August 21, 2009
The outcome of the child discipline referendum, announced this evening, was always a foregone conclusion, given the confusing and leading question that it asked, says the Yes Vote coalition, which supports the law as it stands.
“The Yes Vote ran a positive, constructive campaign that attracted the support of hundreds of organisations that deal daily with children and families, and thousands of individuals who reject physical punishment as effective parenting,” said the coalition’s spokesperson, Deborah Morris-Travers.
“We ran the Yes Vote campaign because we believed it was important to have a voice that stood up for children.
“We’re proud to have made that positive contribution, and applaud the political courage of the current Parliament in sticking with the law as it stands.”
While it had cost NZ$9 million, was divisive and unnecessary, the referendum had not been totally without value, Ms Morris-Travers said.
“Strong evidence emerged during the referendum period that smacking is dying out among today’s parents. Good parents are looking for better ways to raise their children, and increasingly questioning the outdated notion of ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’.
“By equating smacking with good parenting, even the referendum’s question helped deepen public debate on the issue, since large numbers of both Yes and No voters reject that notion.
“With the law as it stands working well, I suspect we will look back in 10 years time and wonder what all the fuss was about.”