NZ First move on from anti-smacking law

NZ First have campaigned strongly on having a referendum on the anti-smacking law, and it was one of their ‘bottom lines’. But new Minister for Children say that it was dropped during negotiations recently and ‘it was time to look at a range of other measures to improve children’s safety’.

NZH: Anti-smacking referendum dropped during coalition negotiations

New Zealand First’s wish to hold a referendum on the anti-smacking law was dropped in coalition negotiations, new Minister for Children Tracey Martin says.

“That was one of the policies that did not survive the negotiations,” Martin told RNZ’s Checkpoint. “So let’s move on.”

The change removed the legal defence of “reasonable force” for parents who were prosecuted for assaulting their children.

Last week Family First reminded NZ First of its 2014 pledge not to enter a coalition without a pledge to have a referendum on the anti-smacking law.

“NZ First campaigned strongly on fixing the anti-smacking law – an issue important to many families. We will continue to ask them to deliver on their pledge,” Family First said in a statement.

Martin said the focus on the smacking law had not worked, and it was time to look at a range of other measures to improve children’s safety – such as prevention.

Good to see common sense prevail.

We have already had a referendum, in 2009, but the question was too vague and loaded, and the result was ignored by politicians.

26 Comments

  1. Corky

     /  October 30, 2017

    Gutless wonders.

    • You could also call it pragmatic politics.

      Labour and Greens were never going to revisit the smacking law, and I doubt National would have either.

      Another example of Peters pandering to a niche for votes, knowing it was unlikely to be delivered on.

      • Tipene

         /  October 30, 2017

        They would have if it was actually a NZ First bottom line – but it wasn’t – and so it fell off the end of the negotiation desk.

        • Gezza

           /  October 30, 2017

          NZ First bottom lines have no legs to stand on.

          • Gezza

             /  October 30, 2017

            What I can never figure out is how the hell people keep falling for them? 🙄

            • Gezza

               /  October 30, 2017

              Come to think of it they don’t even seem to have any bottom to sit on.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  October 30, 2017

          It fell onto a big pile of them. But I don’t think NZF voters care a lot about policies. They just hope Winston will annoy someone they don’t like.

          • Gezza

             /  October 30, 2017

            Looking at the first comment on the page, it’s working for me. 👍🏼
            And I never even voted for them.

          • Conspiratoor

             /  October 30, 2017

            Come on al, don’t be so mean spirited, otherwise we may have to wheel out a list of john keys broken promises. The man makes Winston look like Fletcher Reede

  2. Tipene

     /  October 30, 2017

    Translated:

    “Thanks to those conservative-leaning voters who supported us – let us now repay your support by chucking the initiatives you wanted us to follow up, under the bus. Happy trails”

  3. Patzcuaro

     /  October 30, 2017

    It all comes back to voting for a party that is in line with your values rather than looking at specific policies or bottom lines. Vote for someone you are happy for to make the decisions for you.

    Policies and bottom lines go out the window during coalition negotiations, values should persevere.

    • Tipene

       /  October 30, 2017

      Yes Patzcuaro, it’s just that most voters who say “vote for a party that is in line with your values” most often end up voting for a party that will meet their own self-interests, and personal values be damned.

  4. Patzcuaro

     /  October 30, 2017

    Unless you get 50+ percent of the vote you are not going to be able to implement all your policies.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  October 30, 2017

      I don’t remember hearing that when the Nats were accused of not fixing the housing problems.

      • Patzcuaro

         /  October 30, 2017

        I don’t think anyone was standing in National’s way when it came to fixing the housing problem. The market does a lot of things well, but building low cost housing isn’t one of them. Unless the government uses some of it’s levers developers are going to maximise profits by building more up market houses.

        Are you being deliberately obtuse?

        • Gezza

           /  October 31, 2017

          Don’t be too hard on him, Patz. Probably just habit by now.
          He’s a good sort in some ways.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  October 31, 2017

          You are being thick, Patz, not me. Both the Maori Party and Peter Dunne refused to support RMA reform, let alone the Building Act. The market would produce low cost housing if it were allowed to, just as it produces cheap cars and luxury ones. The bureaucracy simply prevents it by controlling land use, prescribing building standards and imposing huge fixed compliance costs.

          • Patzcuaro

             /  October 31, 2017

            National could have changed the RMA if it had prepared to compromise in some areas to get the necessary votes but it chose not to compromise. So the RMA stayed the same.

            Unfortunately the market doesn’t work well in relation to building standards. Everywhere you go in Auckland buildings are covered in white film as remedial work is done on substandard buildings. Once developers finish projects they wind the companies they used for the project up. So if anything goes wrong later there is no entity to be held responsible except the councils who are now being more rigorous in their oversight. Developers are able to maximize short term profits with no responsibility for downstream problems.

            Because of economies of scale none of those cheap or luxury cars are made in NZ, that is the market at work and it does a good job of producing cars. But there still has to be government oversight in safety standards and emissions.

            Councils could have moved on land use issues but is often up against nimbys. There has been little incentive for land bankers to develop land as they have been making large capital gains by holding on. I think that there is scope the government to use the Public Works Act to buy the land and develop it if need be.

            There are a number of other levers the government could have used such as stopping non resident foreigners buying houses. The LVRs could have been used earlier.

            In essence the market works in some areas and not so well in other areas. Building affordable fit for purpose housing is an area where it struggles.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  October 31, 2017

              Rubbish. The systemic problems are caused by political bureaucratic constraints, not by the market. In every area of activity problems will arise but a free market will quickly find solutions via competition and buyer selectivity. Bureaucracy prevents this.

            • Patzcuaro

               /  October 31, 2017

              @Alan, I think that you view the market through rose tinted glasses. In a perfect market there would be many sellers and many buyers all competing against each other. This would set the price and quality of the product.

              But this is not reality, often you have a few dominant sellers and multiple weak buyers. In this situation a power imbalance occurs in the market which removes the “free”. Pike River is a perfect example of this.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  October 31, 2017

              The built housing market is balanced between multiple buyers and sellers. The unbuilt housing market is constrained by the regulatory factors I listed. were they removed there would be multiple new entrants to satisfy the market at all levels. Pike River is irrelevant.

          • Blazer

             /  November 1, 2017

            One big factor in affordability is the cost p.sq.m…twice here than what it is in Oz.Fletchers and Carters control prices of materials.