Yesterday, I was listening to New Zealand's human rights commissioner, Roslyn Noonan, talking on the radio about the forthcoming referendum on the child smacking law. For anyone outside New Zealand who might be reading this, this law repealed the legal defence of reasonable discipline available for parents. The law means New Zealand parents can be charged with assault for smacking their children.
Firstly, let me make it clear that I have never smacked my children and I find it appalling when I see other parents whacking their unfortunate kids. However, I believe most parents are the best arbiters of their children's behaviour and that if they want to administer a reasonable and non-injuring smack then that should be their prerogative.
Ms Noonan said that parents should be supported (by state bureaucrats, of course) so that it is not necessary for them to administer physical punishment. This is the primary issue I have with this law. Its proponents believe that bureaucrats have better judgement in the upbringing of our children than we parents. They believe it is good and proper for the state to look in the windows of every house in the country to ensure parents are adhering to their view of what constitutes good parental behaviour. They want the power to dictate not only how we discipline our children but what they eat, what games they play, how they interact with other children, etc.
I find their Utopian view of a nanny state that interferes with every aspect of people's lives far more concerning than having parents physically discipline a child when they consider it necessary. It seems that child welfare, like environmentalism, has become the cause du jour for disaffected, left-wing politicos to impose their views on the rest of us.
We don't need their interference to bring up our kids to become good citizens and confident adults. So, to put it bluntly, they should bugger off and leave us alone!