Labour sticks to its guns - John Key looking for some traction. Just what exactly is National's position on the anti-smacking bill. What is it's bottom line? Is it just a case of Key sitting on the fence - hardly statesmanship material. Could the answer be just a rewrite of Section 59? Any need for new legislation?
Labour sticks to its guns on smacking:
A proposal from John Key for all party talks on the smacking issue has met with a cool response from Labour
18 April 2007 Labour remains convinced Sue Bradford's bill aimed at preventing violence against children is the best option on the table.It, along with the Greens, has been challenged by National Leader John Key to a round table discussion to find a solution to the contention over the repeal of section 59 of the Crimes Act.Cabinet Minister David Benson-Pope describes National's suggestion as confusing and vague, but says it does appear John Key's position now mirrors that of the Government. He says it is time Mr Key got off the fence, showed leadership, and sent some real messages to New Zealanders about his party's attitude to violence.He says it is up to John Key to provide a better idea than that reached by the Select Committee which has worked on the Bradford bill. And he has taken the unusual step of commenting on a live criminal case to prove his point.A Timaru woman, previously acquitted for using a horsewhip to discipline her son, is back before the Courts again. Her case has been consistently cited by supporters of the Bradford bill. This time she and her husband are charged with assaulting her second eldest son.David Benson-Pope says the case highlights the connection between violence against young people and family violence.For his part, the National leader is stopping short of saying his party would repeal the law if it wins the 2008 election. However he says they would pay close attention to a referendum, if the Bill's opponents manage to muster the numbers for one.But Mr Key says it is difficult to commit to being completely bound by a referendum, as they do not know what support partners might bring them into Government, and what their views on the issue might be.United Future has chimed in as well, describing the olive branch being offered by National as commonsense. Leader Peter Dunne says the move might just provide a way through what has become a bitter and polarised debate.He says he would be keen to be involved in the process but believes it should be restricted to political parties only, with no involvement from lobby groups.