH: I - I think the law, as it is, is the law of the land that should be enforced. If there is evidence that it is being enforced in instances where it's - where it's inappropriate because the event is
trivial or [indistinct]...
INTERVIEWER: No, no. Sorry, Minister, I just wanted to know whether you could answer that, that should - do you think a smack should be allowed as part of good parental correction?
BILL ENGLISH: Look, it's a matter of complying with the law of the land.
INTERVIEWER: Right, it's a simple question, isn't it?
BILL ENGLISH: It's like asking whether the speed limit should be - whether you should drive at 120 kilometres an hour. The law - the law...
INTERVIEWER: Well, clearly you shouldn't.
BILL ENGLISH: That's right. Well, the law - the law, as it stands, is the law that should be enforced.
INTERVIEWER: Do you - do you think a smack should be allowed as part of good parental
correction? It's simple yes or no, isn't it?
Bill ENGLISH: Well, look, the law takes a stance about smacking and it gives the police some discretion about how they use their capacity to prosecute. If there is evidence that they are prosecuting people inappropriately, then that current government would look at changing the law.
So this is the position of Bill English. Laws should be enforced. The smacking law should be complied with. A smack as part of good parental correction is against the law. There is no evidence that, quote, "law abiding parents are being wrong(ly) prosecuted", unquote, for breaking the law when lightly smacking their kids.As if law abiders should be prosecuted and can be convicted for breaking the law.
What Radio Live should have asked is this: 1)If you believe that laws should be enforced, why don't your believe that parents who lightly smack their kids - thus breaking the law - should be prosecuted?
2) Why do you treat parents who administer light correction to their children as law abiding parents, while at the same time insisting the laws they break should be enforced?