Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The review of the law parliamentary intent on smacking

The Government has announced the terms of reference for policies and procedures used by Police and CYFS in implementing parliamentary intent on smacking offences. You can read about it here.The terms of reference:
To review New Zealand Police and Child, Youth and Family policies and procedures, including the referral process between the two agencies, in order to identify any changes that are necessary or desirable in the interest of ensuring that:
1. good parents are treated as Parliament intended under the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007.
2. provisions of the law (both criminal and under the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989) are applied to those who abuse children.
So, child abusers are to be treated with reference to the ( already existing for years) law, and smacking investigations will be reviewed with reference to parliamentary intent. This is a review of policies and procedures in line with parliamentary intent, based on data surveyed by the MSD CEO and police commissioner, who head the departments that have drafted up the procedures and have preparing the data for the review. Joining them is No voter Nigel Latta (and the Public Address people are NOT impressed at all with that). Latta has said that he doesnt support smacking parents being subject to criminal prosecution or investigation.

The government does not want to see parents criminalised, nor does it believe the act intends for this to occur. But acts of parliament don't have " intent" - Parliament does and the terms of reference conflate the two because the government doesn't want to give the appearance that the wording of the Act does not state parliaments intent. "Parliamentary intent" was not passed, an Act of Parliament was. That is why it is not a review of the law.

Latta can be as free and independent as he wants to - and agree with the departmental heads because he is looking at the data, which has no reference to his views on the law. If their report - due December 1 - comments on the law, it will be with reference to parliamentary intent. So the law is working well as parliament intended. Furthermore the report will note that police and CYFS procedures are also working well - because nobody is being prosecuted in court for light smacking. So no substantive changes will necessary

Latta is also not talking to lobbyists or the media about the review. He says:
I wish to announce that I have just appointed my cat, Jerry, as my new Chief Press Secretary. Please direct all media inquiries to him.
Well at least he has a sense of humour.And he drinks lots of coffee, which is good.




Blogger scrubone said...

Yes, that sense of humour seems to annoy a lot of people.

Good on him.

September 8, 2009 at 4:21 PM  

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