News Media Reports
Remove signs, protester told Smack setback
By LEE MATTHEWS - Manawatu Standard | Wednesday, 28 February 2007
JONATHAN CAMERON/Manawatu Standard
(To see photo please go to link above)
UPSETTING SIGNS: Sanson father Wayne Fergusson with his signs protesting the ``deluded'' campaign by list MP Sue Bradford to make smacking of children illegal. The Manawatu District Council has told Mr Fergusson to take some of the signs down because they are too close to a State highway and might distract drivers.
Sanson father-of-two Wayne Fergusson wants the right to smack his children when they are naughty.
He feels so strongly that list MP Sue Bradford has got it wrong with her proposed legislation to make smacking illegal that he has built large protest signs on the front lawn of his State Highway 1 Sanson home.
The signs urge people to reject Ms Bradford's bill, and to not criminalise good parents. They publicise the Family First group, which also opposes the legislation.
"I've had people pulling up and coming in and signing the Family First petition. Somebody gave me some vegies the other day as well," Mr Fergusson said.
He wants people to think through the proposed legislation, and do something to stop it. He says there is a world of difference between parents smacking children with reasonable force for discipline, and parents and other people who hurt, maim and kill children.
"We have totally unacceptable rates of violence against children . . . (but) the two issues are separate.
"This is deluded. It's going to make good parents into criminals. It's just going to feed that whole family court abuse industry, lawyers and judges."
He said he smacked his children - two sons, aged three and seven - when they deserved it, just as his own father had smacked him.
Meanwhile, the signs have upset the Manawatu District Council, which has asked Mr Fergusson to remove the ones closest to the road.
Council spokesman Bob Williams said it was a road safety issue, and had nothing to do with the protest. There were rules about the size and siting of roadside signs because they could distract drivers.
The council had sent Mr Fergusson a pamphlet explaining the rules.