‘Two, four, six, eight, we don’t want no nanny state’ around 400 protestors chanted as they marched down Lambton Quay to Parliament’s front lawn last Wednesday.
The protestors of varied age, with many children in attendance, vocally voiced their opposition to Sue Bradford’s proposed repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act. The passing of so-called ‘anti-smacking Bill’ would remove the defence of use of justified “reasonable force” to discipline children.
When asked by Salient, none of the children in attendance could say why they decided to protest against Bradford’s Bill, but some mothers offered reasons such as “they don’t want their daddy taken away.”
Jesus featured in many banners. Two protestors carried the flag of Israel to recognize “the Christian principles that New Zealand was built upon.” While they didn’t comment that smacking was a Christian value, they said that Jesus was smacked and thought that this Bill was “not just anti-smacking but anti-parent.”
Family Integrity used the occasion to hand out leaflets that spelled out what they see as the difference between assault and smacking. Their website also offers links to more brochures on smacking, including the controversial Christian Foundations of the Institution of Corporal Punishment.
A smaller counter-protest in favour of Bradford’s Bill was also in attendance, with banners including ‘Who would Jesus smack?’ and ‘Assaulted a child? Section 59, your only defence’.
There was a strong showing by National MPs whilst few Labour MPs greeted the protest.