In a possibly unprecedented move, Prime Minister Helen Clark and Opposition Leader John Key held a joint press conference yesterday announcing a compromise on the anti-smacking bill currently before Parliament. The cross-party compromise (also involving smaller parties) means the bill is assured of passage.
Under current law, a parent who uses violence against a child can get off in court by claiming it’s “reasonable force”. The bill will eliminate that defence. However, far right Christian groups, including a prominent one from
The compromise directs police to not pursue cases that aren’t in the public interest or that are “inconsequential” (in other words, the should only purse real child abuse). One far right NZ TV preacher claimed this was a “glorious victory”, even though the politicians weren’t paying any attention to him personally.
Now media pundits are bemoaning the fact that amended bill contains language directing the police, the old “slippery slope” argument. Since the NZ news media were pushing the controversy so hard in the first place, one wonders if it isn’t just the controversy that they were interested in.
Actually, if I were to make one criticism of the news media in
With peace breaking out over the anti-smacking bill, and possibly other issues, I wonder where the news media will look for their next conflict to form.