Posts Tagged referendum

Call for children to be heard in smacking debate

August 11, 2009

Any debate over child discipline should include those most affected, the Children’s Commissioner says.

It was important children and young people were heard in the debate on the anti-smacking law, commissioner John Angus said in a story published in the New Zealand Herald (10/8/09).

Dr Angus said he had asked the Young People’s Reference Group a series of questions about the child discipline law and while they supported the law change, they said that information about it had been lacking.

The group is made up of young people who provide advice to the Office of the Children’s Commissioner on relevant issues.

One of the members, William, 16, said the law change removed ambiguity in the seriousness of offences.

“Maybe it’s time we listened to our youngest citizens,” he said.

What to do if you haven’t received voting papers

August 10, 2009

All referendum voting papers have been delivered to voters, with over half a million votes cast so far according to a statement released by Robert Peden, the Chief Electoral Officer of the Ministry of Justice.

“If anyone hasn’t got their referendum voting paper yet, or they’ve lost it or made a mistake on it they should contact us to be issued with a replacement voting paper.”

Voting in the referendum opened on 31 July.

As at 5pm on Thursday 6 August, 570,300 votes had been received though votes would not be counted until after voting closes on 21 August.

“If anyone who enrolled by 30 July has not got their voting paper, they can get a replacement voting paper online at:

www.elections.org.nz/app/cir-reissue/

or by calling Freephone 0800 36 76 56,” says Mr Peden.

Replacement voting papers are usually issued to people who have moved house and not updated their enrolment address details, or the voter has lost their voting paper or made a mistake and it isn’t clear which way they want to vote.

The original voting paper is then cancelled.

“We recommend that people have their voting paper in the mail no later than Thursday 20 August to ensure it gets to us in time,” he said. “If you’ve already made up your mind, I would encourage you to post your voting paper back today so you don’t forget or miss the voting deadline.”

Voting papers from overseas must be postmarked no later than Thursday 20 August (this allows for international time differences to ensure compliance with the close of the voting period).

Postal Referendum Advertising Rules

August 5, 2009

If you are planning on advertising in the referendum, please take note of the Chief Electoral Office’s Postal Referendum Advertising Rules, which are reproduced here for clarity.

A postal referendum on the question “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand” will run from Friday 31 July to Friday 21 August 2009.

Any individual or group can undertake advertising to promote either a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ vote on the referendum question.

Advertisers are subject to an expenditure limit of $50,000 (including GST).

Advertisements must contain a statement setting out the name and residential or business address of the person at whose direction it is being published. A Post Office box or website address is insufficient.

The expenditure limit applies to advertising that is used or appears to be being used to promote one of the answers to the referendum question, and is published or broadcast during the period from the 26 August 2008 until 21 August 2009.*

It is a serious offence for any person to, either alone or in combination with others, knowingly spend more than the $50,000 expenditure limit. The offence is subject to a fine of up to $20,000. Persons or organisations that formally or informally enter into an agreement or understanding about their referendum advertising should assume that they are subject to a single advertising expenditure limit.

Any person at whose direction an advertisement is published or broadcast must file a return of expenses with the Chief Electoral Office by 25 September 2009 (being one month after the date that the result of the referendum is declared under section 49 of the Referenda (Postal Voting) Act 2000).

The return must list where every advertisement was published or broadcast and the cost of every advertisement. A copy of a form for making a return of expenses for the postal referendum is available from the download panel on this page.

Advertisers who fail to meet these requirements are committing offences and may be referred to the Police.

The returns are open to public inspection.

It is an offence to print, distribute or deliver anything during the period from 28 July to 21 August that purports to be an imitation voting paper and that either has any direction or indication as to the way that the voter should vote or has anything on it that is likely to influence any vote.

The Chief Electoral Office is responsible for administering the advertising and expenditure provisions. If you have any questions about the rules please contact the Chief Electoral Office at: PO Box 3220, Wellington, Tel: (04) 495 0030, Fax: (04) 495 0031, Email: chief.electoral.office@justice.govt.nz

*The 26th of August is the date on which the Speaker of the House of Representatives presented the petition to the House after being certified as correct by the Clerk of the House under section 18(1)(a) of the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act. 21 August 2009 is the close of the voting period for the referendum.

Most NZers think referendum is a waste of money – survey

July 11, 2009

Three out of four New Zealanders believe the upcoming “anti-smacking” referendum is a waste of money, a survey has found.

The Research New Zealand poll during June of 481 people found 77 percent didn’t support spending money on the non-binding referendum which will cost $8.9m.

Eighteen percent felt it was a good use of taxpayer dollars, while five percent were unsure.

Research New Zealand director Emanuel Kalafatelis said New Zealanders appeared reluctant to spend so much on a referendum during a recession.

“Despite widespread protest about the so-called ‘anti-smacking bill’, it seems Kiwis aren’t willing to spend millions of taxpayers’ dollars on a referendum.”

He said it would be interesting to see how opinions on the cost translated to voter numbers.

Of all the demographic differences in the poll, the only significant difference was between the sexes. Eighty percent of female respondents believed the referendum was a waste of money, compared with 70 percent of male respondents.

Baldock balks when asked for proof

June 19, 2009

Recently Napier City Councillor Maxine Boag was a guest on Newstalk ZB following commentator Dr Robin Gwynn the previous day on the same topic. This is a transcript of her two-minute thought for the day.

“Good morning, I’m Napier City Councillor Maxine Boag.

This week I received a flyer with a figure looking like an orange plastic ginger-bread man asking the question “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

My first reaction was: “What a dumb question!”

It’s like that old set-up question: “Have you stopped beating your wife?” In which case a “yes” answer shows you have been beating her, and a “no” is an admission that you are still beating her.

But this dumb question is what we’re being asked to vote on in a postal ballot in July. It has been prompted by a nationwide petition that was launched in response to the 2007 [changes to the] Child Discipline law. At the cost of $9 million to taxpayers, this poorly-worded referendum has been criticised by both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, both of whom saying that they will not be voting in it, with the National-led government saying they will not be changing the law regardless of the outcome.

The question is very misleading.

First of all, many of us believe that a smack is not part of good parental correction. So if you say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ you are still agreeing that a smack is good parental correction. A recent study of pre-schoolers’ parents in Otago showed that only a tiny minority of parents  actually thought smacking was a good thing for them to do, and just 9 per cent thought smacking was effective in disciplining their children. Most parents said that smacking was more to do with their own state of mind, their tiredness and frustration, than the child’s behaviour.

Secondly, since the 2007 child discipline law, the use of a “smack” has not made any parents criminals. No parents who occasionally smack lightly are being prosecuted. So if you say ‘yes’, you are saying anyone smacking their child will be considered criminals, when they’re not. If you say ‘no’ you again buy into this lie.

I heard the organiser of the petition, Larry Baldock on the radio just yesterday being asked if he could give a single example of where a parent has been criminalised for smacking a child and he couldn’t!

I rest my case.

It made me think back to my own primary school days, when I was strapped often, always for talking.

Did it work?

Did it shut me up?

I’ll leave the answer for you to decide.

I’m Maxine Boag, and that’s my thought for today.”

De-bunking Family First’s analysis of how the law is working

June 19, 2009

Family First are determined to prove that investigations and prosecutions in cases where there are suspicions of assaults on children are unwarranted and that good parents are being prosecuted because of the child discipline law. Unfortunately the information they give about the cases is not enough to make a judgement about whether or not action was warranted. Neither Police nor CYF will release information on cases. Media reports and court proceedings sometimes provide information but in reality few cases are getting to court. What Family First provide seem to be stories as told by people who are being investigated for ill-treatment of their children and not verified by independent assessment.

In the referendum question that Family First regards as valid the standard set for acceptable assault seems to be a “smack”. This definition does not address questions such as how hard, whether an implement was involved, on what part of the body, at what age, how often and administered by whom? These could all be relevant questions when considering whether a “smack” might compromise a child’s safety and sense of security.

Both the Police and CYF are required to investigate reports of alleged harm to a child and so they should. Any such reports could mean that the child is at risk. Whether there is further action after an investigation requires careful consideration of the facts. These facts could include type of force used, degree of force used, part of body affected, presence or otherwise of injury, age of child, circumstances of the harm inflicted, family history of violence and attitude of the adult(s) involved.

The Police data Family First claim to have obtained under OIA, most of which had already been published, unfortunately gives no detail about the kind of assaults involved. In the past Family First have defended the behaviour of parents whose actions have subsequently been found to be quite abusive.  It is reasonable to assume that “smacking” and minor acts of physical discipline, refer to cases where section 59 might have been used as a defence (successfully or unsuccessfully) before law change. Even if there is a valid concern that it might have been obvious to the Police that these cases were low enough on the scale of violence not to warrant investigation nine cases is not a huge number – nothing like the flood of good parents being prosecuted we were warned by Family First to expect.

The third category used in police data is “other child assault”. This refers to more and heavy handed assaults and complex circumstances that no one could find reasonable or acceptable and are likely to have been prosecuted under the old law.

The sensible and compassionate sentences (called weak resolutions by Family First) imposed in the cases that have gone through court and been found guilty do not indicate that the judge took the matter lightly. It is more likely that judges have understanding of the need to set standards in law at the same time as avoiding unnecessary hardship on families.

In examining the details of the cases where investigations are reported to have taken place we must keep in mind the natural tendency of people accused to minimise their own wrongdoing and present their own side of the story. As previously stated verification of the stories is not provided and in any case on the face of it much of the adult behaviour reported seemed to indicate a problem existed.

The only real conclusions we can draw from the material provided by Family First is that there is interest in the community in reporting apparent ill-treatment of children which is a good thing, and that appropriate investigations are taking place.

  • Family First’s police report:ff-police-report

Electoral Office: Are you enrolled?

June 15, 2009

The official campaign has started to make it easy for people to take part in the Citizens Initiated Referendum on the question “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”.

The referendum runs from Friday 31 July until Friday 21 August, but to take part people need to be correctly enrolled.

“It’s important that people know now that a referendum is being held and how to take part,” says Robert Peden, Chief Electoral Officer. “This is the first Citizens Initiated Referendum to be held by postal vote, and only those correctly enrolled will receive their voting papers.”

From today (Monday June 15) every household will receive a notice in the mail from the Electoral Enrolment Centre encouraging people to check that they are enrolled to vote and that their details are up-to-date.

“We estimate around 36,000 people have become newly eligible to enrol since last year’s general election. In addition, there are many thousands of people who have moved house or flat and need to update their enrolment details,”says Murray Wicks, National Manager, Electoral Enrolment Centre.

“People needing to enrol or update their details should fill in an enrolment form. Enrolment forms are available from the elections website, by Freetexting your name and address to 3676, from any PostShop or by calling Freephone 0800 36 76 56,” says Mr Wicks.

Voting opens on Friday 31 July and closes on Friday 21 August. Referendum voting papers will be sent to voters in the mail. People should post their voting papers back no later than Thursday 20 August to be sure they are returned on time.

Voters need to tick yes or no on the referendum voting paper in response to the referendum question, and return the voting paper in the envelope provided.

Playing Hide and seek with referendums

June 10, 2009

Republished from the Otago Daily Times 10 Jun 2009

By Simon Cunliffe

SO Rodney Hide wants us to decide everything by referendums? Or at least make our local spending decisions this way.

I might be inclined to go some of the distance with him – if referendums are going to work at all, then it is probably on black or white local issues – if it weren’t for the fact that the suggestion comes packaged in an agenda straight out of the Act New Zealand manifesto: privatisation is good, local government bad, so let’s reduce the latter to its bare minimum – roads and sewage, primarily – and sell off, or contract out, the rest of it.

The corollary is that common enterprise, shared ideals and the very notion of community get lost.

What could be more democratic? Let the people decide, direct action, participatory democracy and all that stuff. Curious how Mr Hide and the Government weren’t even able to countenance a select committee process for the changes to the Auckland Super City arrangements, let alone a referendum. Let’s call it democracy when it suits.

I’m not a huge fan of citizens’ initiated referendums on national issues, because to date the experience is that the questions at the centre of them – addressing complex social issues – are either so broad or so narrow as to be essentially meaningless, or hopelessly loaded, or both.

Norm Withers, deputy mayor of Christchurch, got a gong in the Queen’s Birthday honours the other day. Good on him. A deserving candidate for an MNZM for his long services to sport and to the community. Mr Withers hit the headlines in 1997 when his mother, Nan Withers, was brutally assaulted during a robbery of his menswear store.

He mounted a citizens-initiated referendum, and anyone who recalled the pictures of his badly beaten mother would have signed it without a second thought. In fact, such was the manner in which it was phrased that most people would have signed it regardless. At the 1999 election, 92% gave it the big tick.

The question read: “Should there be a reform of the justice system placing greater emphasis on the needs of victims, providing restitution and compensation for them and imposing minimum sentences and hard labour for all serious violent offences?”

You had to say “yes” or “no”. But to what, exactly? Yes, reform always sounds like a good idea (except when you have to pay millions for some ill-defined proposition of what kind and how much); yes, victims should get more consideration and, yes, probably some restitution and compensation (but, hang on, don’t the courts already have the power to order that, and is it going to raise my taxes?); and imposing minimum sentences, yep, that sounds sensible too (if they don’t already do that); and hard labour for all serious violent offences (however they might be precisely defined) sounds like those jolly good old-fashioned black and white movies where convicts broke up rocks from dawn till dusk on the chain gang. Excellent.

I’m not knocking Norm, nor his supporters, for the sincerity of their efforts, but a lump of jelly has more definition than the question that went out to the electorate on that occasion.

The question for the impending August referendum on the amended S59 of the Crimes Act, removing the defence of reasonable force in cases where parents have assaulted their children, is seriously flawed for a different reason.

The question is: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

Call me stupid, but surely this phraseology is a teensy bit loaded. That is to say, the whole debate is around what constitutes appropriate parental correction. By inserting the word “good” in the question, the referendum both asks the question and answers it – at least for those who haven’t already made up their minds.

It presupposes a smack is good and in so doing makes a mockery of the whole idea of impartial referendums and direct democracy. What is more, it is going to cost the country $10 million, the result will be non-binding, and it pre-empts a two-year Ministry of Social Development review of how the law is working by just a month or two.

In 2007, Parliament, having considered the amendment in great depth – and adapted it to deal with claims the new law would criminalise ordinary parents – passed it by a majority of 113 to 8.

Rodney’s mob, pin-up party for referendums – and, it could be argued, for the rights of parents to assault their children with impunity – in its wisdom voted against it.

  • Simon Cunliffe is assistant editor of the Otago Daily Times

Gordon Campbell: Why the citizens referendum in July is a futile way to spend $10 million

June 8, 2009

By now, the so called ’smacking’ debate is one of those issues that has been aired so thoroughly that its arrival back on the political agenda is like having an argumentative uncle turn up for Christmas dinner. He’s here again, there’s going to be a fight – and how long will it be before he goes away again ?

Next month, in the middle of a recession, New Zealand is set to spend something close to $10 million on a citizens initiated referendum (CIR) on the subject. The result will not be binding on the government and – judging by our previous track record on CIR that are NOT held at election time – the turnout can be expected to be low. The 1995 firefighters CIR attracted a turnout of only 28%.

This year’s referendum is being held nearly two years after the legislation that amended S59 of the Crimes Act – thus removing the defence of ‘reasonable force’ in cases involving parental violence against children – was passed by Parliament by a majority of 113 votes to 8. This year, in a classic case of putting the cart before the horse, the country will be holding its postal vote on the CIR before the Ministry of Social Development has finished its review of how the new legislation has been working. That review is not due to be released until September or October.

So far, the Act – and with it, the operational discretion available to Police on whether it is in the public interest to prosecute – appears to be working exactly as the law makers intended. Parents are not being criminalised en masse by the law change, as some had feared. In the one headline case where a Police prosecution was mounted, the jury agreed with the prosecution that the 50 year old parent involved had indeed committed an assault when he flicked his four year old child’s ear, pulled his hair and punched him in the face.

In July though, the public will not be asked to deliver a verdict on the law that was passed in 2007, or on how that the Police have administered it since. The referendum question is :“Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” With the best will in the world, it is hard to see how any MP – or any citizen – who supported the verdict of Parliament could wholeheartedly answer either “Yes” or “No” to such a formulation, since it begs the question in at least two important respects.

One, It contains a value judgment about the context (“ good parental correction”) and secondly, it assumes the question of whether, under current Police procedures, such a smack can ever be a criminal offence. Essentially, the public is being asked to pass a judgement on a scenario that two years down the track, has not eventuated.

Still, that is the question that has been accepted by the Clerk of the House for the vote, and freedom of speech factors should carry a great deal of weight. After all, this is a procedure initiated by citizens, and official intrusion has to be kept to the absolute minimum. On the other hand, some $10 million of public money is likely to be spent on this process. For that reason alone, the procedures for CIR deserve closer scrutiny.

For answers, I consulted Dr John Parkinson of York University in the United Kingdom. Parkinson, a New Zealander, has written extensively on issues of direct democracy, With good reason in the past, Parkinson has criticised the high hurdle that any citizens initiated referendum in New Zealand has to meet before it can trigger a ballot. The organizers are given only one year ( plus a brief extension in extenuating circumstances) to collect supportive signatures from ten per cent of the voting population.

In this case, that meant Larry Baldock and the other organizers of the ‘anti-smacking’ CIR had to gather about 285,000 signatures – which boils down to a requirement to gather on average, 781 signatures each day, every day, for an entire year. No wonder very few CIR ever manage to make the signature target. When taken together with the high 5% threshold for MMP, it is another reason why politicians should never be trusted to write the checks (or cheques) and balances on how democracy should operate. Compare the New Zealand situation with Switzerland, which gives campaigners 18 months to gather 100,000 signatures – or just 1.75% of registered voters, at a rate of only 182 a day.

On the other hand, Baldock may care to rethink his previously stated enthusiasm for California’s citizens initiated measures. As I pointed out a year ago, the threshold for initiatives in California may be only 5% of voters registered for the previous elections for governor, but these must be gathered in only 150 days, at a rate of 2,492 a day – and while the result is binding, such statutes can be (and regularly are) struck down subsequently by the courts, on constitutional grounds.

First, I asked Parkinson this question : How do other countries manage, if at all, the issue of leading or loaded questions in CIR ? “The New Zealand CIR institution,” Parkinson replied, “ is unique, because there is no draft law being voted on. In those US states which use the device, CIR are not “questions” but complete laws or constitutional amendments. You have to have a legal team to draft a complete Bill, and that’s what gets sent to a vote. In Switzerland, initiatives take the form of constitutional amendments. Thus, Swiss and US voters have a lot more to go on than New Zealand voters do. The latter have just a vague statement of intent which Parliament (which is sovereign, remember, not ‘the people’) has to interpret, consider and respond to.”

Also, Parkinson adds, no one else in the world operates an ‘acceptability’ test for CIR questions. “In the US, any such requirement would breach the First Amendment. Instead, they leave it up to other groups to come up with competing propositions, and put all the competing ones on the same ballot. It’s a ferociously expensive process, which means only the very well-funded have any chance. In Switzerland, they handle it by means of (a) delaying tactics. The Federal Council can choose any time it likes to hold the vote – and (b) government counter-proposals which go to a vote at the same time as the citizen’s initiative. Counter-proposals almost always win. In other words, no-one tries to filter out bad ideas in advance. They trust to the competitive democratic process to reveal the flaws in proposals. Having options [counter-proposals] helps.”

Thirdly, he says, questions are vetted in New Zealand, once they have passed the signature target. The precise question has to be agreed between the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the proposer, so that it meets the requirements of the CIR Act 1993. “ The ‘leading question’ issue has not come up in the three previous CIR that went to a vote,” Parkinson says, “but one, the Withers referendum [on crime, held in 1999] clearly breached the requirements of the Act in that it asked at least four separate questions. Mr Withers was extraordinarily resistant to the Clerk telling him to simplify it, and my interpretation of the correspondence between them is that the Clerk thought there was no point continuing an unpleasant fight when the vote would not make a difference anyway. That is my interpretation, not the Clerk’s. I don’t know what the process was in this case.”

Should loaded questions be ruled out? Well, in defence of the organizers of this year’s referendum, it is certainly not unknown for even government–initiated referendums, much less CIRs, to ask value-loaded questions. John Howard’s Australian republic referendum in 1999 for instance, was not shy about assuming the outcome that it sought, and nor was Augusto Pinochet’s ‘defence of the dignity of Chile’ referendum in 1988. Only those who didn’t care about Chile’s dignity – or who were too gutless to defend it – could disagree with El General, and his modus operandi.

The second question posed to Parkinson was : Given the track record of low turnout in New Zealand on non-binding postal CIR held outside the context of an election, what sort of majority can fairly compel a government to pay heed – and does overseas practice on non-binding referenda give us any guidance?

In other words, if ten per cent of voters seek a CIR, and only 30 % of the public respond, and 80% of those that respond express the same opinion, what weight – if any – should be given to that result by the government ?

There are three camps on the “what weight” question, Parkinson replies. “One, ‘pure majoritarianism’ says that 50%+1 is the only justifiable decision rule, and turnout has nothing to do with it. The second “consensus” camp says that there’s no hard and fast rule, but the higher the winning margin and the higher the turnout, the more legitimate the outcome.

The third is a “super-majority rule” which says you need 50%+1 of total votes, plus a majority in most or all states, or among ethnic groups, or religions, or whatever the major cleavage in society is. The point of super-majorities is to ensure that small states or groups don’t get steamrollered by the big ones all the time.” The examples, he says, include:

– Australian constitutional referendums that require an overall majority of voters, plus a majority in EVERY state;
– Swiss CIR that require an overall majority of the vote, plus a majority in more than half the cantons.

Other examples ? “There are two kinds of turnout restriction,” Parkinson concludes. “In Italy, so called “abrogative referendums”, allow citizens to challenge laws, but they require a turnout of 50%+1.” Otherwise, compulsion can always settle the question of turnout. Australia, Belgium, Brazil, and 27 other countries have compulsory voting, and that effectively settles any legitimacy question about the turnout.

Overall, Parkinson comes down on the side of the obvious. “ My view is that, given the non-binding nature of the vote, a big majority on a low turnout is not as compelling as a big majority on a big turnout. If it’s binding, then I like the double-majority system – it forces people to try to persuade each other rather than just bully each other. The decision rule should still be 50%+1 though. I don’t have a considered view on the turnout requirement, but my gut reaction is to prefer compulsory voting – it becomes a badge of citizenship, and not a burden.”

Plainly, compulsory voting – especially on some lobby group’s pet CIR topic – is not a runner in New Zealand, Perhaps it should be, when a highly organized 10 % of the population can compel the wider public to spend $10 million on a process that Parliament, in its considered wisdom, is then free to ignore.

At the very least, the Key government will be wanting to wait and hear from the MSD review of the current law – and how it is operating – before reaching any decision. Unfortunately, the public will not be able to do likewise

by Gordon Campbell at Werewolf
Republished with permission

Talking points for the upcoming referendum

June 7, 2009

Pretty soon, the referendum to overturn Section 59 of the Crimes Act will be a hot topic of conversation. We list here a summary of facts to help inform your discussions and help you understand the issues better – and to start those conversations.

Opening gambits

  • You are working on a campaign to encourage people to vote YES in the upcoming referendum about child discipline.
  • Some people want to see Sue Bradford’s 2007 amendment to Section 59 of the Crimes Act overturned.
  • That original decision was one made by Parliamentarians in a free vote.
  • Now every voter has a chance to be heard.
  • Referendum 2009 is unnecessary, expensive and, now, inevitable.

The Law as it stands

  • The law has been in force for two years.
  • The only way to send a clear message is a ‘YES’ vote.
  • The referendum will ask a very ambiguous – and subtly clever – question: Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?
  • To maintain the current law which protects children from physical punishment people must  vote ‘YES’.
  • A substantial ‘YES’ vote will send a message to parliament that voters approve of the new law is working.
  • Children deserve the same legal protection as adults against assault.

A smack from good parents

  • The referendum question may make voters feel ambivalent because it makes them accept that a smack can be a part of good parental correction.
  • That’s exactly what the organisers of this referendum want – to discourage opponents from voting.
  • Try the question another way: “Should speeding, as a part of good driving, be a criminal offence?”  Absurd, right?

What’s going on?

  • The group who initiated this referendum think hitting children is fine.
  • The YES vote campaign vehemently disagrees. It believes children need protecting and one way to do it is to protect the rights created for them by the changed legislation.
  • The referendum aims to reverse that law change and take those rights away.
  • YES vote campaigners believe the law is working well and can only help protect our children.
  • By voting YES we send an important message to parliament.
  • The new law has not criminalised parents unnecessarily.
  • Research tells us that smacking doesn’t work. It leaves children confused and parents feeling frustrated and angry.
  • Research also tells us that non-violent parenting is more successful.
  • Non-violent parenting is the more enlightened view. It’s a privilege to live in a country where children have this protection.
  • Overturning the current law would be retrograde and barbaric.
  • We are part of a global movement to ensure children are protected in law.
  • In our view, the government has to make laws to protect the most vulnerable citizens and that includes children. The law is consistent with community and government efforts to promote positive parenting.
  • It’s as simple as that.
  • Maori leaders say smacking is simply another expression of violence against our young ones – that includes the maiming and killing of our children – and it doesn’t teach your child what they did wrong. It teaches them that hitting other people is OK.

To support the law as it is now, we must encourage everyone we speak to, to vote “Yes” when their postal voting papers come – and that they mail them in.

It will be the quickest, positive action for children we can take this year.

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

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