Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fletch Smacking Law Referendum

Yes, it seems there have been enough signatures collected to force a referendum on the smacking law. This is a good thing and yet I'm not completely happy.

In the first place, it seems they're not going to hold the referendum in tandem with this year's General Election and instead hold a postal ballot next year; the reason?

That recommendation [by Justice Minister Annette King] refers to the experience of 1999, when two referendums were held with the general election, causing long delays in vote-counting, confusion among voters, and congestion at polling booths.

Ms King last night dismissed calls to hold the referendum earlier.

I voted in 1999 and answered the referendum questions and I can't remember any confusion or backlog of people. This is simply another two-pronged tactic by the Government to delay or water down the referendum.

One: they don't want the question put to voters this year as it will lose Labour votes - a good 70% of the country didn't want the law changed, as evidenced by polls taken in the media.

Two: a postal ballot next year? If a question is put in front of someone who is there voting in an election anyway then we'll get a more accurate response as there will be more people answering the question. How many people are going to take the time to post a ballot question back? I would, of course, but aren't there a lot of people who wouldn't bother?

The next thing that bothers me is John Key's response -

But even if the law gets a harsh review from the public, it could remain unchanged regardless of who leads the next government.

Mr Key last night said he felt the law was working.

"We think the compromise amendment has allowed the law to operate better than it would have otherwise.

"Our position is that we're not going to change the law unless we see evidence it's not working."

Hello? The politicians work for US, we don't work for THEM. If a majority of the country feels strongly about a certain issue and that feeling is made apparent by a public vote, isn't it their duty to seriously consider changing the law back? And he thinks the law is working? How? Have we seen less children being beaten or abused? Not judging by what we see in the media. The law change hasn't done a damn thing, except to put fear into the hearts of good parents.

2 comment(s):

KG said...

Key is little better than Clark in drag and people need to realise that.
He has no interest--zero, zilch, nada, nix--in increasing or restoring the liberties of Kiwis.
Every intrusion on our liberties is useful to whatever party is in power and they'll leave those powers intact.
Liberties are only lost, never gained and democracy is a farce and a sham which fools people into thinking they have some real control over government.
They don't.

Anonymous said...

The only way to ensure National actually honours the will of the people is to force them to go into coalition with a party that will hold them to account on this. The only conservative party with any hope of getting in and actually doing this is the Family Party. Act would hopefully support the will of the people too.

A National-Act-Family coalition would be the best bet to guarantee this, but people will need to actually support Family to get that, rather than just voting National and hoping.

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