Section 59

Explanatory note on the bill:

… Presently, section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961 acts as a justification, excuse or defence for parents and guardians using force against their children where they are doing so for the purposes of correction and the force used is reasonable in the circumstances. The Bill will repeal that provision.

The effect of this amendment is that the statutory protection for use of force by parents and guardians will be removed. Children will now be in the same position as everyone else so far as the use of force (assault) is concerned. The use of force on a child may constitute an assault under section 194(a) of the Crimes Act, … and the repeal of section 59 ought not revive any old common law justification, excuse or defence that the provision may have codified.


Parents will no longer be allowed to use any force on their children, reasonable or not *, whether for discipline or not*.

(* “not” being already illegal)

Good to see all bases are covered with the “common law” clause – i.e. even though before section 59 no judge would convict a parent doing their parental duty, that mustn’t happen now.

Note this phrase: “Children will now be in the same position as everyone else so far as the use of force (assault) is concerned.”

Too right, but children are not the issue here, parents are. Parents are removed from the list of authority figures (see section 60) that are allowed to use force as part of their duties.

I would argue that captains of ships and planes have the same reason as parents for this provision: Police aren’t available when something goes wrong. In the case of parents, this is because stuff goes wrong very, very often.

Look, people who propose this seriously have me wondering if they have ever even met a 2 year old. Young children are not mature members of society – they are learning how to get on with people, they have to be taught. I know there are arguments as to who may or may not be arrested – let’s put that aside for a minute. Why would you want a parent who grabs a 2 year old’s arm to stop him hitting someone illegal, whether or not the police get involved?

This from a party who trusts the police so little, they don’t even want them to have a non-lethal weapon like a tazer.

But this isn’t and never will be about people getting prosecuted, arrested or locked up for parenting, exemplary or just politically incorrect. It’s not about the police at all. It’s about CYPS.

You see, no one is suggesting that arrests have gone up in Sweden. They haven’t so far as I know. But arrests are easily measured. What is far harder to measure is the chilling effect this sort of law has on society, and the sheer power this gives “social services”.


  1. I don’t know where you are from, but I DO know that in THIS country, the United States, children can dial 911 if they even THINK they are about to be physically reprimanded by a parent.

    What the purpose of taking authority away from parents was suppose to be about, I don’t really know. I only know that since they did, children have become disrespectful, trouble making demons.

    I raised mine the “old fashion” way. Just as I was raised. They turned out to be graduates of major Universities with masters and doctorate degrees, instead of drug users and murderers. Even now, I will give an out of control grandchild a good spanking in public and tell anyone looking, they can call the police.

  2. I’m from New Zealand.
    Good on you for taking a stand.
    What really troubles me is the way that “Children and Young Person Service” can take children on their own authority, without due process.
    In the “riding crop” case we have in this country, the mother is now being harrased to a level that her lawyer finds totally unbelieveable – they are almost completely outside of the law.
    Strongly recommend the book by Michael Drake linked to in last night’s post – you may need it.

  3. What do you think of the new law sweeping the United States, where children are given to the parent who doesn’t smoke cigarettes. Be they mother or father.

    I smoked through all my pregnancies and had 8-10lbs 12oz babies. They all ended up to be quite entelligent and successful citizens.

    Perhaps there’s something in today’s cigarettes that we don’t know about. If not, it’s a travesty of justice.

  4. Can I draw your attention to 3 DVD’s available from at minimal cost 1 for $10 or 3 for $25. They cover all bases and show the enormous threat repeal poses to parental authority in NZ. Excellent material that should be spread far and wide. Let others know about them.

  5. We stop a child carefully,with a little, well thought out force as future deterrant.Now we’re criminals. What force will be used by law? Mace,Tazer,Club,Truntion, Rifle, Pistol.I almost forgot the dogs. All gentle methods,right?
    I believe ” The rod of correction”, implies first, a leader-ship action of instruction, followed by example.This rod is an emblem of authority and direction prior to any corrective means.Those in control must be examples of control.Standards will bolster confidence in the children.Therefore, as the child developes it is lesss likely that stronger means are needed. A careful swat, is not life threatening.Punish this way,as the last resort

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