Bad question, but it’s still important to vote!

June 19, 2009

The last few days have seen many public statements from journalists and MPs expressing disapproval of the referendum question and of the cost. The Prime Minister’s reassurance that he believes the law is working well and that he will not be changing the law is very welcome. Many people say that they are “over” the debate about child discipline.

So it may be tempting to ignore the referendum altogether. But there are some excellent reasons to vote in the referendum, and support A YES Vote.

  • To demonstrate that people are not fooled by the referendum’s tricky question.
  • To continue to demonstrate to politicians that there is support for the law.
  • To address attempts to undermining public confidence in the law.
  • To achieve some quiet time for the law to bed down peacefully and have a positive effect on the way children are disciplined in New Zealand.
  • To observe over time, and in an unbiased way, how it is working in practice.

If over time we find that there are cases where prosecutions would have been best avoided because they involve trivial assaults and the stress caused by prosecutions is counter-indicated lets look at measures outside law to ensure that these are handled in a compassionate way. We do not need to re-introduce a law that says some assaults on children are acceptable and that physical punishment is ok part of family discipline.

A YES Vote strengthens support for the law.

Others have commented on this as well; see The Standard’s Still Voting Yes, and Kiwipolitico’s fascinating Game Theory Analysis of Voting in the Referendum.

Plunket Barnardos Save the Children Unicef Jigsaw Ririki Parents CentrePaediatric Society Womens Refuge Epoch

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