The few cases in NZ I’ve found, where I could access good information, show that the publicised assumptions often do not live up to the facts of the matter. Cases where s59 was used as an excuse – failed, and cases where the punishment seemed extreme (the riding crop case) did not result in any significant degree of physical harm. Indeed, the reason the mother was taken to court was because a social worker did not approve of the mother’s methods.
Indeed, if “beating” a child with a piece of wood was unreasonable, why were no injuries received? Is it not reasonable to resort to the most serious punishment available when attempted murder is the offence?
The other point I’d make here is that these cases are extremely rare, and that trying to stop them is an offence against our legal system. Since when did Parliament make all parents criminals for the sake of a few criminals? Isn’t our system build on the opposite principle – that it’s better to let a few criminals go than to have innocent people locked up?
(Not that the people let off were abusing their children, or were even let off – the riding crop case has had her child removed, and has suffered tremendous harassment from CYPS.)