The Press 26 June 2008
National Party leader John Key has ruled out overturning the controversial child-discipline law if he becomes Prime Minister, despite championing a referendum on the issue. In Parliament yesterday, he accused Prime Minister Helen Clark of “ignoring the will of the New Zealand people” and urged a referendum be held on the so-called “anti-smacking” legislation at election time. His call came after Clark announced the Government had accepted official advice that it was too late to hold a referendum this year.
Asked by The Press afterwards if a National government would consider revoking the law as a result of a referendum, Key said: “No. The position as it has essentially always been since we signed a compromise (with Labour) is that if we see good parents being criminalised for lightly smacking their children then we will actively seek to change the law,” he said. “But at this point, as the police report pointed out earlier this week, we haven’t seen that at all. “The test we have is a pretty simple one. If the law doesn’t work then we’ll change it.”