On parental correction
Phil Goff has said that a smack as part of good parental correction should not be a criminal offence in New Zealand.
This explains what a criminal offence is. It is an act or a mission with the necessary state of mind that is a crime. A crime is committed when someone breaks the law. A smack as part of good parental correction is against the law, and therefore it is a criminal offence. Goff thinks that it should not be a crime in this country, despite passing a law making it so with a disincentive to obey it.
So will he vote NO in the country's first postal non-binding citizens initiated referendum next month? Probably not, if this letter he signed is anything to go by. The law has not conclusively been a factor in judicial criminal sanctions. Behaviour considered harmful to the moral, political, economic, or social well-being of society is defined as criminal and thereby worthy of formal state sanctions. Goff does not think all smacking is harmful [so why is he happy that it is criminal], whereas the people he wrote to disagree. In this country normal parental physical correction is not worthy of formal state sanctions.
But such behaviour is worthy of investigation by Police as it is against the law. Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence worthy of laying charges for prosecution? That was the question that Goff should have been asked. If Goff was to give a similar answer, he would agree that any laws like this should be amended to instruct police not to prosecute, instead of exercising discretion. And of course if you can’t prosecute, there's no discretion in laying charges.
This citizens initiated referendum next month is this country‘s fourth. Labour MP Lianne Dalziel said she may register an informal vote by deleting both options. Maybe Goff will too.