Friday, August 22, 2008

A referendum on smacking

The childbeaters have finally been successful in gathering enough signatures to force a referendum on section 59. Except its not actually on section 59 - despite clearly wanting to repeal the 2007 amendments outlawing smacking, asking directly "should those amendments be reversed?" would encourage people to consider the actual law and could produce the wrong result. So instead, they've cloaked it in motherhood and apple pie and vague generalities to give us this rather slanted question:

Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?
Which of course assumes that beating your children can be part of "good parental correction" - a highly arguable proposition. It's a perfect illustration of the flaws in our current referendum legislation - and of the twits who seek to use it. Is it really too much to ask that they ask us a solid question - the one they actually want to ask, even - rather than abusing the process and wasting our time this way?

They're too late to force a poll during the upcoming election, so instead we'll be having a postal ballot next year. Which means turnout will be low, which means in turn that there is every chance that this extremely noisy minority will "win". But whether it actually results in repeal, or simply more screaming is another question entirely.