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Family First Calls for Referendum to be Dumped

4 comments | 5:53 pm | top |
In their latest press release, Family First takes a step out on the ice and makes the sensible suggestion that the Government should forget about the postal referendum on the legality of smacking, that is scheduled for mid-this-year.  Instead of wasting $8,000,000 of tax-payer's money on a lengthy and drawn-out postal referendum, Family First is calling for the Governement to simply glance at the 390,000 signatures that were submitted, listen to the people of New Zealand, and go ahead and repeal Section 59 of the crimes act.

“If the government is serious about cost cutting, tightening our financial belts and prioritised spending to the frontline, it makes far more sense to divert that amount of money to more teachers, nurses, doctors and cops...
The law can be easily fixed by removing the criminality of parents who use reasonable force for the purpose of correcting their children but at the same time having clear statutory limits on what constitutes reasonable force.”

They dumped the anti-democratic Electoral Finance Act.  Now it's time for the anti-family Section 59 to be repealed.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with that idea is that it would breach the citizens initiated referendum act. The whole purpose of that law is that once the citizens have requested a referendum, one will happen, and there is nothing the government can do about it. If we say the government can choose not to run this referendum for whatever reason, however good sounding, we set a precedent that means even getting a petition with enough signatures doesn't mean there will be a referendum.

Furthermore, there may be people who signed the referendum who agreed with the law, believed the public supported them, and want a referendum to prove their point - even though the rest of us expect them to be disappointed, that is just as valid a viewpoint as our own.

The referendum did NOT ask for the law to be changed. It asked for a petition to find the will of the people on the law. There is a big difference.

If we want to preserve the ability of the citizens to have a direct say on anything, we must honour the petition, and have a referendum.

3:44 pm, March 04, 2009 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant of course "the petition did NOT ... it asked for a referendum...". Writing too fast, my fingers are getting ahead of my brain!

3:47 pm, March 04, 2009 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

I agree Samuel. I wouldn't think that Bob seriously thought the Government would do that - rather he was making a good point.

What we really need though, is citizens initiated referendums that are binding on certain areas of jurisdiction. Also, referendums that are part of the condition for particular laws to be amended or repealed.

However, we want to be careful not to overuse them.

9:18 am, March 05, 2009 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He may be serious, he isn't the first person I've heard suggest it seriously, I've had this discussion a few times.

I agree we mustn't overuse referenda. I would love a law that stated the Governor General must put any issue the government had passed but was highly controversial and had a strong possibility of being against the will of the people to a referendum (held at the following election) before giving the Royal Assent. This would have put the smacking law, prostitution and other issues directly to the people, over the heads of the government.

To do that effectively though you need the GG to be selected by agreement between both the PM and the Leader of the Opposition to ensure they are impartial, rather than being an obedient puppet appointed by the PM as they are at the moment.

7:40 pm, March 05, 2009 

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